The day you move into a new home is exciting. Unending opportunities abound. The blank canvas is empty, waiting for you to fill it with furniture, decor, and memories.
In our case, we had some minor renovations to complete on that sunny, prairie-sky day in 2009.
First on the list: Creating an art studio space for my wife. Thanks to support from my father, we moved a 10-foot section of wall in our basement to accommodate a space that takes up roughly a quarter of the entire footprint of our lower level.
The sun was setting as I flew down the A1 in northern France in my grey cactus.
I had left work in The Netherlands two and a half hours earlier that Friday several years ago. In that time, I had driven across Belgium in my rented Citroën Cactus, apparently a popular model of car in Europe.
Despite the prickly car model, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Ghent were all in my rearview mirror. I continued to cruise down the highway in my little hatchback with the same glorious song repeating itself every 3 minutes and 48 seconds.
My wife is driven nuts when I listen to the same song repeatedly for hours, but I make no apologies because it helps me focus. Plus, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with hearing an enjoyable song 42 times on the same drive. Right?
“I’ve got a job,” my artist wife said, rushing into the living room of our fourth-floor walk-up apartment shortly after our honeymoon and long before the days of her established art business.
I know, I thought. You’ve been working customer service at the local department store in our suburban mall for over a year.
“A new job,” she continued, after my bewildered look betrayed my thoughts. “It’s gonna be awesome.”
“Oh really?” I asked. “Where?”
“DeSerres,” she said.
“You know what we need? A compound mitre saw,” my artist wife told me a couple years after moving into our suburban bungalow.
I paused, wondering if this was some type of trap.
She’s giving me permission to go buy a power tool, I thought. What’s the catch?
This required a delicate conversation to make sure no bubbles would burst. One mis-step might cost me a wife-approved power tool.