The Way Things Are



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I must use this space
2005-06-02, 10:59 a.m.

I must use this space today to go on and on and on on and on about how building a house totally fucks up your life.

This will be a Princess Rant, the kind where I lament how hard it is, this building a big-ass house, this big-ass house that my husband is building. Iím going to whine about things like tile and cabinets, AND I KNOW PERFECTLY WELL THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO CANíT AFFORD TILE AND CABINETS. I KNOW THAT THIS IS AKIN TO WHINING ABOUT MY LEXUS CONSTANTLY BREAKING DOWN. disclaimer: I drive a Toyota, not a Lexus.

IN THE VEIN OF ďTHEREíS A PEA UNDER MY PILE OF MATTRESSESÖĒ

You read or hear stories about people or talk to your friends who say that building a house is the ultimate test of a relationship, and you think, that wonít be us. We donít fight. We like the same stuff. We wonít test our relationship because we will work as one, two hearts beating as one and building a house together, and agreeing on everything.

But itís not about the disagreeing and fighting. Itís about how building a house will pick you up, fit its foul fetid mouth upon yours, suck your soul right out, and then fling your limp lifeless body back to the ground.

Itís about money and time. Itís about learning a whole new trade, in addition to the job you already have, the commute, the kid, the house you live in that still requires that you wash the dishes, clean the floors, mow the lawn, and launder the dirty clothes.

DW and I donít disagree with each other about what kind of tile to use, or what color kitchen appliances to get, or how many bathrooms to build.

Itís not as obvious as that. Itís sneaky and scarier than the obvious.

Itís about having him out there working on it for 12 hours a day minimum, 7 days a week. Itís about not remembering what itís like to hang out and spend time with my husband. Or what itís like to have help around the house. Itís about having the house suck every bit of cash out of your hands until you feel guilty for going to the doctor to get that lump checked out, or get that bladder infection tended to.

Itís thinking that there isnít a thing about building a house thatís worth it. Itís knowing that if we had bought a house already-built, or chosen a homebuilder who said ďhere are your 3 choices Ė tell us which formula you want us to useĒ, we would have just a good of a house, just as much of a HOME as we are going to end up with now.

The house has prioritized itself over and above everything else in our lives. It is more important than our paying jobs, it is more important than the house we live in now, it is certainly more important than our relationship.

Hereís the part that makes the process really not worth it: I donít care about the house anymore. I donít care if I ever spend time with DW again. I have rounded the corner from looking forward to living in OUR house that WE build to OUR specifications, to not giving a good God Damn about it. I have rounded the corner from missing DW and wishing it would all be over so we can resume our lives, to not remembering what our real lives were about, or if we ever really had them, and not really caring whether we resume them, and thinking that being alone much of the time is easier than being with this man.

Itís losing sight of the goal, and not caring about the goal anymore, anyway.

And I know that you are thinking ďwhy doesnít she spend time with DW out at the building site, and help him, and keep him company, and work with him side by side?Ē Good point.

Itís because I am already overloaded. I have a demanding job. I have a kid whose needs and scheduling are tricky at best. I have a commute. I have a house that I currently live in with said kid (and ostensibly, DW, too) that needs no less cleaning and maintenance and mowing and sweeping and laundering than it did before.

I was already at capacity, emotionally, mentally, and time-wise. The only open space I had was weekends Ė sometimes Ė and I have stopped doing things that were meaningful to me, and now spend that time puttying nail holes, sanding woodwork, sweeping, picking up construction trash, and painting. Sure, Iím with DW during this time, but we are hating the process so much by this point, that the hatred is leaking out over the edges and spilling out into our feelings about each other.

There was a time when spending time with my husband doing the most horrid chores Ė say, picking up dogshit in the backyard Ė was meaningful because I was doing this with my husband, and we made it fun. The more horrid the chore, the more we joked around and made it fun. Those days are over, my friend.

There is a grim set to the mouth, a tiredness, a sickness, an intolerance for each otherís presence because we are so sick of the process that there is no joy left to be wrung from it.

And that, my chickens, is how building a house is the ultimate test of a relationship. And just think, when weíre finished building it, we get to move into it (fun), and then pay for it for the rest of our lives. Itís just a house. It is not worth a relationship.

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