Monday, May 18, 2009

The Yoke's On Us

Old Dog and I do not work well together. Although our socio-economic backgrounds are similar (Appalachian/working class), our working backgrounds are very different. I’ve been in computers most of my life, most recently as a manager; he’s a union electrician in a factory. Sometimes, if a task requires we both participate, we can pull together for the duration, but it’s not easy. So, a couple of years back, when we spent a week of vacation stripping our deck, we knew it would be a challenge.

The previous owner elected to put a semi-translucent redwood on the deck. It didn’t look took bad when the house was Hershey’s Cocoa Brown, but was pretty awful after we updated it to Current Fad Tan.

We rented a floor stripper, which scraped off most of the stain, then used a strip sander, an orbital sander, a Mouse® and sheer elbow power to get the rest of it.

It’s still not a thing of beauty, but at least it isn’t the stuff of nightmares anymore.

For seven days we worked along, two happy elves in pursuit of the American Dream of Home Improvement. Below is an actual snippet of conversation from late in the week:

Me: Those boards under the railing need more work.

Him: They look okay.

Me: They look like shit.

Him: If you want them done again, do them yourself.

Me: Fucking union labor.

Him: Fucking management.

This year we’re putting up a privacy fence. Robert Frost said, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Any bets on what it will do for a marriage?

(Note: We're heading out to Georgia for a few days. See you on Friday (when I'll be announcing the winner of this week's Friday Fiction competition.)

17 comments:

Rachel Cotterill said...

Sounds like fun times ahead! Now I understand why you draw process improvement graphs for fun... ;)

Dedene said...

Monsieur Titi and I always get into fights when we try to do something together. You sound like us, although without the union part.
Very funny! I bet that your bickering is good for your marriage.

Jan said...

My husband and I cant work together. I have found that it is easier to do lots of things without. My youngest daughter has come in handy many times for home improvement projects. I can boss her around and she actually follows direction.
Enjoy your trip!

Michelle said...

We have been working on stripping the paint off our deck. It isn't coming no matter how much work we put into it. Hubby came up with the brilliant idea to just flip all the floorboards over and completely redo the railings. That's a union carpenter for you.

I feel your pain.

Comedy Goddess said...

I love a DIY story! The union/management twist is sexy too. I'm glad you are the management!

Chef E said...

My hubby and I work fine together, as he is a good steward, and I sweetly send him around a room or on errands if needed; as long as it is no more than once a month :) If we bicker; its because we have not gone on a vacation in a while and we need to get out of dodge!

CDB said...

I like this. It sounds like a conversation I'd have .. except HE would say how terrible they looked, and I would say, "do them yourself." (:

We have to wait until FRIDAY??!

Sandra Leigh said...

Where are you putting the fence, Jeanne? If it's inside the house, it's probably not too good for the marriage.

Have a good trip to Georgia.

K said...

Enjoy your fence!

And have a great trip.

Steven G said...

A happy wife is a happy life
A happy wife is a happy life
A happy wife is a happy life
A happy wife is a happy life
A happy wife is a happy life
A happy wife is a happy life
A happy wife is a happy life
A happy wife is a happy life
A happy wife is a happy life

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

Sounds like fun! I mean it would have boring otherwise, right?!

HoodChick said...

And this is why we bought all the materials and paid an unemployed carpenter friend to replace ours. I expected half assed union results myself, but it looks great - evidently some union works think slow and perfection are better than slow and sloppy. I'm sure he's a freak of nature.

buffalodick said...

My wife and I, working together as a team, can take a 20 minute project, and turn it into a 3 hour project- not including argument time... I'm a concept guy, with fairly good manual skills. My wife was a worker ant in a former life- she loves to move things around. She also has a huge sense of simplicity, that can take a concept and make it work quickly. The funniest thing- when we took our aptitude tests for college, she only outscored me in one category- engineering aptitude! I made my living by tech knowledge and engineering!

Frogs in my formula said...

Good hired professional make good marriages...far as I can tell.

Dave King said...

But I've never heard it described - what, exactly, makes for a good fence? Still, all power to your elbow - and other parts. Hope it all goes well.

Belle said...

Hire someone to do the job. It's cheaper than a divorce.

anymommy said...

I love it when fights turn humorous instead of nasty. Hope you had a great time in Georgia!

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