Friday, September 24, 2010

Pine Cones and Common Sense

I wish I had a picture. I'm not sure which would have been better, me on top of the ladder with my head stuck up through the opening to our "attic" or the exasperation on my husband's face.

We don't have a normal attic. To me that means we don't have an attic like I've seen on television... pull down stairs, wooden floors, old trunks full of pieces of history (with which someone isn't willing to part), dusty odd-shaped windows casting light and shadows... No, we have more of a peaked crawl space with white fluffy insulation filling the framework of our ceiling. There's a platform up there where we keep a Christmas tree, two blue tubs of Christmas decorations, and a Christmas wreath.

I wanted my dried pine cones, but not all the Christmas decorations. Eric pulled out his ladder for me and set it up. I insisted I could go up because I didn't want to bring the whole tub down, just the pine cones. (We're having company and I didn't want to have to find a place to hide the ugly tub.) I pass the pine cones down to Eric. The dialogue that followed was sharp and quick, as if each of us was spitting.

"You didn't put the tub down on top of the insulation, did you?"

"Yes, I did. Wasn't I supposed to?"


"Why didn't you tell me? I wouldn't have done it if you had just told me not to."

"It's common sense. Now the insulation won't work."

"How would I know? I grew up in Haiti. We didn't have insulation in Haiti. I'm sorry."

At this point I'm backing down the ladder to discover my poor husband has left the hallway. Frustrated. Sometimes we communicate like we are speaking different languages. Trying not to laugh at his irritation at my lack of knowledge at what I imagine to be male common sense, I follow his path and ask, "You're not mad at me are you? You married a girl who grew up in the Caribbean. Why would you think I knew about insulation?" I didn't admit that even if I'd grown up in the States I probably wouldn't have learned about insulation because I don't care. Here might be a good place to note that he didn't know that you don't wear black socks with with brown shoes (female common sense).

"You have to insulate from heat too."

"Not in cement block houses. They don't use wood there because all the trees have already been used for charcoal. Plus termites."

My pine cones look lovely in my glass jar. I enjoy looking at them, even if they are a subtle reminder that sometimes Eric and I still surprise each other by what we expect the other should know because it's common sense.


  1. That's funny, just yesterday I was telling my mom that I need some pinecones to fill a big tin that I have.
    Your pinecones look lovely and I totally understand about speaking a different language than the husband.

  2. I was born in good 'ol California and have lived in the "states" my whole life... I didn't know about the insulation thing either. I read your entry to Brian and he laughed when I said I didn't know either... my husband has worn the black socks with brown shoes and the other way around too. I don't think he cares about the "rule"... I also think your pine cones look lovely too.

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  4. I was going to say that the "different language thing" goes on here too!