The tortoise and the hare

Steve and I have been very lucky. We’ve been married for 16 years. In that time we’ve made it through a move to (and four years in) Knoxville, Tennessee, a year in British Columbia, major career changes, the death of both my parents and his dad, divorces among family and friends. The Schoolhouse is a dream we’ve shared for years and we’re both thrilled and amazed that we are finally able to do it. But it is highlighting some differences between us.

Take painting. I am a kamikaze painter. I paint quickly. I have to tape off everything. When I’m done, there is paint everywhere, including my hair, and all over my clothes. Steve can paint trim without taping the wall. When he finishes, the paint is only where he wanted it – but it takes him four times as long.

We are the same way when it comes to decisions. I make decisions quickly, and I act on them immediately. I often make mistakes, but I move to fix those quickly too, so they don’t (usually) slow me down too much. Steve likes to think first and plan his moves. He rarely makes mistakes.

Sometimes he admires my decisiveness and speed, but sometimes he thinks I’m slapdash and trigger happy. Similarly, I find him both admirably thorough and frustratingly deliberate. I am glad I acted on my instincts and insisted on buying the sink we liked at Ikea even though we weren’t ready for it, because it is no longer available. At the same time, I am thankful that he has talked me out of a bunch of things like selling the truck  (it seemed like a good idea at the time, but we’d have had to buy another one to do this project).

During this project, the best and worst of our qualities are highlighted, for better or worse. When things are going badly, we rub each other the wrong way, but when things are going well, we complement each other pretty well. I hope we still see it this way when we’re done with this project.


  1. Beth:
    I have been searching the Internet off and on for years with regard to anything “Monte Rio”
    I am 58 years old, live in Maple Ridge, British Columbia and I was in Monte Rio 44 years ago, on a vacation with my parents. I have been searching for someone who can write back and forth about Monte Rio, maybe it’s you.
    On another note, I suspect your project is complete by now but, if your relationship can survive a renovation, it can survive anything. I should know, I have done some reno’s in the past with my wife and we have been married now for 38 years.
    Please let me know if you get this email and tell me where you lived in British Columbia.
    Thanks, Mike

    1. Mike, thanks for stopping by! We lived in Vancouver for a year, teaching at UBC. Our renovation is going well – we’re just about ready for final inspection and the landscaping comes next! -beth

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