Fifteen years ago today P and I stood at the front of a church, in front of all our friends and family, and vowed to love each other for better or for worse.
And we’ve had some of both over the years. But the scale has definitely tipped in favor of better much more often than worse.
However, this seemed like an appropriate time to tell y’all about the holes in my walls.
Because it was a low.
If you’ve been reading the blog for any amount of time, you might remember that P has grand ambitions to seal our home up like a Frigidaire. There has been much talk of installing radiant barrier paint or some type of foil in the attic for years. And I’ve never gotten on board because you know what no one ever compliments you on when they visit your house?
Also, you know what’s more fun to spend money on than insulating your attic?
Everything else in the world.
But earlier this summer I was out of town. And P took that opportunity to have Blah Blah Insulation Company come out and give us an estimate on insulating our walls and our attic. The problem with living in a house built almost 100 years ago is that people neglected to insulate their walls. But considering that they had to hang wallpaper by nailing it to the wall, you can hardly fault them. They had bigger fish to fry. And this is where I begin to think about the people who originally built this house and how they didn’t have air-conditioning at all and it makes me break out in hives just thinking about it.
I’m like Queen Esther. I was born for such a time as this.
This time being a time when man figured out how to make air cold.
Anyway, P convinced me that we should at least get the walls insulated, especially since removing the sheetrock in the guest room made that room significantly hotter than it used to be. And since we’re planning to repaint most of the house already, it seemed like a good time to do it. He said it would just be a matter of them drilling a hole in the wall and pumping in insulation.
Here’s the thing about marriage. Sometimes there are breakdowns in communication. And sometimes you speak such different languages that you forget to ask important, clarifying questions. Questions like, “How many holes are we talking about?”
Because while I naively envisioned that each wall would receive one small hole in a discreet location, what actually took place was a sheetrock apocalypse.
The workmen came into our house with saws and drills and hoses while wearing masks. It was like the end of E.T. when the scientists realize E.T. is living in Elliot’s house and come barging in wearing space suits. And I wanted to ride off on my bike and fly across the moon to escape.
In his defense, the insulation sales guy hadn’t been completely upfront with P either. And so we were completely unprepared for the mess and the dust and the hysteria and the tears. Of course I was solely responsible for the hysteria and tears. The workmen didn’t even cry one time.
After he saw me breathing into a brown paper bag, P suggested that maybe I should get out of the house for the rest of the day. And I agreed because I was curled up in a corner singing “Turn On Your Heartlight”.
The next two days were a blur of insulation and dust and walking back into the house to find my living room curtains tied in a knot to keep them off the floor. It was bleak. There was so much sheetrock dust in my house that I believed there was no way it would ever be clean again.
And then they finally finished pumping insulation, filled the silver dollar size holes all over each wall with some type of white foam that I think they use in hell, and left.
I’d spent that entire day at the pool with Caroline because, seriously, workmen act uneasy when a woman is crying on her dusty couch while they do their job. But about 4:00 that afternoon, P called me and asked where we kept the mop and the swiffer broom.
And by the time I walked through the door an hour later, the house was completely put back together. The floors were swept and mopped. The curtains were untied. The furniture had been dusted.
As silly as this sounds it was one of those moments in a marriage where I loved him more than ever. Not just because he cleaned the house, but because I realized he knows me well enough to know that I needed the house to be clean. That he knows me well enough to know that I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night until the house was put back together.
And there’s something about being known like that. It makes you feel loved. Because knowing to clean up all that dust is just the tip of the iceberg of things P has learned about me over the last fifteen years. But he loves me more because of some of them and in spite of the rest.
For better or for worse.
I’m just so glad we’ll spend the next fifteen years in a living room that’s now two degrees cooler every evening thanks to all that new insulation.
I love you, P. Happy fifteenth anniversary.