Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Home Improvement Stores

Man, I love home improvement stores, but they seriously lose their luster when you find yourself in one repetedly for an unplanned issue.  Once in a while, sure... I'm having a good time, looking at light fixtures, dreaming of a fully sodded backyard.  But as often as we've been going, bleh.

Misleading blog title though.  This has very little to do with home improvement stores and a lot to do with relationship advice. Some of you may be thinking I'm not the best person to be giving it... but you don't get to 32 without being married to the wrong person by accident.  It takes self control and planning.

New Guy and I are in the throws of a bathroom remodel.  An unexpected bathroom remodel to be more specific. Anyone who has ever played the DIY game can tell you that with each increased degree of difficulty in the project, the likelihood of an argument increases tenfold... and ladies and gentlemen... New Guy and I are down to the studs with exposed plumbing.

So, on Sunday, we found ourselves... yet again... at Lowe's.  I love lists, so I made one.  It was neatly written on six sheets of paper.  That was not a mistype. Six. Sheets. Of. Paper. I blame the meth, but that's another story.

With a photo of just the portion of the list I needed on this particular visit, I headed off to flooring while New Guy looked at Christmas gift tool sets.  About fifteen minutes later, I couldn't push the cart without bracing my foot against the lower rack and kicking off.  I'm telling on myself just a smidge if you take a close look at the list... you will realize just how nice New Guy is that he didn't comment on the last few items of section 1.  But for the sake of the story.. the list...

Sixty five 6x24 tiles and four hundred and thirteen 3x6 tiles later, we were ready to leave... the tile aisle to look at bathtubs. One bathtub on top of the massive pile-o-stuff and we were finally off to the checkout.

(The advice is coming... get ready.)

New Guy and I are what I like to refer to a middle America power couple. Engineering degree, MBA, both with great jobs with benefits, two Subarus in the driveway, solid income, NO KIDS.  Does this make the sting of an impromptu pre-Christmas bathroom remodel lessen?  Yes.  Does it make it go away?  Not a chance. Close your eyes and imagine the beeping of the cash register and envision the total creeping up, up, up...

"Your total is..."  Seriously, no one needs to know this.  I'll give you the full run down when we are done.

So we split the bill.  Yes, it's advice time. New Guy and I are both more than capable of paying for the trip to Lowe's alone.  But this is OUR bathroom in OUR home.  So, we split the cost.  We will both end up spending more as we pull together the remaining pieces.  But, no one had to take a massive hit on Sunday. Did we have a discussion at the register? Nope.  Because we OPENLY DISCUSS OUR FINANCES already.  There wasn't a need to add to the stress of the day with a conversation, because in our home, it's an ongoing conversation.  Where are we financially?  Where are we going?  How are we going to get there... together?

So there it is.  Be open about money.  Simple enough, but so many couples fail in this area.  We talk about kids and where we want to live, what season a wedding should be in and whether we will buy a cat.  But, so many couples skip the dollars and cents. You can't live on love alone.  Not in America.  You need groceries, water, shelter, etc. That takes money, so plan openly with the person you want to spend you life sharing expenses with.

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