Absence, patience and mellowing out

Some of the many samples littering the office.

They say absence makes the heart go fonder.

The beloved husband took a short trip out west to see his kids. We rarely travel separately so it was different at home. Aside from eating my favorite dishes that he doesn’t like (ok, there may have been an ice cream supper), there were extra chores for me.

We each have our “things” that we do. A routine of sorts. Some of it is personal stuff like playing guitar or exercising or daily runs to Starbucks. Some is house chores.

The first thing I noticed in his absence was that the bed didn’t get made. That damn thing didn’t make itself! That’s easy to fix although the cats preferred the rumpled mess.

The garbage needed to go out so I did that.

I missed him but it wasn’t for those things. We don’t hang together during the day unless we are working on a project together. Most of the time I have no idea where he is. I threaten to get a GPS implanted in him so I can track him! I appreciate knowing he’s around even if I don’t see him. Sometimes we’ll throw caution to the wind and have a romantic pizza lunch.

He likes to do some things that I don’t, like pulling weeds and mowing lawn. I like doing other things that he doesn’t, like gardening, growing tomatoes and flowers, keeping the flower pots blooming and cleaning cat litter. Ok, no one likes doing that.

It evens out but it was nice to have a reminder on all that he does.

Then we started the carpet project. We are replacing the wall-to-wall carpet in our office. Not a big deal. We pick it. Someone else installs.

We love what we have except it’s worn. Badly worn. It isn’t available anymore. Nor is there anything like it. This is new territory. Making a decision became more complicated.

We looked at one store. We came home with a trunk full of samples. Yep, kinda nice but not sure. We were off to another store to get more samples. These samples were very different so we went back to the first store for more samples. (At this point we had enough samples to start a carpet store!)

Every morning between 9 and 10 a.m. we went out looking. After several trips and tons of samples we settled on something although there was no gusto in the decision. (This should be fun and exciting!) As we went to place the order I noticed that I didn’t like it when it was laying on the store counter.

(I know that fabric, carpet and paint always looks different in a store than in the lighting of your own home. Why did I freak out? Because I would have to live with a wrong mistake for a long time.)

We started the process to place an order. They want to come to the home to measure because we may not be capable of measuring a square room accurately. That gave me a few days to change my mind. They don’t collect money or order the material until they measure.

I was sure he would get agitated that I was changing my mind yet again but he wasn’t. The next morning between 9 and 10 a.m. we went back to the carpet store for more samples.

I stayed with my original decision but I have a lot more confidence about it now.

What I learned the past few weeks is that he is patient and laid back. Both of us have become less intense over the years. Nothing is the end of the world. The worst decision can be reversed. It just costs money.

I wish I would have been like this when I was young. Maybe you have to ease into it to be satisfied with where you are. There is no greener pasture. I know.

63 thoughts on “Absence, patience and mellowing out

  1. You’ve just documented why so many people (like my husband) resist change … it’s the fear of making a mistake in the choice. Ok – that, and all the other effort required to make it happen even if you do have an installer 😏

    Kudos to you for biting the bullet and making the decision, even if it did involve a million and one samples. You’re still light years ahead of me!!

    Doesn’t everyone occasionally have ice cream for dinner? 😉

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    • Only creative people have ice cream for dinner! One way to get a project moving is to remember that we would have to do it for resale. We keep saying we will downsize in the next year or 3 and that has driven some projects. Better to change it out now so I can enjoy than to do a week before it’s goes on the market. In a way though it makes the decision harder. A year ago we had to change out the carpet runner on the stairs. The first step was threadbare. I loved it. It was a colorful oriental. I bought a neutral (for resale) and now I’m sorry. I miss the colors on the stairs which is a mostly colorless place.

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  2. Funny how you settle in specific roles and how things sometimes seem out of balance when the other isn’t there.
    I enjoy carpet decisions like I enjoy paint decisions, which is not at all..:)

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  3. My God, I can’t imagine all those carpet samples you had in your home! That would have driven me crazy with too many choices. But good that you’ve made a decision. When bought our place last year the sellers touted the brand new carpet. Now that we’re in it, we see they really got it on the cheap. So probably in a year or two we’ll have to get something we really like. I may have to refer back to this post of yours. 🙂 – Marty.

