I have been a grouch lately. Can’t help it—I’m Miss Worst Case Scenario, Miss Uptight to a T. As in: “Sweetie, I think that whenever we get around to updating that Dick Van Dyke bathroom on the first floor, we should keep it a FULL bathroom. Because what if someday one of us breaks a leg? Or has a stroke? Or needs bunion surgery? What if we end up frail little octogenarians who can’t climb stairs?”
To this, Mr. Optimism said, “Octogenarian schmoctogenarian. That’s a long way off, and in the meantime, we don’t need that tub—we’ve got two more upstairs. Besides, we can always put it back later, right?”
Riiiiiight. Because 80 year-olds on fixed incomes have plenty of extra cash for stuff like that.
We’ve been married almost seven years now, so we know the drill: compromise, compromise, compromise. In this case, he agreed to let me keep the tub, and in exchange, I agreed that whenever we get around to replacing the stained glass in the stairwell window (it was stolen long ago), he can choose any design he wants—even if it’s, say, a giant rendering of Emily, the stinky old hound dog he left with his folks back in Texas. (I’m still not completely sure he’s kidding.)
We have less than seven weeks left until our apartment lease is up and we’re forced to move into our DIY disaster, ready or not. Naturally, it’s looking more like “not” to me.
“Sweetie,” Dylan says. “Don’t be a hater. Of COURSE I can add this one more project to the list and STILL finish the first floor in time.” (Not that he’s working off of a written list, but you get the point.)
To this, again, I say, “Riiiiiiight.” You see, “finish the first floor” entails:
* re-plastering and/or drywalling a kabillion as-yet naked-to-the-lath walls;
* finish the kitchen; and
* oh yeah…. START the kitchen.
For days all I could do was gripe. Finally, I retreated up the stairs to do what I do best: prepare for the worst.
I made it my mission to turn the second floor into a finished, dust-free solace—a space where we can live in relative comfort in the event that, come August, it’s still a dusty plaster disaster downstairs. I started with the woodwork, and overnight, I turned into a paint-stripping machine. Obsessing over tiny, melting paint chips suits my nit-picky, Type A nature perfectly.
I got so into it that I quit being a hater. This left Dylan free to work his Type B magic.
Recently, Dylan enlisted a brilliant, carpentry-savvy guy named J to help whip Casa Vitone into shape. Well, in the last several days they’ve been absolutely WAILING on their current project: designing and building floor-to-ceiling shelves for the room we’ve dubbed the library. At this point, Dylan and J are actually fixin’ to paint the walls.
That’s right. Paint. The. WALLS!
I can’t wait to snap some shots of the completed, mounted shelves. It’s looking so awesome in there that I don’t care if we’re still kitchenless in the fall. (Okay, that’s probably the heat-gun-induced hyperthermia talking.)
Guess these seven years should’ve taught me that it’s not just about compromising—you’ve also gotta appreciate each other’s particular brand of insanity, give those neuroses room to breathe. Right now, mine need to breathe paint fumes, whereas his prefer the dust of plaster and wood. And that’s okay. We meet somewhere in the middle, under the hound-dog shrine.