Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The improvised life

Another monumental project has been checked off of our list during this past week.  Together, from beginning to end, my wife and I plowed through another home improvement adventure.  This time it involved the painting of our living room, dining room and ceilings throughout.  This follows our fairly recent bedroom renovation and also the reclamation of our office space.  I attribute much of this to a blend of necessity mixed with a bit of HGTV overload.  It all looks quite good actually.  We are both very happy with it.  That is quite remarkable considering we are both total amateurs and learn everything by trial and error.  What is even more remarkable, from my perspective, is that not only are we happy with the outcome, we are still really happy with each other.  When we do these projects we are both all in, from the beginning discussions, to the choosing of colors, fixtures, appliances and furniture.  We both take part in the construction process, from paint to tile to countertops to lighting.  Really the only adjustment comes, and it always does come, when the planner/designer part of me clashes with the dreamer/"I have no concept of physics or the laws of nature" part of my wife.  When that moment arrives, and it always does, I spend decent energy trying to rationalize why one of her concepts is impossible, only to finally yield my position and, in an attempt to prove said dream impossible, discover that, in fact it really can be done, nearly exactly as dreamed.  You would think that I would learn...but it's apparently not in my nature.
We know each other well.  We seem to instinctively know when to push and when to pull.  I'm not exactly sure how it is accomplished in our relationship when so many don't seem to even be able to agree on a restaurant choice.  I think that,  just maybe, it comes from 28 years of plunging into the unknown and having to rely only on the grace of God and each other when nothing else was certain.  When life is not scripted you have to learn to improvise and just like good improv teams, you learn to adapt to and play off of your partner.  My observation is that many aren't comfortable with an improvised life.  Many would rather put life on auto pilot as soon into the flight as they possibly can and then coast.  In those relationships, certainty and script is the gauge of success.  When the inevitable turbulence of life comes and things don't go according to "plan", all sorts of unnecessary, uncomfortable, and unproductive havoc is wreaked.   Had we chosen to live life on auto pilot, I'm pretty sure that our successful home renovations would easily turn into another episode of  "Renovation Realities".

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