Today's super special guest post comes from Lyz, one of the most hilarious women I know. She makes me laugh on a regular basis, and I'm proud that we went from internet-stalky-how-did-we-even-find-each-other friends to pen pals to Real Life Friends (this past year at BlogHer). If you haven't already, please do go check out her blog at www.lyzlenz.com.
The Fog of War
It didn't take Dave and I long to find our dream home. Built in 1925, the house had newly refinished oak crown molding and floors, an antique crystal chandelier original to the house and it was tucked snugly away in a picturesque neighborhood. We both loved the same things about the house. "Oh, the stairs!" we both cried in our young-couple in love unison, holding hands and staring gooey-eyed at one another. The only things that needed fixing were the pastel rainbow painted over the front door and one of the bathrooms. It would be easy, we rationalized.
|The Lenz home in the fall.|
Ed note: I hate them.
Also see: jealousy.
On move-in day, Dave placed his hands on the dining room walls and declared them to be “crooked.” Dave is an engineer and “crooked” is probably the lowest insult and engineer can bequeath, well that and “illogical.” “Is that hard to fix?” I asked. “No, I’ll just do some replastering. Should be easy.” Four weeks later, Dave was still slapping plaster on the wall, letting it dry, sanding and then declaring the walls “still crooked.” Plaster dust is a fine material and has a way of making itself omnipresent. Despite sealing off the room, for four weeks, I’d been coughing plaster dust, spitting plaster dust, tasting plaster dust. I was finished.
“You have two more days,” I threatened. And on midnight of the second day, while Dave was still sanding, I ripped down the plastic barrier, picked up the tools and hauled in the shop-vac. This project was over. “You are just going to have to get used to the fact that nothing is going to be perfect,” I yelled and then flicked on the shop-vac. Whoosh! A huge cloud of plaster dust exploded throughout the house. Later investigation would show that I had the shop-vac set on “blow” instead of “suck” and boy, did it blow.
Coughing, I slapped blindly in the dust, trying to shut the vacuum off. When I finally hit the switch, it was too late, the billowing cloud of mess was disseminating through our house. I sat down on the floor and began to sob. “It’s everywhere! On our furniture. Our new couch. You did this!” “I just wanted our house to look nice,” he said. I sobbed harder. “It doesn’t! It’s worse!”
Through the haze, I saw Dave turn to me and smile through his plaster mask. "Do you know what this is?” He asked waving his hands in the air. “This is the fog of war!” He laughed, doubling over and grasping his sides. It was midnight, we’d been working since 6am and we were going crazy. I started laughing too. My eyes stung with dust, my throat hurt from breathing, but we couldn’t stop laughing.
Cleaning the house took months. And if we’re being honest it, actually, took five years, because the plaster dust wasn’t totally out of the cracks in the dining room floor until this fall, when Dave refinished them.
And when I walk through the dining room, I still think about those crooked walls and part of me wants to punch Dave and part of me wants to kiss him. But that is the daily story of our marriage, some days I wonder how I got into this mess and other days I can’t imagine anything else. But it’s always those moments of eye-burning frustration, when we find the redemption that we need.
In the end, our dining room still has crooked walls, but now, instead of fixing them, we just hang pictures over the dents and tell everyone about that time we tried to make everything perfect.