“Oh, no!” my sister, Stephanie, exclaimed in horror when I told her what we had going this weekend.
I’d had big plans for this Thanksgiving weekend. George and his crew took five solid days off from boat work, and I good-naturedly agreed to him using one of those days as his “free day,” to do with whatever he wanted. Unwind from boat work. Organize his desk. Make calls to his family. Watch a movie. Basically, whatever he needed to do to make a successful switch from Captain of a Boat to Husband and Father of Two.
After that, I thought we would go to Fred Meyer and pick out a Christmas dress for Eva. Go to Target to buy a cover for my ipod. Go to that new baby store and choose bedding for Vincent’s new crib. Drop off the bassinet to my friend, who has a baby due in January. We’d take our mornings slow, and we’d eat well. George would dig out the Christmas decorations, I’d burn cinnamon holiday oil in my Christmas burner, and we’d listen to the new Toby Keith double-Christmas c.d.
What really happened was this: I went with Vincent and Eva alone to get his new bedding. The bassinet didn’t quite make it over to my friend’s house. I tried to play the new Toby Keith c.d., but there must be something wrong with my stereo, because it kept skipping. I begged my mom to come to Target with me so I didn’t have to go by myself. George did make one good breakfast, but I ate it in a huff because I was Mad.
Why was I Mad?
Because—before I realized what was happening in time to stop it—our time together went from Holiday Weekend to House Project Weekend!
George began preparing our house for the hardwood floors—yes, the same hardwood floors I have lobbied for since the day we moved in. (Off-white carpet is not suitable for a household with two big dogs. It’s not suitable for a toddler who likes to unscrew the caps of purple nail polish or dangle sippy cups upside down. It also isn’t suitable for a mom who leaves glasses of red wine on the coffee table for toddlers to knock over.)
I thought preparing the house for the hardwoods would take one day. It turns out, however, that hauling furniture, ripping out carpet, pulling up molding and nails, and smashing tile does take more than a few hours.
As a result, we spent half of the weekend with George doing this particular home project, and the other half fighting about George doing this particular home project. (“Why don’t you put that in your blog,” he sneered as he walked past me down the hall after one colorful exchange).
It’s hard for me to have a house out of order, and I’ll admit to a mild case of OCD. I can’t function in a house that isn’t functional. It doesn’t matter if it is for fifteen minutes or fifteen months. If the house is messy, I feel messy. If the house is in order, I feel in order. I do feel my blood pressure rising to unhealthy levels when I see Eva’s bed in our office, her kitchenette set in our dining room, her changing table in the hallway, the foot stool on top of the chair.
On the upside, I feel my character growing with each new project George undertakes and I live through. And I know well that I am lucky to have a guy who can single-handedly haul 2500 lbs of hardwood floor up the stairs to our living room, hang Christmas lights, install a new kitchen faucet, rip up carpet and tile, cook meals, hold Vincent so I can get in a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, feed Eva her breakfast, and show up smiling for Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt’s house.