Tensions are still high in our home. Michelle wants to buy a new bar-height table in the kitchen, and I think she’s crazy because it’s a small kitchen and it would overwhelm the space. But women must have their way, and she found one she liked on the online buy-and-sell we use here called Craigslist. After work I drove across town in rush hour traffic to check it out. It was decent enough, but I’m certain it’ll be too big for our little kitchen, so I called her to make sure she knew what she was getting into.
“It’s six inches above the counter-top height. Are you sure!?”
“That sounds okay to me.”
“You realize it’s high, right? It’s above my belt line.”
“I think it sounds good.”
What do you say? The wife wants it, and when it comes to arranging the home, I’ve really given her the reins because it was my house she moved in originally, and I want her to feel at home. So, I gave the women $70 and drove home in rush hour traffic, grumbling as I looked at the clock that I’d either have to miss out on spending time with the baby or playing soccer.
By the time I arrived home, I was not a very nice man. Michelle and I argued in the kitchen as our house-mate watched Celia in the other room. I pointed and gestured with my fingers how much space the table would take up in the kitchen, and showed Michelle how the baby chair won’t come up to it. I could see her second-guessing herself, and I was irate.
I needed to get out, so I told her I was going to play soccer and I changed into my shorts. But before I could leave, Michelle said, “Install the curtain upstairs before you go.”
We accomplished a lot of household tasks over the long weekend, including a lot of baby-proofing, rearranging, and fixing our aquarium (for which our fish are eternally grateful), but I hadn’t had time to install the curtain. So, grumbling to myself, I pulled out the drill and other tools needed, and silently cursed every time the peg didn’t fit into the hole, the drill bit needed changing, or the wrong screw-head was used.
I did eventually play soccer, and it was indeed helpful to run off some steam, but of course, that doesn’t solve all of these unresolved issues. When I got home, my good friend Siamak was on the porch, and dinner was almost ready. So, the four of us sat at the normal-height kitchen table for what might be the last time and I thought about how nice it was to have a little table that just barely fits four.
I do have to say that the nice thing about having people around is that, although we didn’t work out the details of our issues on the spot, any ugly energy from either of us was diffused by the presence of others. Having a house-mate has its perks; besides the fact that he cares for Celia when we need him to, he provides some stability in our home. He is not going to get worked up about things involving the baby, because it’s not his baby. And I’ve always found that I’m just a little bit nicer when others are around.
We didn’t fully work things out, but we opened two bottles of wine and were laughing and discussing the issues by the end of the night. In the morning we both felt like we’d drunk too much, but I think it’s safe to say it was time well spent and wine well-ferment.