Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Uncharted territory

Working on our new townhouse is the first project that my husband J and I have truly done together. We haven't made this many decisions in such a short period of time since we planned our wedding. The setbacks are just as aggravating and the looming deadlines are similar, but there's less emotional pressure now. We are better at bantering and reading each other's non verbal signals. It's really gratifying to work this hard and know that the payoff is going to be so big. That being said, let me share an Unexpected Source of Conflict.

Before I describe it, here are some factors to consider:

1) We are out of our comfort zone when it comes to home maintenance. J has done some construction in the past, and I've done my fair share of household upkeep with a big family and remodeling out of necessity. Updating an existing house to be the kind of home we want is a lot harder than it sounds. Thankfully, we have a lot of friends working for us and with us, showing us the ropes. But we are in over our heads.

2) We're spending more money than we ever have before. One shopping trip to the hardware store resulted in a purchase equal to the price of my first car.

3) We're choosing stuff we have to live with and look at every day: flooring, appliances, furniture, etc. It's not like we can return any of this stuff after a month if we get bored.

For the sake of anonymity, I will describe the Unexpected Source of Conflict as a multiple choice question:

What is the best way to respond to an employee in a big box hardware store who asks, "You folks need any help?"

a) "No thanks, we're good!" (knowledgeable employee saunters off, never to be heard from again).

b) "Hi! Yes! We need help!" (then look expectantly at spouse to do the rest of the talking).

c) "Yeah, what can you tell me about [insert topic-that-spouse-already-knows-all-about here]?"

d) "---------" (blank stares. Crickets in the distance).

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