When we were looking at houses, Clay and I looked at some real dumps. We were working in a limited price range, and real estate here is…eh, you know. Impossible, just as it is everywhere except maybe Espanola, NM.
Anyhow, we ended up in some real “fixer-uppers,” and our reaction was usually the same.
Me: OH IT’S PERFECT! See how it has…um…A ROOF! And most of its WINDOWS are intact! Sure it needs a little work, but we can do that! We just need to paint! And patch those holes in the wall! And replace most…ok, all the windows! And the flooring! And buy appliances! It’s PERFECT!
Clay: And replace the roof and all the landscaping, which is right now done in mud and weeds.
Me: RIGHT! LET’S BUY IT!
Clay: I think this one may be too much work for us.
Me: BUT IT HAS FIVE BEDROOMS!
Clay: I think it’s too much work.
Me: (trying to think of some way to graciously object, as though I was going to be doing anything more than 5% of the work anyhow) Oh. Ok.
Clay: Sorry, honey. We’ll keep looking.
Me: That’s ok. (pout)
Then we found THIS house, this lovely little home on a happy little cul-de-sac. Its yard was gorgeous and perfect, and there were little boys running feral all over the neighborhood, and there was a perfect climbing tree out front, and OH I did swoon at its loveliness and perfection.
Trembling, I turned to Clay to hear his assessment of the work it needed. He walked from room to room, quietly noting the mysterious things that he notes when looking at houses.
“We’d have to put bedrooms for the boys in the basement,” he said.
“Uh huh,” I replied helpfully.
“And I need to work on the electrical panel.”
“I don’t like that pantry in the kitchen. That’s gotta go.”
Finally he turned and looked at me.
“I think we can do it. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be a lot of work,” he paused, noting the silly grin on my face, “a LOT of work, but I think we can do it.”
I may have said something clever like YAY! And we were on our way to sign papers. I thought about what he said, about it being lots of work, but brushed the thought aside. I attributed it to Clay’s careful, precise nature. We’ll be FINE, I thought. No problem.
Now, today, after five weeks and five days of living here, I have something I need to say publicly to my husband.
Clay. My love. You were so right. This is hard. It’s a lot of work. I was wrong to doubt you. Today I am weak-kneed with gratitude that we didn’t buy any of those other houses. Right now you’re lying under the kitchen sink, quietly swearing at the faucet. You are my hero. There is no one I’d rather be living in this construction chaos with. We’ll get it all done eventually, but until then let this knowledge comfort you:
You were right, and I just admitted it publicly.