Here’s the key to a happy marriage and a happy project: don’t try to do anything together. Ever. It will end in disaster. Trust me. In fact, the more square footage you can put in between you and your spousal unit, the better. If he is working in the upstairs bedroom, you should be working in the basement. Get it? Meet for dinner and compare notes. Works every time.
Our General Rules For Renovation Projects work so well because he and I operate in two completely different solar systems . I tend to gravitate to the THING THAT IS BUGGING ME THE MOST AT THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT, get rid of it, fix it and make it pretty. That’s my modus operandi in a nutshell. Mr. Big, however, just wants to wreck stuff. He finds the biggest project that involves the most power tools and the most demolition and the most dust and he is as happy as a pig in slop.
For example, take Day One. Day One, I just wanted to set up the air mattress so we would have some place to sleep, go to the grocery store so we would have some wine and cheese and make sure the fireplace was working so we could light a fire. Mr. Big wanted to take four doors off of their hinges and dismantle the jambs because they were giving him claustrophobia and making the hallways “too squishy”. So he did and I sat in front of the fire and had some wine and cheese.
I glance up, way up, actually, because I am sitting on a tiny footstool dislodging floor tile with a hammer and chisel. I nod in the general direction of the kitchen door and say, “It’s on the patio. Why? Did you need to bake something?”
“Er, no, just wondering. And the microwave? And, um, the countertops?”
He knows he is in violation of The Renovation Rules just by virtue of asking me these questions, but I am in a forgiving mood because it is not even 8 o’clock in the morning. Technically, he should not even be stepping foot into the room where I am working, but I will let him slide because I know that all he is really concerned about is if I have thrown away the coffee machine or not.
“Um, honey”, he ventures tentatively, “will there be any coffee available this morning? Or should I look elsewhere?”
Off he went, coffee warming his little fist, to do whatever he wanted to accomplish on Day Two. Which, apparently, involved a Sawz-All because the house shook when he fired it up. I didn’t even have to leave the kitchen because I knew that he was attacking the bathroom-slash-powder room.
However, it was not going well. Major curse words were coming out of the two bathrooms. Why? Ah, well, that is a story for another day. Let me just say this. We are not dealing with sheetrock and framing here, folks. This chalet was built “en madrier”. And there I will leave you until next time when you will learn that “en madrier” are big boys’ Lincoln Logs and why French children within one half of a kilometer radius of our house now know multiple swear words in English including, my favorite, Rat Bastard.