When I met my husband he somehow managed to make me think that he was different from the typical male. I do not think this was intentional on his part, definitely not malicious, but it happened nevertheless. I am also to blame for my incredible naiveté and unrealistic optimism. We met a week before he was scheduled to leave for a year and go to India. He got on that plane with the thought that he may marry me when he returned. So he wrote me long, intimate, romantic letters online for 8 months. He wrote poetry, he gushed, he was a man in the initial stages of love. I thought it was a sign of things to come. (All the married women reading this are snorting into their coffee right now.) He expressed interest in things that I talked about through out our courtship and engagement. He held forth on topics that I now would not try to drag him into a conversation about unless my life depended on it because I now know they are often tedious for him. And so I imagined that he would go on caring about the exact same things I cared about, and help me to do them. Things like furniture for example.
At the end of December we packed up everything that we could fit into our minivan and my dad's minivan and moved our family back to California to be closer to his family down here. We left all of the furniture behind. It wasn't that nice, I found most of it in thrift stores, we were on a grad school budget, but it was functional. The Genius Husband said, as he has every time we move which is often, "Just get rid of it, we'll buy new stuff when we get there."
I've always had a slightly suspicious feeling about that grandiose statement, though I've never had cause to explore it until now. (I held on to the furniture through every Vancouver move, we couldn't afford to replace it back then.)
The time came last week to move out of the In-law's house and into something of our own. There were three furniture items I considered it necessary to procure to make this move pleasant. A king size bed mattress, (Which we did buy, though I just found out yesterday that I could have gotten a better one for half the price at Wal-Mart with a memory foam topper, oops, that sucks.) a table and chairs, and a computer armoire to hide the computer that must go in the living room if it is to be useful given the house layout, and organize bills and such. My dear husband's response to this list is "What do we need that stuff for? We don't need a table; people all over the world live without tables. As far as I'm concerned that's just more stuff that I'll have to move again."
AHA, I knew it. I was just a clever ploy to get me to get rid of stuff. Admittedly, we had managed to accumulate a lot of crap in our four years in Canada, and it felt good to get rid of it and leave it behind.
I think he would be happy if we each had two changes of clothes, a bowl and a spoon each, or a pair of chopsticks, and we used our second set of clothing as a blanket to keep warm at night. At least, he thinks he would be happy, but I can't help noticing that the one comfortable chair that we have in our house, thanks to some of our friends, has his butt in it each and every night for hours at a time. He does sit on the floor too, but he really enjoys that chair. I'm happy with our Persian style rug and fun collection of cushions as the main furnishing in our living room, the kids think it's great. But I want something that will keep the food off of the carpet and the children from wandering while eating.
So, trying to keep the peace, stay within budget, and not make this into a big giant deal breaker, (I have long ago come to terms with the fact that he is a true man, he doesn't care about accessorizing or the minutiae of human interactions and their causes, or most of the things that woman can carry on at least a half hour conversation about.) I decide to make a table myself instead of bug him again to go shopping.
I have never made a table before, though I have watched him do it for five years or more. Did I mention that my husband is a CARPENTER, that he could custom make anything I drew him and it would be beautiful, but he rarely makes anything for me. He doesn't like to take his work home. I used old pieces of the playground that were laying around outside my father in law's shed and I made two matching benches as well. I'm quite proud of myself. I used power tools and it was fun. I think I kind of get the guy thing now with guns and power tools. When it works you feel so cool and capable. I even made it with the option of being an Asian style ground table to go along with our no chairs or extraneous furniture theme which is basically a sitting on the floor theme and makes my knees hurt after while, especially typing. We want to travel and live in other places so it is like an adventure some days to pretend we are already there.
However, the whole time I am making this table I am thinking to myself that I am building up my bargaining power for the computer armoire because of all of the money I'm saving us, all the work I've done, etc. And that he will be proud of me. So I start researching armoires. It is depressingly difficult to find a solid wood armoire for a price that these two bargain driven at heart people can stomach.
Turns out he is proud of me. He has a funny way of expressing it though. He turned to me the other day and said, “I think you should just make it.”
Now, I've looked at plans and he's right. Given the right tools, and a workspace, some guidance from him, and TIME I do think I could make one.
So much for my hard earned bargaining power. I think I may have bitten off more than I want to swallow.