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Project Zen – Writing a Book about our Endless Renovation

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m working on a book about our renovation project. While I’m beyond certain that the form that it’s presently in will NOT be its final form, I’ve just finished my first draft, where my objective was really just to capture the process, mostly chronologically, before working with an editor and probably tearing the whole thing to shreds. In the meantime, I thought it might be fun to share some excerpts of what I’ve written so far. What follows is a portion of the chapter I’ve currently dubbed, ” The Torture of the Architect.”

When Tim and I were married, his younger brother Andy was our Best Man, and I’m reminded, almost daily, of the way he described us and our relationship: “like two raging, bust-butt rivers coming together.” In the now 25+ years we’ve been married, I don’t know that anyone else has captured so well, in so few words, the essence of us, and woe to any poor, faint-of-heart service-provider who happened into our decision-making orbit. This was never more on display than when we started working with our first architect.

I should tell you a couple of more things here to properly set the stage for all that is to follow. I believe in visualization. I can picture things in my mind fairly clearly. I have been known to do vision-boards. I have always ended up eventually getting more or less what I’d been able to picture. I believe that attention yields quality, but I am quick to cut through options to make decisions, probably because I already have a strong sense of what I want firmly etched into my brain. I’m pretty organized. I’m a task-master. I analyze what I want to do and therefore what steps need to get done to do it. I make lists; I check things off; I update my lists. I’m a “clean-as-you-go” kind of person. And I impose it on everyone around me, or there is often hellfire and damnation. I admit it. I can be a nightmare.

Tim is nearly a savant. He knows his craft so well that he can do most things almost automatically. However, he also has ADHD (so do both of our sons – something that has tempered my previously *very* impatient tendencies, and I’m a MUCH better person for it. I swear.) He has a hard time visualizing things, yet he’s a highly visual person. He suffers from analysis-paralysis. He has an exceedingly difficult time pulling the proverbial trigger on most decisions. He, not unlike many, if not most, people with ADHD, lacks organizational and time-management skills. He is allergic to writing things down, which didn’t go so well when Mr. Mom had to fill out the same medical history form for the 4th time when he took one of the boys to the doctor. He makes up for it though, with his amazing skill and his infectious sense of humor.

When he’s in the moment, he’s in the moment. He narrates what he’s doing, not for anyone’s benefit, but just because it helps him think. When he’s not focused on a task, though, he can be a total scatterbrain. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that, in the approximately 9,250 days we’ve been married (as of the moment I’m writing this), he has misplaced, or outright lost: keys, wallets, phones, articles of clothing, and all varieties of tools at least 9,250 times. If he’s not already interested in what you’re saying, then it’s highly likely that even though he appears to have heard you, he hasn’t actually processed what you said. He will quite possibly cut you off mid-sentence and talk over you. There is little “executive oversight” between what happens in his brain and his verbal articulation. I think I coined a phrase somewhere in the earlier stages of this project, when I told someone that they should check to see whether he was wearing his decorative ears or his functional ones. You really can’t take his seeming inattentiveness to you personally. But we’re married. So, stupidly, I often do.

These fundamental differences between us have been pretty much at the crux of every knock-down, drag-out fight we’ve gotten into. And I’m pretty sure they’ve scared the living daylights out of the unlucky service providers with whom we’ve attempted to meet and work together, because we aren’t ones to hold back our opinions of each other in any given moment.

Nevertheless, and without reservation, I trust (and have trusted) him 100% to do the right things as he has done his work here. I think I actually trust him more than he trusts himself. Even if he can’t organize his way out of a broom closet (and I’m looking for a full topographical map . . .)

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