Doing "projects" with your partner/spouse can be a hazardous undertaking fraught with emotion. I remember my very first encounter with a major project with Hubby, before we were ever considering a permanent relationship. I suppose it was one way to find out how compatible we were and whether we could work together as a team.
The project seemed simple enough. Hubby's house came with bilious green carpets that were so 60-ish. We discovered the most gorgeous hardwood floors beneath the ugly carpet and to uncover this treasure, we had to remove the olive green shag, which seemed easy enough to roll up and take away. However the challenge was the black underlay, which had melded to the hardwood floor, over the many decades with the previous homeowner. Through sheer determination, sweat and desperate scraping with various tools, the hardwood floors were slowly uncovered--by laborious inches. During the day we worked at our respective jobs and in the evenings, we met at the house to scrape our way across the living room/dining room. The beautifully preserved hardwood floors were worth every moment of our frustration when we discovered at the beginning of our project that we both had strong ideas at how best to tackle our project and who was really the Boss. Somehow, looking at the fruits of our labour erased all the angry words we had thrown at each other over the past two weeks. We had survived our first major project.
Our second project was planting 10 small cedar trees along the perimeter of the house, separating the neighbour's yard from ours. Coming home one evening, we discovered that the fenceless property was an invitation for the thoughtless people to do "wheelies" with their cars, leaving deep, ugly tire tracks on our immaculate green lawn. Hubby and I were still in the euphoria stage of our honeymoon when we returned home and decided to do tree planting to commemorate our permanent relationship. It had been a few years since the carpet/hardwood project and we felt we knew each other's quirks and foibles to work together planting a few trees. After all, we were now a permanent "team."
As any long-time married couples will tell you--nothing is ever simple and most spousal projects never run smoothly. This fact is engraved in fine print in the marriage manual. First of all, the day was hot and we had started in the afternoon when the sun was hottest. The ground was extremely dry and hard, filled with rocks ranging from good-size boulders to small pebbles. It took us over an hour to dig a hole, deep enough and wide enough to plant one small 3-feet high cedar tree. By night-fall, we had planted 4 trees with 6 more to go. We were hot, hungry and tire--our honeymoon euphoria had disappeared and any optimistic thoughts of a cedar shrub, separating the two properties had gone the way of the do-do bird! Somehow, we did survive our second major project. After we moved away for a few years, eventually returning to the neighbourhood, Hubby and I strolled down our old street and were amazed at the 7-feet high wall of cedar, densely packed together to form a solid fence of privacy--our 3-feet high cedar trees had grown together and spread upwards. Like our spousal project, the trees had survived.
Pundits have always claim "opposites attract" but it wasn't our differences that attracted us when we were learning about each other--it was initially the similarities. Yet, I always marvel that we have survived 6 years of friendship and 17 years of marriage, accepting the fact that we are very different in our thinking. In spite of our differences, we have learned to focus on each other's strengths when doing a joint project. It's not been easy but we are still learning and adjusting and perhaps, that's what marriage and growth are all about. . .