Last weekend, I decided to attack our family room hearth with vengeance and a paintbrush Best Women’s Tool Belt. Living with its exposed red brick for the past seven years left me with the itch to give it new life. I figured that, while our house was in demolition zone and covered in drywall dust with the renovation of three bathrooms, a couple of cans of Benjamin Moore and some brushes would not only fit right in with the boxed sinks and faucets in the middle of our front hallway; it would instantly lift both the wall-and my spirits-for spring.
A mere half-hour into it, I wasn’t positively sure if I needed to paint the brick and the grout, or just the brick. A quick call to my artist girlfriend confirmed that yes, if one is painting brick, that nasty paint-sucking grout needs to get a couple of coats, too. So as we briefly chatted on the phone about this massive weekend project of mine, she half-joked about the fact that she was standing at her sink scrubbing dried-on concrete from beneath her fingernails. While I was painting my ten foot wall of bricks, she was re-tiling her pool. And our husbands? Mine was at the shooting range; hers was at the golf course.
Now, while I admit to enjoying the whole renovation thing and the many shopping trips to hardware stores and design centers that necessarily accompany these projects, I happen to like it when my husband likewise engages in the process. Tackles the hard stuff. Does all of the heavy lifting. I’m happy to plant the flowers if he’ll dig the beds. Happy to change the light bulbs if he’ll hang the chandelier.
But here I was: six-foot ladder at my toes, paintbrush and primer in hand, ready to reinvent my family room wall. And my girlfriend, who could certainly afford to hire a pool man to unearth loose tiles, was picking concrete off her manicured nails. And both of our husbands were AWOL. What was going on here? Are women taking on more of the tough home renovation projects in this economic recovery? Are we renovating more in lieu of switching out of our homes altogether? Taking more initiative in getting our homes just right? While I understand that two women do not a trend nor sample size make, it left me with one of those “What’s wrong with this picture?” pauses. So I decided to look at the numbers.