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Home RemodelingPosted Wednesday, January 27, 2010, at 7:09 AM
I don't know how many of you have ever tried to make a woman happy, but it is a much more complicated process than making a man happy.
My wonderful wife brought me to Brazil. She owned a home here and refused to move. I rented an apartment in Beech Grove, the Southeast side of Indy. (These days, you couldn't make me move back!) We have been married for more than 10 years now. I have been remodeling our home for more than 10 years now. In all of this time, I have striven, with some success, to make my wife happy.
Although it may seem braggadocios to say, I am fairly handy with tools and can do most repairs and construction type jobs. I am one of only a handful of attorneys who actually knows which end of the hammer to hold onto. As the oldest child, more importantly, the oldest son, I was dad's helper from the time I could walk. (Dad is an engineer by education and, back in the day, was a carpenter, handyman, and auto-mechanic, by necessity.)
Presently, my wife and I are remodeling the master bathroom.
While television may lead you to believe that the bathroom is the sanctum sanctorum for men, such is not the case. For women, the bathroom and kitchen are the two most important places in the home. Everything else follows closely after that. I am happy to report that I have a majority share of the garage and the basement. I also have complete control of the yard, subject to my wife's royal veto power.
(Ever notice that every woman, from about age five on, is a princess? Why is it the only time you find a Queen, its on Talbott Street in Indianapolis?)
There are many lessons to be learned from home remodeling. The first lesson I learned is that there is no project that can be completed in less than three trips to the hardware store. Typically, it goes like this: You plan the project, make a list of supplies, double check, triple check, head to the hardware store, buy everything on the list, then buy a few things you realized you forgot. Midway through the project, you have to stop everything to run back for something you still managed to forget. Before it is over, you are heading back again because something you bought was wrong and you need the thing that is almost exactly like it but different in some critical way.
The next thing you learn is that every project takes at least three times longer than you thought it would. This should be a maxim right up there with Murphy's Law and the Peter Principal. Whether you think a project will take an hour, a day, or a week, somehow it still manages to take three times longer than you thought.
The next lesson may not have universal applicability. For me at least, every project costs more than budgeted. Sure, there are the usual cost overruns, but to get just that right "look" you inevitably blow the budget.
A couple of examples from my experience include: When replacing kitchen cabinet hardware, only the $7 knobs and handles will do for the 40 something doors and drawers. For the exact right look in door trim and molding, you have to select from the high-end oak, then paint it white. There is no reason to cover a bathroom floor with vinyl, when $300 tile will do the same job.
Remodeling can be hard on a relationship. If you ever want to truly put your relationship to the test, try to pick a paint color, or Heaven forbid, wallpaper. I dare say that most men would not guess that there are more colors in the universe than what you will find in a large box of crayons. In fact, many of those colors are either useless or redundant. (Personally, I thought "toupe" was something made up.) "Which paint color do you like dear, Swan Valley or Sandy Oasis?" (. . .) "Oh, I kind of prefer the other." (?!?) "Do you prefer this floral, this floral, or this floral wallpaper?" (!?!?!)
Men, for the sake of your relationship, under no circumstance should you simply let her pick the wallpaper. Take it from me, you have to pretend to care deeply and then be persuaded by her thoughtful insight on the subject. If you show a lack of interest, it will prove you to be a nameless cur and confirm that her mother was right about you. It is rather of like your wedding. Unless you want to learn how much of an easily replaceable accessory to her wedding you are, you have to pretend to care deeply about the colors, theme, music, etc. while still allowing her to have the final say.
In the final analysis, I guess things haven't really changed all that much from my single days. As it turns out, I guess I am still renting. But now, I'm the maintenance guy!
P.S. Please don't tell my wife about this story!
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