Welp, it’s that magical time of year again when the cold weather starts to break, the sun shines through the wintery clouds, birds begin to sing and I get the incredibly dumb idea to talk my man into tackling a home renovation project together. We pack up our coats for the winter and trade them in for our favorite old t-shirts and work pants and before long discover ourselves head long into a plan of overwhelming proportion.
Our ideas— Innovative
Our ability to YouTube our way out of a jam—Legendary
Our skills— On point.
We are, dare I say… visionaries?
I don’t mean to humble brag but we were renovating before HGTV knew what hit them. Whatever we decide to do, the results will end in a 100% increase in anxiety, injury, new lessons, trauma, and my favorite— fighting.
If you’re ever feeling cocky about your relationship and want to really test your marriage: lay tile, hang drywall, re-roof your house, because nothing shakes the cobwebs like a construction project that requires maths and precision- to this I am sure. It will turn the most mild mannered couples into raging lunatics, trust me I have years of experience. The argument could begin with the most minor thing, I remember once, we were hanging two large prints and my man and I fought so horribly, my mom started crying and our friend made an excuse to leave muttering something like, “ I dont like it when mommy and daddy fight.” I dont know what gets into us! Disgraceful!
When we were first married we were lucky enough to build a small home from the ground up which probably helped our relationship a ton in our first few years as there was no stress of projects or worrying over replacing a roof or fixing an HVAC, etc… So when we had to move, our naive and love struck brains got the fanciful notion of buying a fixer upper… We thought it would be so fun to find an old sad sack of a house, fix it up and sell it before we had to move again. Oh the arrogance, the naiveté! We found a foreclosure and made every mistake a first timer can: over budget, improper installation, under estimating the scope of the work… and if that wasn’t enough, I broke my ankle sky diving, which left my poor man to do the job meant for two. When it was finally time to move we left feeling defeated but educated. For our next house we chose another fixer upper but this time we were older and wiser. We took what we learned from our house of horrors, honed our skills, but still the epic fighting remained.
“You didn’t measure properly”
“NO, you didn’t cut it right!”
“Lift your end up higher!”
“How about lifting your end lower!!”
“I can’t listen to this music for one more second!”
“You know this is my favorite song!!”
… utterly ridiculous.
At the end of the project however, our work was better, our budget more realistic and our fighting honed to an eery silence. Now before you think we are on the brink of divorce, let me reassure you we are fine. Normally we get along like peas and carrots for going on 20 years. It’s just these damn projects. We get these grand ideas and not hell nor high water can stop us. For example, one time we built a stone deck to include: a fire pit, a pergola and a wait for it…a floating/hanging table. We laid every stone by hand, taking us nearly a year and our marriage. Every weekend we worked from sun up to sound down, but by noon neither of us were speaking to each other. One night I tearily asked him if he still loved me,
“Someone who really loved me would never speak to me that way…” (because I am a sweet angel who would never do anything to provoke…)
He would apologize, I would apologize; all would be forgiven, until the next day where there would be some sort of miscommunication and the whole cycle would start over again. When the project was complete, we were overcome with an enormous sense of accomplishment and an even larger sense of relief. Our Stone patio came out exactly how we had imagined— satisfaction. (I think that is the drug that keeps pulling us back in.)
And then a year or so later, inspiration struck anew! We decided to risk life and limb by installing a circular window on a second story. The near death experience of hanging from a ladder as we cantilevered a window into place actually brought us closer together; the ultimate trust/fall exercise.
Then 6 months ago, something miraculous occurred. We decided to install board and batten on our living room walls with ne’re a fight! Could it be after 1 million years of marriage we are getting the hang of this? Never fear, this Spring I have a whole list of things for us to do to test this new theory: built- in cabinetry in our dining room, custom built cabinet in our master bath, a dumb waiter for our newly renovated loft, and most importantly I have an idea for new shutters involving different cut outs on each shutter which tells the story of our NC home. So if you happen to drive by and hear some shouting or see us dangling from a ladder reassure yourself that just like Punxsutawney Phil, we are a sign that Spring has arrived, right here under the pines…