-Tales From The Stinky House On The Prairie-
If my husband was hoping for a normal life with me, he should have known better. We met in a karate class, for crying out loud, he should have known I would be a tad adventurous. Not that he doesn’t like to do adventurous things. We both love to downhill ski. We learned to scuba dive and it’s awesome. But if there is anyone in our relationship who errs on the “adventurous but hey let’s just call it what it is, actually impulsive” side, it’s me. My husband is calculating, reserved, and questioning. I am impulsive and excitable and prone to losing my head over things. He likes to know how to do things precisely before diving into a project. I’m of the opinion that the quickest way to figure things out is to just dive right in. We’re a good match. I push him out of his comfort zone. He keeps me from getting in over my head. Mostly.
We started out our marriage as a couple of naïve kids.We bought a house in the country because we both loved the property and I had my heart set on that house, but we should have been paying attention to things like window quality and how “tight” or well-insulated the house seemed (let’s just say both were lacking). But even so, we worked hard to make that house our own. My husband knew a lot more than I did about basic house maintenance, but I did learn how to paint a room and how to cut in so that I didn’t have to tape. With his help, I raised a garden for the very first time in my life. We did a lot of landscaping together and he even built a retaining wall. I raised two babies in that house, and I learned how to sew so I could make them baby blankets and Christmas stockings and curtains for their rooms (I never took Home Ec. in school, so guess who taught me how to thread a sewing machine? My dear husband, whose mom actually did make him take Home Ec). But when it came to finishing the basement to accommodate our growing family, we didn’t even consider doing it ourselves. We hired it out.
Eight years into our marriage, we moved to a new house in a new town for job reasons where we spent two miserable years in a blue 1980’s tri-level house in town with blue carpet. We did a lot of work on that house as well in the short time we were there. My husband painted the old, faded blue siding a more modern color. We had the carpet replaced. My husband replaced all the outdated lighting and I tackled all the wallpaper (If you’ve never taken wallpaper off of unpainted drywall, you should. It’s a real treat. Doesn’t ruin the drywall at all). We had another (last) baby. One thing we knew after living in town is that we wanted, more like needed, to be in the country again. Our whole family hated living in town. My kids missed having room to roam. I dreamed of raising animals. I wanted to make my own cheese. I had been hit hard by the knitting bug and after finally learning how, I discovered how much I really loved creating things with my hands. I wanted more. So it should have come as no surprise to my dear husband when almost ten years into our marriage, his impulsive wife fell in love with a house on the windswept plains with views of the mountains that was the very definition of a fixer-upper. I may have even said ridiculous things to try to convince him, like, “We’ll figure it out as we go. Plus, if we work really hard, we should be done in six months….” Famous last words, that’s all I have to say about that.