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    • Replacements people make to sell are rarely quality goods. We looked at a home that was part of an estate. The woman was old and her heirs decided to do some things to “get more money” for the place. One thing they did was to put paste down squares of something plastic-y for the kitchen floor. Looking at it you just knew that water would get between them and it would be first on the list to replace. The good news is that you have a year or two to think about it (or not)! 🙂

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  4. One of the reasons I’ve never wanted to buy a “fixer upper” is because I would go absolutely bonkers trying to make all the decisions (paint, tile, carpet, wood floor, kitchen cabinets) ad nauseum. Some people love doing that stuff; I don’t. So I understand the tile dilemma. But interesting how the project has made you realize that you’re more relaxed about everything now. My guess is we all get more relaxed about “important” stuff that doesn’t seem as important when we get to a certain age. ;-0

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  5. BIG decision when it comes to carpeting. Luckily we have tile in the whole place. New tile in the three bedrooms (or two bedrooms and an office which is how we have chosen to use this little Casa) in a herringbone pattern that the previous owner selected and I really like it. It’s cool and I mean cool to the feets. It gets HOT here. And “things” to do… I didn’t realize how much CH did until he spent 12 days face down in a special chair for rehab after surgery for a macular hole. Sure opened my eyes to how much we both share chores. And he is the cook! But surprise! I can still cook, of course, and enjoyed it. You took your time with the carpeting and I know it will be perfect! I love berber. About mellowing out, I think I have done some mellowing but I could mellow out a whole lot more. I can’t wait for a picture of the carpet in the office????

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    • Carpet will take 3 weeks or so. Having someone face down for 12 days would be an eye opener in many ways. Hope all is well with his eyes now. We have mostly hard surfaces here — hardwood, tile and a little linoleum! As carpet got worn we replaced it with a hard surface because it’s so much easier with cats. However, the office looks better with a carpet. There is a lot of wood in there so I didn’t want hardwood. It gets cold so I didn’t want tile. The last carpet lasted 14 years so I’m hopeful!

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  6. I love the ice cream supper! We just had the entire inside of our house repainted and I held my breath as each room was completed. I will have to say I breathed a sigh of relief when the project was complete and the colors we selected flowed so beautifully! Prior to this we made a costly color mistake that we chose to live with for the past few years in our bedroom and the guest rooms.It is so nice to see them in a color we now love! I wish the same for you!

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    • I’ve done that too. I painted our music room the wrong shade of tan-off white. I repainted it the next day. I have a painting “routine.” First I put some on the wall. Then I start jumping around because “it’s the wrong color.” That’s because wet paint is different from dry paint. Then there is the bright blue painter’s tape that clashes so it makes the color look wrong. It’s a very stressful day until the tape is off and the color dries. If I’m lucky, it’s exactly what I chose.

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  7. Wise words, Kate! I have also found that I have become more patient with age (trust me, there was lots of room for this)! 🙂
    BTW – Ice cream is a perfectly acceptable dinner. It’s on the food guide. ‘Dairy’! (and if you get the mango, strawberry, raspberry…..kind, you can also check off ‘Fruit’!

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  8. An ice-cream supper made me smile. Wait ’til the cats get wind of the carpet project … first the floor ordeal, now this … unless they don’t get to hang out in the office? The wall-to-wall carpeting in this house was installed in 1985 and still in good shape, but it was just the two of us, and the last 9 years just me, and no pets … canaries don’t beat a path down the hall luckily. In this small house, there’s only one way to get to the other rooms, so to keep from replacing it for a long time, I may need to learn how to be like Peter Pan.

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      • I agree – the carpet here looks good. My mom wanted to tile the bathroom with the tiny tiles many years ago, but she was using a cane at that time and was afraid she’d slip on the shiny surface, so we never did. It is such an ordeal with new carpet – picking up fuzzballs from new shedding carpet for months as I recall. As bad as buying new sweat suits … you walk around the house and fuzz is everywhere!

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  9. I’m a big supporter of time apart. My husband used to travel a lot for business and I found it gave me time to watch movies he hated, listen to tunes really loud, and a dozen other things. Plus I missed him, which is good to remember.

