Being fifty-something means I’m always looking for learning opportunities. Always.
Mr P and I have been married for thirty-something years and I’m still learning about what we have in common. And what we don’t.
Last weekend we shared a repaving project to even up the pavers in the alcove between our front gate and newly-laid footpath, which the council levelled about two inches above its previous height. (The retired barrister in our family had pointed out the tripping hazard and our liability should a visitor or passerby fall victim to our dangerous alcove.)
This is just the sort of project that highlights our differences. Again, I’ve confirmed that any shared project that ends without us having killed one another or headed off to the divorce lawyers is a successful one. In the spirit of my earlier post about Venus and Mars going property hunting, here are some of my observations on our paving venture.
Mr P may have not have been a boy scout but he sure is a prepper. He insists on having every tool we could possibly need on site before we start (to avoid unnecessary trips to the shed).
Even though I was a Brownie in my formative years, I prefer to grab only the first tool I need and then source them individually, as needed and as we make progress (to avoid unnecessary trips to the shed).
Mr P is process-oriented. Before we begin, he prefers to plan out the entire process chronologically (yes, he ALWAYS reads ALL the instructions before using anything new, too), from removing existing pavers to finally sweeping a balanced mixed of cement dust and sand into the cracks once we’re done.
I am more concerned with results, so I work the process backwards in my head (beginning with the end in mind). No, I NEVER read the full instructions before I switch on a new appliance. I believe they include “the least you need to know” and “getting started fast” instructions for people just like myself.
Mr P is a company man: “If we work hard, we could get this finished by 5.30.”
I’m a union gal: “Let’s stop for a cuppa after this row. I’ll work much better after a break.”
Mr P is super-good at communicating what he needs in terms of materials, tools or support (not).
I am ultra-intuitive about just “knowing” what Mr P needs without him having to tell me (not).
Mr P is a hands-on bloke (with mechanical training). If it doesn’t fit, he’ll make it fit. When the last paver in a row doesn’t quite slip into place, he takes to it with a hammer and chisel, and makes it fit.
I see paving as a giant jigsaw puzzle … all those slightly different pieces came out of there so they’ll all go back in. Somehow. I embrace their nuances and tiny variations. When the last paver in the row doesn’t quite fit, I try another paver, or another one, or another one … until it does fit (just like doing the jigsaw’s tricky sky bit).
Mr P is safety conscious. He starts the afternoon in steel-capped boots, safety goggles, leather gloves, high-visibility vest and an awesome tradie butt crack display.
I’m more fashion conscious (we’re working on a busy public street afterall). It’s not until half-way through, and after several near misses, that I change out my Birkenstocks and manicured nails for heavy shoes and protective gloves. Not one centimetre of my butt crack sees the light of day, but I do finish up with a nasty sunburnt neck.
Mr P is a lone achiever. Once our project is done, he surveys the work and declares: “Paving like a boss.”
In contrast, I do a happy dance, high-five him enthusiastically and declare: “Paving like a couple of bosses. I’ll put the kettle on.”