One of the worst decisions of our marriage was shopping for new house lighting together.
They say to build a new home you need to make around 1100 decisions and, because I’m an idiot, I decided I should save some money and contract it myself.
Erin was living in Calgary and I was living in a little town where we wanted to set up our home when we announced our marriage and my dad suggested that we build a home and start investing in our future.
Little did I know that Erin and I made decisions very differently. I had 1100 little lessons about how that works.
Making decisions with my lovely wife is like asking an entire committee their opinion about something. My first shock registered when I got off the phone with one of my trades, calmly walked over to Erin with the dozen options for the colour of ____ (can’t remember), said “We need to make a decision babe”, and waited for her reply.
And waited. And waited.
“Perhaps she didn’t hear me?” I thought. “Perhaps I wasn’t clear about the options?” I thought. “Perhaps I wasn’t clear about the timeline?” I thought.
It turns out none of my thoughts were correct.
She finally hummed and hawed and said “I CAN’T DECIDE”
Perhaps she meant she couldn’t decide right then? I thought.. Stop! We could go on for hours like this..
What she really meant was that she couldn’t decide about that EVER. It was a revelation to me.
Until that point in my life I had never said that about anything that I could recall. Decisions need to be made! Decisions don’t make themselves! Decisions are fun! And so on..
Even now there is only a two hour window open once every year where I find myself somewhat lethargic and uncaring about the outcome of something. Normally it’s trying to decide where to eat out. It’s the worst two hours of my life because, wouldn’t you know, Erin also has no opinion about it either, and then we do what people who aren’t me seem to find time to do often…. Waste time.
It never occurred to me that she doesn’t really care one way or the other. I used to think it was a game where I was expected to assume she meant the opposite of what she said (girls are tricky like that) and a sensitive husband would keep at it until he found out, but now I know the truth.
She doesn’t really care most of the time.
And I still don’t get it. Why would you go through your entire life not knowing whether you were hungry for a burger or Chinese food?
Options to me are things you throw away one by one until you have the right one. If an option is in the garbage I don’t want to keep talking to it.
Options to Erin are members of a giant committee where each one has an equal say and no one is really in charge! Now to be fair, she just wants equal opportunity for everyone to feel loved, but in this case it doesn’t really work that well because everyone never agrees on the best way to do something. EVERYONE stays at home without burgers OR Chinese food because EVERYONE shouldn’t have been invited to the party in the first place.
In my brain committee if you make one bad suggestion too many you get fired and replaced with someone who makes better suggestions. Life is a river. Get on the boat and keep moving, and for the love of heaven don’t ask for someone to go back and explain something that’s already been covered!!! Everyone around the table will roll their eyes and hit the SEAT EJECT button.
We eventually built the house and did quite well with it. The biggest surprise of all was taking Erin to the lighting store.
“I like that one!” – $4,000
“I like that one!” – $6,000
We were young, we had no money and we certainly couldn’t spend triple the budget for the entire house (this was quite a few years ago) on one fixture that physically couldn’t fit through the door. I think it was surprising because my wife is the most frugal shopper of all. To avoid conflict she finally said she should probably wait in the car with an “I don’t care, you decide:)” thrown in.
And she really didn’t.
I learned something that day. My brain doesn’t decide if it likes something until it know how much it costs. The CFO is loud and shouty and fired Things That Are Shiny a long time ago.
The only time it’s allowed back in the room is apparently at the car dealership, which might be a problem…