Hubby and I, on the general, don’t argue much.
We argue all the time. We have tiffs, we have eye rolling, we have snippy moments where I call him a jackass and he gets annoyed. Occasionally, there’s even a door slam. But, for the most part, we don’t argue so vociferously that one of us storms out of the house or threatens to leave the other one. Frankly, I’d like to see Mr. Keeper TRY to announce he’s leaving the confines of our shared domestic bliss. Imagine the blog that would result after THAT attempt….
My point is, overall, we are a fairly even-tempered, friendly fighting kind of couple. We don’t name call, we don’t cut below the belt and we don’t threaten things we can’t back up. I would even daresay our neighbors would agree that the morning that Fruit Loop #1 missed the bus due to Hubby’s complete lack of urgency, my screaming at Hubby in the street while wearing my bathrobe and slippers was more entertaining than disturbing. And, while we do sometimes go to bed angry, it’s often not long before one of us pokes the other and forces the smile that helps us move on with our lives.
Well, except for that ONE argument.
That one Magical Marriage Moment that is now known as “The Great House Buying Incident Of 2005”.
All parties involved will agree: that argument was a doozy. Epic, if you will. Even our realtor was shaking in his boots.
And it all started over crown molding in a Laundry Room we didn’t even own.
After Fruit Loop #2 arrived in September 2005, we thought it would be a fabulous idea to buy a new home just eight short weeks later, right smack in the holiday season (remember, The Great Turkey Incident of 2005? Yes, there’s a theme here). For reasons I can only blame on sleep deprivation, exhaustion and my depression over still having to wear maternity pants eight weeks after having a baby, we decided we’d buy a bigger, more updated house.
We agreed on two caveats: he was going to get an extra garage bay and I was getting an updated kitchen. Both items were non negotiable and if we couldn’t find a house with those upgrades, we’d search until we did. And, that strategy worked well. Until we found The House That Caused The Argument.
The House That Caused The Argument, admittedly, did NOT have the extra garage bay and we should have just kept looking. But, as I said, sleep deprivation and too tight pants were in charge so we decided to take a peek inside because the buyers were “motivated to sell” and they had reduced the price to deep door busting discount levels. Just a quick peek, we thought.
OH MAH GAH THE KITCHEN IN THIS JOINT, PEOPLE.
Brazilian hardwood floors. Stainless everything. Viking range. Granite so veined it looked like a Jackson Pollack painting. I counted 32 cabinets. THIRTY TWO CABINETS for my organizing pleasure. The kitchen had a sitting area, people. An actual place to put a couch for my kitchen guests to relax as I prepared organic, free range, Wolfgang Puck style creations in my gourmet kitchen.
And, when I walked into the Laundry Room, it was as if Heaven and all It’s angels poured down white light on me: stainless steel front loading machines gleamed back at me in a beautifully appointed room with crown molding. Immediately, I could envision myself in a Donna Reed dress, pearls and patent leather heels doing laundry in this place of beauty. There would never be piles of laundry in a room with crown molding because I’d want to spend so much time in there!
I was in love. THIS was the house where we’d raise our family! Our search was over! Draw up the deal, Mr. Realtor Man! I was practically Julie Andrews spinning around mountain tops as I gazed over my future stainless steel kingdom. My singing abruptly stopped, however, as Hubby stood in the kitchen, arms crossed and shaking his head. “It doesn’t have a third garage bay. Deal breaker. Sorry”.
He was SORRY?
Oh, NO HE DIDN’T just rain on my 32 cabinet parade.
As I stood there, frantically trying to come up with a reasonable rebuttal, he stood his ground. That Brazilian kitchen got real quiet like as we stood there, glaring and facing off, eye to eye. As the silence became deafening, our realtor intervened and suggested we leave and “sleep on it”. I think he mostly wanted to get me out of there before I chained myself to the the Laundry Room door. With one last, fleeting look at my dream kitchen, I sullenly stalked down the expensive paver walkway to the car.
And that’s when the Magic Marriage Moment kicked into high gear.
There was pleading, begging, cajoling and swearing. There was heel digging, stubbornness and head shaking. And more swearing. There was loud talking, yelling, harsh whispers and asshole lip threatening. The two innocent souls in the backseat were subjected to lots and lots of anger. Thank goodness one was fast asleep in her infant carrier and the other one was mostly concerned about the lollipop he’d just been given.
Nothing. There was NOTHING I could say that would change that man’s mind. No third garage bay, no dream kitchen. He kept insisting that we find a “Compromise House”. I *might* have said my compromise would be allowing him to live there with me. Ahem.
When we got home, the fighting continued. So much so, that my arguments stopped making sense and I spent much of it screaming in a Sumo wrestler stance. No matter what I said, no matter how loudly I yelled, I could NOT get him to see that this house was the house of my, er, OUR dreams.
When the arguing reached a fever pitch, I couldn’t take it anymore. Not one more minute. And, so, against my better judgement, I stormed out of the house after I slammed the door so hard the windows shook and I heard two pictures fall off the walls. With rage flowing through my veins, I drove myself to an Open House we’d planned on attending later that afternoon. I’d show HIM, yes I would. I’d scour the Earth to prove that NO OTHER HOUSE would do. I’d look at All. The. Houses. and none of them would measure up. The houses would be second tier, castoffs, B side, D list, dammit. I’d hang that kitchen over his head until his dying day. He’d be sorry, denying me that dream kitchen. Oh, he’d repent, alright (Did I mention I was post partum and sleep deprived?). Compromise THIS, Bucko.
When I arrived at the new house, the one that I could tell from the street did NOT have my dream kitchen, I marched up the driveway and immediately saw the gorgeous landscaping. And the third garage bay. And the bigger, nicer, mature tree yard. But I stood firm. This house was going to SUCK, I knew it. And, the sight of the gorgeous double staircase as I walked in definitely did NOT scream Compromise House. And, oh dear, the entire wall of nine panel windows in the Family Room looking out onto pine trees and green grass did not deter me. Fresh neutral paint did not make me waiver in my resolve to be angry. The newly lacquered hardwood throughout would NOT be amazing while wearing wool socks on a winter’s day. And our Christmas tree would NOT be perfect in that spot RIGHT. THERE……I turned my nose at the upgraded, brand new, so fluffy your feet got lost carpeting upstairs.
But one look at the kitchen made me realize I might have to eat some Humble Pie. A Humble Pie I baked in a not quite as nice but still nicely appointed kitchen that was ACTUALLY where we’d raise our family. A kitchen that had a better layout, more natural light and more practical finishes. But, it did NOT have 32 cabinets and I still maintain that was a loss.
As I stood there, in what became our new kitchen, I had to make an uncomfortable phone call. A “Hi, Honey, I know you are SUPER pissed at me and I know I slammed a door and I know I stormed out and came to the Open House without you and I know I said I’d stake our marriage on the other house but GUESS WHAT? I found a Compromise House and I need you to come over Right. This. Minute. because there are people crawling all over it and I don’t want to lose this one because did I mention it has three garages and it’s PERFECT?” phone call.
And, as I waited for him to come over to draw up the deal, I secretly SQUEEEED over the adjustable cabinets where I’d be housing my baking supplies. Somehow, I instinctively knew I’d be making many more Humble Pies in our new house. And, over the years, I’ve served my slices with ice cream because it makes swallowing your pride easier.
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