Even when you’re really in love, truly and deeply and madly in love, you don’t love everything. You see things you’d like to change, need to change, dear Lord HAVE to change. But even though breaking up sometimes crosses your mind, you don’t seriously consider it. Even with the little irritations and the compromises and the please I cannot live this way a minute longer, you’re still in love. You can’t see leaving.
I am, of course, talking about our house.
I would never be so foolish as to think I could change P. Nor would I want to. For one thing, people change and grow throughout their lives, and if that changes comes from within, it doesn’t change who they are — what makes them fundamentally them. But if the changes come from external pressure, no good can come of it. It’s not so much changing a person as taking away a part of them. Not that I’m saying you’d take their ears or something. Because, eww. But anyway, I couldn’t change P. if I tried. Consider our recent phone conversation:
Me: You should leave me voice mail messages sometimes.
Him: No. I don’t leave messages. (He refuses to leave voice mail messages, although I have no idea why. He could be trapped under a boulder with only his cell phone, and if he got my voice mail, he would hang up and think, “I’ll just try her again later.”)
Me: I know. I’m saying you should start. So, I can hear your voice.
Him: Are you trying to change me?
Me: Yes, but only just this one thing. You’re perfect in every other way.
Him: So, you’re saying if I do just this one thing, you’ll never ask me to change anything else ever for the rest of our lives?
Me: Yes! Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying!
Him: And you will change in any way I ask for the rest of our lives? OK. I’ll do it.
Me: Never mind.
So, you see, getting someone to change for your just backfires anyway.
But the house, we can change. At least we’d better be able to change it or I’ll spend my life slowly going mad until the house has won, and I’ll be immortalized on film, alongside the rest of the houses that win genre: The Shining, Amityville Horror, The Cat in the Hat, etc.
Not that we have ghosts, we have spiders. And we have sinks that leak gallons of water for no reason. And we have outlets that are just not quite at the right height. (I guess what I really mean by that last one is that I have a boyfriend who is deeply bothered by outlets that are just not quite at the right height.)
My first confession is that I’m not really in love with my washer and dryer. They’re not a blind date gone bad exactly, but maybe it was just impossible for them to live up to such high expectations. You’ll love doing laundry! They make your clothes so much cleaner! And you never have to iron! And really, they’re just a washer and dryer with the added technology to beep at me until I beat them with a hammer. We were watching this show on HGTV the other day and they were showing off this new washer and dryer with a wireless display that you can take with you everywhere in the house so you can always know the current state of your laundry. As if the beeping doesn’t do enough to shackle you to your laundry room. When I do laundry, I want to put the clothes in, go off and do something else, and then come back when I’m done doing that something else, and deal with the laundry. I don’t want to have to drop whatever it is I happen to be doing (for instance, having sex) so I can run to the clothes the second they require movement. They will not be utterly destroyed if they are damp for a few extra minutes. Or maybe my inclination to have sex rather than attend to my laundry’s every need is why my clothes aren’t as clean and fluffy and wrinkle free as I’d been promised. I think it’s worth the trade-off.
And then there’s our sink. We came home the other day to water flooding the kitchen. The faucet was off and was in fact not leaking, although it was clear it had been leaking, unless the cats had a big party while we were gone. With ice sculptures. That melted. P. thought maybe the sink wasn’t sealed very well (since after all, you could move it around), so we went to Home Depot and got some caulk. He caulked it all last night and we were very proud of our homeowner skills.
Only we got back from the gym this morning to find water pouring out of the middle of the faucet. The part that swivels. Huh. So, we turned the water off under the sink and tried taking apart the faucet only after we got it all apart, we found we couldn’t really get to the leaky part, so we googled around, and we think maybe it blew out from the water pressure and not being beaded or fastened right or something. We could, of course, be entirely wrong. But when you purchase something expensive, like a house, you want it to not leak water everywhere. That part we’re pretty sure of. So, we’re going back to Home Depot to get a new faucet. We may never have running water in our kitchen again.
We still spend every waking moment sanding our walls. Sand is everywhere. It’s like the dust bowl except without the burning desire to move to Bakersfield. We have plastic up all over the place, but dust is persistent. No wimpy plastic is going to get the better of dust.
And did I mention the fleas? And that I’m so insanely allergic to them that I am in a constant state of itchiness, covered in hives, every moment that I am home. Which makes the fact that I spend at least 12 hours a day at work lately a little easier to take. It’s respite from the relentless itching. Maybe I should mention that to the HR people so they can use it as a new recruiting slogan.