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  10. Awh! I will be watching for the post of when you put a GPS on him. 🙂
    Ice cream dinners sound good to me! That happened when my husband was gone too. The kids loved it. LOL!
    Glad you are learning to let the little things slide, it does make life so much easier! 🙂

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  11. I love my husband but a few days being alone in our house while he is traveling sounds like heaven! I’m not even sure what I would do; probably not much different than I do anyway… but just being by myself and doing whatever I want, whenever I want (popcorn for dinner! staying up until midnight reading!) would be fabulous. Of course, after about three days, I’d start to miss him and want him home again.

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    • Aside from taking out the garbage that’s how it was here. I like being by myself although I get a lot of alone time when he’s here. He’s either in the yard, basement or music room! The difference is that I can eat (or not) anytime, anything. That’s always nice. I read a lot of books.

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  12. Honestly, Kate, I could interchange our names for this post and it would describe the rhythms in my household. Including the threat to put GPS on my husband! LOL! We go our separate ways, but we are united in our overall intentions and that makes a happy marriage, I think.Your new carpeting will be wonderful! I like your research process. 🙂

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    • Perhaps many visits to carpet places isn’t high on my list of fun but it did the trick! It is rhythms. We never get in each other’s way or sick of each other. Too many varied interests going on. Works for us.

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  13. Time brings maturity, which brings mellowing in everyone, I think. We are still passionate, but probably about different things than what inspired us when we were young. Nice to see the plus side of mellowing!

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  14. I’d want to take a lot of time deciding on something that you will live with for a long time. Had to laugh, picturing dogs smelling the samples that your cats enjoyed.

    Ice cream suppers — we have them frequently. We eat our heavy meal in the middle of the day, never with dessert. Much later at night, we won’t be hungry for healthy food and opt for a small dish of ice cream. It works for us!!!! That’s why we are so well-rounded.

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  15. Boy do I get that. After spending 18 months with countless samples of paint on the wall trying to chose the perfect paint color (irony…still don’t like what ended up painted but was so sick of the “quilt patch” of shades of color on the wall) but it’s not carpet which is a far more expensive decision to have to live with. Glad you ended up with a patient vendor. You’re right, absence can totally make a person appreciate the subtle contributions made in a household by partners. Enjoy those ice cream meals 😉

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  16. I love that you don’t let this kind of stuff bother you anymore. I know what you mean . . . some things just take time to learn. I wonder how different things would’ve been if we knew the things now when we were younger.

    When we moved in this house 2 years ago, we had to replace all the flooring. We bought bathroom tile at one store, wood (laminate) at another store, and carpet for bedrooms at yet another.

    I understand the extra chores when the hubs is gone. They really do more than we realize until they’re not around, even though it may require some nagging (at least with mine).

    I do love a good ice cream dinner. 😉

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    • My husband is a meat-potatoes-gravy type of guy so an ice cream dinner is really a treat! If I had to change something about him (which I really don’t want to) I’d want him to eat more veggies (like sweet potatoes and cabbage) and have ice cream for dinner once in a while.

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  17. All the carpet samples – reminds me of earlier years/college when it was popular to find closeouts on samples as styles changes and stitch the samples together for a casual rug – it was a cool thing once – and we were all cool, right? HAHA
    Being left behind on travel is OK sometimes. (I used to paint rooms quickly – as a surprise. Husband always is so detailed/process oriented that he’d take forever just prepping then the painting was so full of expressive complaining as he hates to paint – not to mention the it was never an express cleanup.. He finally admitted he was secretly relieved to come home and find it was done.
    (Ice cream is definitely a meal choice….calcium, you know…)

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  18. “Both of us have become less intense over the years.” Same in our household, too. I guess aging has the advantage of giving us perspective so we don’t need to freak out over something that will pass or will maybe leave a scar, but we know life goes on and there are still love and kitties ahead.

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  19. Your quote “Maybe you have to ease into it to be satisfied with where you are. There is no greener pasture. ” That rings so true with me too. It’s a gift to be able to accept the life you are walking. We can all walk around the occasional pothole but there is little advantage to the sidewalk on the other side of the road or even the one on the other side of the country. I too wish I had learned to walk the sidewalk I was on earlier. I spent so much time wishing for a different one, that I didn’t properly teach myself to navigate the one in front of me. I walked into too many potholes. 🙂

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