Daily Archives: March 12, 2013

how does he do it?

Someone asked me today what my husband’s background is – as in, where did he learn how to do all this stuff that he does?  That seemed like an interesting jumping off point, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to tell you a little more about him by creating my own question and answer session with myself.  I agree that it’s a little dorky, but it’s the format that works best for me when it’s past 10:30 on a Monday night.  So here goes.

Where did you meet your husband?
M and I met in graduate school – studying architecture.  He was actually working towards two Masters degrees, the other one is in Construction Management.  We only overlapped in school one semester – my first, his last.  We were in the same studio, and hit it off as great friends.  He moved to a far away city (Minneapolis) to intern as a requirement for his CM degree, and we continued to chat on the phone (pre-cell phone / unlimited long distance days) and so we tried our best to save our pennies by writing letters.  Real letters.  I have an enormous stack of letters he wrote; one in particular was the reason I married him.  (It also happens to be the first one he wrote me.)  Eventually he moved back to this city where we first met, and we never left.

Where did he learn how to do everything that he does around the house? 
I think it’s probably a combination of several things.  I’m sure he inherited some of his mechanical nature – he’s no stranger to how things work or how to fix things when they don’t.  He also worked some summer jobs during school in construction – which meant a lot more hard labor than fine tuning a skill set – but still, he knows his way around tools.  He’s obviously had some exposure through school as well – with advanced degrees in architecture and engineering, plus he always held down a part time job in the architecture school’s workshop.  He’s artistic and organized and more than a tiny bit particular about things, and he’s naturally geared towards thinking through the process of building and constructing.
But I think the real reason he’s been able to do the things that he’s done on this house (just about everything) is that he just does it.  He reads up on it, he sketches things out, he makes lists, sometimes he draws it up on the computer, he borrows or rents or buys the right tools for the job, and then he does it.  If it doesn’t work the first time, then he does it again, and never repeats the same mistake.  

How old is he?
He’d probably prefer that I not say, but I will mention that he’s approaching a certain milestone this year.  You can count the candles on the cake this August.

How tall is he?
Very.  Six-and-a-half feet tall.  So the super tall ceilings in our house are perfect.  He has a tremendous wing span, which means he can stand on a regular chair and reach almost everything.  It’s really handy, because I’m exactly one foot shorter.  He’s also very strong and actually lifted our new couch out of the truck by himself and got it to the bottom of the entry stairs on his own.  This is also really handy, but I think sometimes he forgets that I’m so very, very not strong and I end up dropping my end of the couch on my face on the stairs.

What is the most amazing thing he’s done related to the epic house project?
This is a hard one.  The front mansard restoration is a hard one to top.  I never get tired of looking at those photos.  F’s room recap is coming up too – and that’s another massive construction project.  But even the smaller rooms, like the laundry room – when I think back to the changes we made in there – all the plumbing and wiring and cabinet re-building etc. I’m just amazed that he did it all himself.  We didn’t even think about calling anyone in to do it.  It’s like it doesn’t cross our minds anymore.  (The new roof and tuckpointing this fall were entirely different animals, of course.  We have our limits – and our day jobs.)

What was the lowest moment?

Maybe he’ll drop a comment and identify his personal low moment on the house.  If I had to pick one I’d say it was the Sunday night when he just refused to stop working up in the attic.  It was so late, and we had been working all weekend long, and he was prying up the nasty old floor boards so that he could install a new subfloor.  He had worked himself back into the corner of E’s room, right above our bedroom.  He was balancing on the now-exposed floor joists, pulling up the last piece and he slipped and his giant work boot came crashing through the ceiling below.  There’s nothing worse than cleaning up dust and insulation and nasty attic crap from your bedroom just a few short hours before it’s time to start the work week again.  I was just glad he didn’t come through the ceiling.

Does your husband read your blog?
Yes, everyday.  He’s my number one fan.  And he occasionally reminds me (like yesterday when I was lamenting the fact that my bathroom floors were such a mess) that he had actually cleaned them while I was at work on a Sunday.  I often get into the office in the morning and sit down at my computer and the first email I read is from him and sounds something like this:  
Hi – hope the morning went well with the girls.  They looked so cute, crashed out in their beds before I left.  We’re going to run by the grocery and get some more milk after I pick up E from Acting Club.  I think you meant “than” instead of “then” in your post today.  Have a great day.  Love, M
And right there, he’s got me.  Greeting / moment of reflection on how much we love our girls / an errand he’s going to run that I don’t have to / pointing out typos because he knows I hate them so.  I quickly log in to make the change.  Nothing worse than a then/than slip up.  Except maybe a to/too slip up.  Ugh, the worst.

Any final thoughts?

I’m his number one fan too.