Throughout my 33+ years of marriage I have had two standard replies when people ask me “what the secret to a long marriage is?” Sometimes I say “Separate vacations”, which is half truth, fact is if I really want to go someplace and the husband doesn’t, then I take my girlfriends. Same for him, but with his guy friends of course. We still take at least one really good vacation a year together tho. My second answer is usually “patience”. Then I follow it up by saying I just wait until he comes around to my way of thinking. The second response is more true than the first one, however it is also the most frustrating.
We have been living in the house we are currently in for 20 years. We built it when our kids were very young with the plans of staying in it until they were both out of school. Graduation days have come and gone and we are still here. Its a great neighborhood, close to where we work and the perfect combination of city and country to suit us. The house however is more than showing its wear and tear. We already had to replace the furnace, the air conditioner and our dishwasher. Mostly, however the house needs updating. I am thinking paint and new flooring. My husband is thinking paint. That is it, just paint. Of course to me, the idea of painting and NOT putting in some type of new flooring makes absolutely no sense. Why brighten up the place and leave the same dingy carpeting. To make the issue worse, I know that right now people want wood floors if we were to try and sell. Watching any fixer-upper show on HGTV and you’ll notice that right away. I also think that it will not only make the house look better and easier to sell that we could ask more money for it.
My husband has an entirely different thought on that however. In his mind, the people that move into the house next will want to put their own stamp on it. He thinks we should paint the house, every room, cream (how boring). No new carpeting and diffidently no wood floors because then the people that move in can put whatever they want in the house. As for the price, he feels like we should not worry about how much money we get for it. We should have it appraised and then ask that price, the end. As you can tell we are on very opposite ends when it comes to what we should and should not do to our house when we get it ready to sell.
Over this past summer, during the couple weeks our state opened up a little temporarily, we ran into a handy man at our local bar. After we told him what we were thinking of doing he began to ask us qualifying questions. When are we thinking of doing this he asked. I said that I wanted to start right away. My husband said “In the next year or so.” The gentleman asked if we wanted to remodel our kitchen. I said “yes”, but my husband said “no”. With a funny look on his face the gentleman asked the big question…. Carpeting? or wood floor? I, of course said wood floor! My husband, to my surprise, said “Carpeting,” then not surprisingly “but only downstairs”. We looked at each other and started to laugh. The gentleman looked at both of us, grabbed his beer and just walked away, without even a “call me when you two agree” between us. It was the last time we talked about remodeling the house until this weekend.
This weekend I brought it up again. I’m tired of the carpeting, the paint on the walls, everything really. It’s old looking and I think when people come in our house they must think we how badly we need to paint and replace the carpeting. My husbands parents came over and asked ME when we were going to do this, or do that to the house, or ask if there is a reason we aren’t doing something, like painting. It is frustrating to me because I feel like they blame me for the way the house looks. Their son is sitting right there and they never say anything to him, but I bite my lip and make up some stupid excuse. After they left, I brought up the subject again and asked hubby his thoughts. He said he just didn’t care about what our house looks like, it’s fine. He said he doesn’t want to go through all the remodeling mess again, and he doesn’t care how much money we get for the house when we sell it. I replied that I didn’t understand why he didn’t want to have a nice home, have a place to be proud of when people come over, have a place we can enjoy because it filled with things we love. He said he just didn’t as long as we were happy and healthy. How do I argue with that? So I just stopped talking about it. I have to hope that he changes his mind, that one of his friends, or his parents says something to him that makes him change his mind. And so I wait, wait for him to change his mind… again. I know (or hope) that he eventually will, but how long will that take? I guess I just wait… so we are at a standstill. Of course he didn’t want a dog but we got one so there is that, baby steps I guess.