Two events of cosmic significance took place at camp Rishel this weekend. The first was we finally got a new front door! It is lovely white with nine adorable double paned windows that now shower our entry with light. It’s all new Christmas in August, the frame, trim, knobs, keys, and my renewed appreciation for the view outside. I have jonesed for this door for a long time. Long time. Think: years.
But this weekend’s other celestial occurrence was no less awesome and amazing. Mowgli and I installed our beautiful new door together, as a team and, for the first time ever, without wanting to kill each other.
This was not our first go at a joint project. Mowgli and I have worked together before. A lot. Matter of fact, we met on the job. Over the course of our united life we’ve been employed together on large crews, on small crews, as partners, as well as in the precarious combination of supervisor and subordinate. After all that experience there are two things we now hold as undeniable truths: One, we work wonderfully, efficiently, and cooperatively side by side, and two, we are utter crap at working together.
We have our reasons. Personally, I believe Mowgli’s attention to detail (itty bitty microscopic, totally inconsequential detail) and his tendency to put WAAYYYY too many fasteners in EVERYTHING could drive the Dali Llama into a violent rage. Mowgli, for his part, insists I have an irresponsible work ethic because I do pretty much everything in flip-flops and I may have, once or twice, accidentally left a sledgehammer on top of the ladder. (So?)
When the rare occasion forces us to work cooperatively, the minutia of matrimonial accord we have vanishes. Communication quickly erodes into something like a 9-year-old reading assembly instructions to another 9-year-old. “Pick up the left side of the door frame with your right hand. No, your right hand. No, your other right! OK, now tilt the door up. No, up. No, your other up!” It’s exhausting and, when at all possible, avoided.
Unfortunately, unless you are an octopus, installing a door is a two person job. And in our situation, an unavoidable job as well. At one time, getting a new door was a low priority “want” (the old one was ugly, dark, dented…). Then, last winter, it climbed the home improvement ranks to an absolute “need”. It’s threshold was missing. Where it once lay, protecting us from cold weather and creepy bug, was now a gaping, heat leaking hole. Last December, In an effort to gain access for a flooring project, I had ripped the old threshold out. Completely. Think: pry bar.
Did you know that a doors threshold is integral to the frame and that replacing one requires replacing the entire doorway unit? Well, it is.
On the up side, every day you don’t learn something new is a wasted day!
So, on Tuesday we bit the bullet and I brought home a new door-frame assembly. Then for the next four days we stood by silently as the tension in our house grow so thick you couldn’t cut it with a pneumatic sawzall. Did I mention that, on top of this project, we had recently decided to go low cal and had been (for the last two weeks) suspended in a perpetual state of STARVING? A good condition to work in? I think not. By Saturday morning the aroma of impending doom was inescapable.
But we did it! No tool throwing, no yelling, no cursing (well, minimal cursing and none of it at each other), no storming out of the room, no do overs, no lines in the sand, no “fine have it your way”, no “it’s my way or the highway”, no… wait, am I obsessing?
How did this happen? Maybe we’ve matured enough to deal with each other. Maybe the lack of food rendered us too weak to fight. We’ll probably never know. Our new door, with Mowgli’s 8,000 screws and three cans of spray foam insulation, is never coming out.
But it’s beautiful isn’t it?