The Navy Uses Spacers

*Bumping* some reader favorites from the last year

Home improvement therapy


Last week I talked about readjusting after homecoming.  You have to communicate, work as a team and to seek help when needed. What I didn’t tell you is that my husband and I have found the perfect therapist!  Her name is “home improvements”.  She is high priced and we always spend more time than we think we are going to need on any subject matter.

I have decided that every couple young or experienced should have to do home improvement projects together before getting married. I figure that the divorce rate will plummet and in return your chance of staying married would be at least 90%. That is, if you make it through the project. This stuff will bring out the *real you* in a matter of hours, not years.  There is no covering up the truth when you are in your worst clothes, no make up, covered in sweat, paint, saw dust, grout, thin set, and in your 20th + hour of labor intensive work. Your work ethics and patience’s are revealed.  You would learn about each others listening skills and if you are demanding or a control freak.  You can even find out if you have similar taste in decor!  I know, it’s genius! 

I’ll never forget our last home improvement project. The husband arrived home from work to find me in our guest bathroom painting in one of his old “poopie suites”.  As he walked into the room, his eyes lit up and that smirky look came across his face. He jokingly says, “Hello wife”!  I giggle and remind him that he will never look at the coveralls the same. I had to threaten him with a paintbrush loaded with caramel brown paint just to keep him from throwing me over his shoulder.

But, just a few hours later he isn’t even speaking to me. And forget eye contact.  He could feel my glares with his back turned.  What happen to his longing looks, his teasing comments and my giggles?  Apparently they were left at Lowes on one of the five or more trips we made that day.

I bet you’re wondering how a couple still so in love can go from flirting comments to quiet glares?!  It’s simple . . .”Spacers”. The small little plastic like things you buy to keep your tile spaced perfectly.  These little things almost caused WWIII in our house. I guess I should back track just a little.

It all started when I wanted to update our guest bath.  Really it’s our children’s bath and I wanted to make it suitable for guest.  This and the fact that our house is only a few years old baffled my practical husband.  He would look at it and see a bathroom.  I looked at it and saw a really ugly bathroom.  I then brought up the “equity” that bathrooms can bring and he was on board.  I took down the old mirror and the husband had fun demoing the vanity and toilet.  I filled holes, sanded, and painted.  We found a beautiful vanity, sink, and mirror.  The only thing left was to lay the tile.  No biggie, right?  We had both laid tile, just never together.  “This will be fast and easy”, I thought to myself.  Oh, I was so, so very wrong.

First we made so many trips to Lowes that the employees were probably laughing at us.  We ran into one issue after another.  Finally, we were mixing thin set and laying the tile as the sun went down.  The husband asks, “Where are the spacers?” We forgot them.  I told him that I could “eye it” and we didn’t need to run to Lowes AGAIN.  He insists on having the spacers.  I glance at the clock and see that it is 6:12PM.  I tell him that it is Sunday and Lowes probably closed at 6pm.  Besides, I already had the thin set mixed.

The Husband replies, “I’ll just go and see.”  “Why not call first?” I said.  “No, I’ll just go and see. It will take me longer to call.”  Me: ?? Looking at him as if he’s nuts. He leaves and is back within 10 minutes . . . empty-handed and says, “They are closed”. I just keep quiet, shaking my head. I knew he probably just needed a minute out of the house.

So here I am eyeing the tile and my husband remarks, “WE NEED SPACERS!!”  He is getting agitated. I say that it looks great and we will be fine, it’s a small bathroom and I have all the tiles marked. I was using a brick pattern and just lined up my center marks.  My husband then goes on how he can’t do this without the spacers.  I think how I am not going to go through this again the next day and quietly keep going. I giggle at his excitement and tell him life doesn’t always have spacers available, sometimes you just have to eye it!  His mind is crunching numbers and trying to figure out a formula to make sure every tile is perfect.  I just keep going.  He is really mad.

I can see it is freaking him out and try to rationalize it with him.  “I’m sure you do things without spacers all the time at work, don’t you ever have to just eye something?” I ask.  My husband replies in his I’m angry military tone “WE ALWAYS HAVE SPACERS”!!!

Wow.  I was kneeling on the floor and fell over laughing.  He then realized what he said and just shook his head.  It’s amazing the amount of stress that came from a $2 bag of spacers.  The only good thing that has come out of this is that we know we can work together, but the question is, should we?

So, there you have it.  The Navy uses spacers. And I am going to wait until the husband leaves before taking on any more projects.

I suggest if you want to find out everything about your significant other, do a few home improvement projects together.  Just be willing to seek marriage counseling afterwards. And if you already know it will be WWIII, pay for someone else to do it and consider it equity in your marriage!

Marie Hobson

“Anything But Dependent”

Milspouse Columnist

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