Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why do I do that?

At work we are in the midst of office shuffling. It's been chaotic at best but this week I get to move in to a new space (which has a window).

Our team was given 5 offices for 8 people. The division of the spaces was tough for me because I'm moving in to a larger office with a window while some others on our team who work part time are sharing smaller spaces. But that's another blog for another day once things settle down. Remind me, i promise i will write it one day.

Monday afternoon I found myself with the opportunity to move in to my new space. It's currently some shade of light green with some florally wall paper. Very nice but totally not me. I hate pastel colors. Is that too strong of a statement? I love people who love pastel colors, like I love people who love pets and the American flag in church, but i always feel like someone needs to turn the color up when i look at a pastel. Needless to say, my first step is to quite literally attack not only the wall color but the wallpaper.

I have never wall papered or painted a room. I don't think I like remodeling. It's kind of like exercise, i love to watch it on cable.
Our house is what i affectionately call... dorm room chic. Donated furniture and stuff I like. Informal. So this whole process is daunting to me. I decided that I'd have Molly help me as she wants to be an interior decorator.

Anyway, back to the story.
I went to the paint store and picked up some spray to help with the removal of the wall paper. So, I'm up on a ladder spraying gel at wall paper and my mind begins to twirl...
Man, I wish Michael would help me with this project. I probably spent about 15 minutes evaluating the health of our marriage based on what his instinctive response to a request for help would be.
In fact, I even let my mind wander as far as to wonder what he'd do if I didn't ask. Would he... even... offer... (insert minor chord here...). Or maybe, he would quite naturally ride in on his white horse and paint from the saddle with the bristles of the stallions tail?

Then I remembered one of the first things I learned 20 years ago when I got married, which is to speak your mind, rather than to hope they guess. Golden advice.

So I pick up the phone and call him and say, "when you come by tonight can you and Molly plan to hang out for 'a bit', I'm taking down the wallpaper in my new office (with a window) and would like some know at the VERY end of the task."
He says sure and hangs up.
All the while, I'm spraying and scraping.
For a moment i'm delighted.
Then my mind spins again.
What was the look on his face when he hung up?
He paused, if only momentarily, when I asked... what did he really think?
Molly was with him, what did he say about me, to her?
Why couldn't he just have been born to remove wall paper...
Sweating now, spraying, scraping...
There was a moment of clarity when I realized that if this was the kind of project Mike enjoyed, we would likely have done this at least once in 21 years of marriage...
spraying, scraping, Randy Rock has taken pity on me and is now sitting in the mess of paper on the floor of my office talking about trains or something, which is delightful because it distracts me briefly from thinking that Michael is somehow less than perfect because he didn't offer to do this task for me.
And then I have my epiphany.

How often do women, do I, think up something and then expect Michael to fall in line.
Is this something women do more than men?
I thought long and hard about examples of times when Michael has ever thought up a job for me to do... he's probably moved offices... ten times in ten years and never asked me to help. In the "old days" you heard of men inviting their bosses over for dinner at the last minute and the hard feelings that created for their wives... but seriously now... is it just part of our wife dna?

Maybe it's just at our house, but I'm going to try to go a little more gentle on the "honey do" list from now on.

btw- 6 hours of work, the wall paper is down. Mike and Molly both scraped with me and I can't wait to paint!


Melinda said...

I'm thinking that Michael gave you a beautiful 'I love you', when he agreed to help (not sure if Molly was given a choice here). If it is really not something that he enjoys, but did it because his beloved wife, Janet, asked him to AND at the end of his own long & hard work day...that is ENORMOUSLY gallant! Romantic, even!

P.S. Maybe your mind was whirling due to fumes from the spray or that window.

Anonymous said...

SO glad you found some time to blog and loved your honesty in this post! I'm not sure it's just "wife dna". I'm the woman whose family has nicknamed her "grunt queen" for all the projects she's been assumed into by her incredible and amazingly gifted husband. I would agree with Melinda that Mike gave you a delightful gift.

On the flip side, I have been guilty of what's laughingly known in our marriage as the "we phrase". I will say "We" need to [insert chore here], with the ridiculous assumption that he will do it.

It's the time spent evaluating the health of the marriage based on a current set of circumstances that I suspect is more likely "wife dna". I have done that more than I'd like to admit!
~ LP

ERIKA said...

Janet, I don't normally stalk your blog :) but today I jumped on b/c I was looking for something from yesterday's service (which I will email you about) but thank you.

Your words spoke to me.

"How often do women, do I, think up something and then expect Michael to fall in line.
Is this something women do more than men? "

In a word: yes. At least in my life. You have inspired me to ease up as well. :) Rhett will thank you (but don't tell him, 'k?) :)