Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kitchen Counter Opinions

Recently I have been enduring an altercation concerning the alteration of our home. Laurie has been saving dimes and dollars for the past ten years to remodel our kitchen. My wife has to be one of the most patient human beings on the planet; having, for 22 years, suffered through a mind-bending, emotionally stressful relationship with a man from the far side of Mars.

Navajo Silver & Coral Bracelet by Tommy Jackson
Navajo Silver & Coral Bracelet by Tommy Jackson

Laurie loves to cook and keep a nice home. She claims it helps maintain her sanity, so an antiquated kitchen would no longer do. For 17 years this woman has tolerated a cramped cooking area which was built in the 1940s. This part of the house is complete with peeling lanoleum, a semi-functional stove top and reverberating refrigerator. Forty year old flickering fixtures light our evening meals, and cracked and creaking cupboards houses our canned goods and dish ware. We are the dishwasher. My opinion was, "Hey we have a decent place, let's buy another Navajo rug or basket." For some reason Laurie believes investing in a kitchen is more essential. I figured we could achieve Hozho by investing in Navajo art.

After witnessing what I perceived to be an outrageous emotional reaction, I gallantly acquiesce to her wishes. Recently Laurie began to see the light at the end of her turbulent tunnel; the much desired end-result of years of frugality was at hand. The necessary funds had been saved and a new, gleaming food service area was at hand. Then, just as Laurie reached her financial goal, the economy took a header; it tanked like a torpedoed battleship and sank like a rock.

Even though Laurie had conscientiously scrimped, saved and done without for such a long time in anticipation of getting her wish, I considered counseling her to pull the financial plug. I thought it might be wise to hunker down and ride out the economic storm. I was verging on a culinary catastrophe. As usual, I began to over-think the dilemma. Laurie was willing to put-off the remodel and do without for awhile longer if I thought it necessary. Our buddy Mr. O'bama, however, continued to advise the American people to stimulate the economy by spending their hard earned cash. As my father says, "Yah, but its my money!" I was at a loss which way to turn.

Recently I read an article on that stated,/ "A new study in the journal Neuron shows when people hold an opinion differing from others in a group, their brains produce an error signal. A zone of the brain popularly called the "oops area" becomes extra active, while the "reward area" slows down, making us think we are too different."/

Caught in a carnival of economic bumper cars, I was radically bouncing off the "oops area" and cleanly missing the "reward area". Confusion reined! Then one morning clarity struck like a flash of lightning. Steve and I were polishing glass at the trading post and discussing life as we know it. I explained my remodel dilemma and vented about being house broken. Being the sensitive type, Steve empathized with my pain, then shook his head and said, "Man if I were you I would let that woman have her kitchen. Because of her you are not and never will be in debt. Let her have it!" For the first time ever, Steve was right. I was amazed! It is always easier to see the truth unencumbered by emotion.

Because of the downturn in housing starts we were able to secure one of the best builders in southern Utah. Milan is an excellent contractor and, as it turns out, a pretty good mediator as well. One of our customers explained something to me long ago that makes a great deal of sense in my current situation. He said, "Men are hunters, women are gatherers." Boy was he right, at least in the case of Laurie and me. I wanted to go out, get some kitchen stuff and "get 'er done!" Laurie, on the other hand was in the "gatherer" mode. The woman was driving me mad. She was motivated to select each and every item with the utmost care and diligence. I was given me the opportunity to accompany her, find the gadget and bring it safely home. Her comment was, "This should satisfy your blood lust". It didn't.

In the midst of this madness, our daughter McKale woke up the other morning in a sweat, complaining of monsters chasing her through a dark and tangled forest in an attempt to devour her toes. She was visibly shaken, and understandably upset about loosing appendages. I told her there was really nothing to fear, the dream was not real. The true concern, I counseled, was adult dreams based in reality; visions of multitudes of aggressive sales people pursuing me through volumes of consumer reports, warranties and rebates in an attempt to sell me cabinets, counter tops, tile and appliances while the unstable walls of economic security come tumbling in on me. Now that is really scary stuff!

It is said that if a couple can manage the stress of building a house or remodeling a kitchen, they can survive anything. I believe this statement to be true. To be perfectly honest, I nearly failed the test. I fussed, fumed and fought the entire time. Laurie tolerated my wild mood swings and angst at going against my better judgment, and somehow we survived; I am still alive.

Yesterday I excitedly told Laurie about an incredible coral/overlay bracelet by Navajo artist Tommy Jackson and argued we should hoard it away for immediate gratification and future appreciation. Laurie's brunette locks bobbed as she shook her head from side-to-side. She looked at me knowingly with those endearing sage green eyes and gently informed me of plans for a . . . sprinkler system.

With Warm Regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team.

Copyright 2009 Twin Rocks Trading Post.

No comments: