Part II of the TSD (Truly Shitty Day)
“I’ve been thinking about it all night,” Franck said, positively glowing with energy which given my three hours of sleep I found downright obnoxious. “And I’ve completely redesigned the renos for the house.”
I pried open another bleary eye. “How can you have thought all night? You were sleeping, I checked.”
He looked very smug. “I must have done it in my sleep.”
“What do you mean you’ve redesigned the house? We just finalized the kitchen plans yesterday, and there’s no way in hell I’m going back to IKEA again. It’s done. We agreed. We signed the quotes.” I knew the wise thing was to remain calm, but I could feel the last grains of my patience trickle into the hour glass.
Franck bounced the mattress again. “But it’s not too late to redesign it!” Like I was supposed to be happy about this….? Well, I wasn’t. I wanted things to be finalized, things to be checked off on the check-list once and for all and, quite frankly, after being treated like a sub-human at IKEA on one too many occasions over the last few weeks, I was quite certain that I would rather gnaw off my left arm (or live with an imperfectly designed house) than go back there again.
“So…what exactly do you want to change?” I ask.
“I think we should eliminate the cupboards in the kitchen and put a small table in there in it’s place-“
“BUT THAT WAS THE PLAN I ORIGINALLY DREW UP AND THAT YOU NIT-PICKED TO DEATH!!!” I had officially run out of calm.
“I guess I changed my mind.”
I roared, I yelled, I gave Franck my mind’s worth. Now, a few days later, I can see what our argument essentially boiled down to is the very different ways Franck and I have in dealing with stress.
When I’m stressed I become manically decisive. This works out most of the time, but I have been known to make mistakes, like the white tiles on my bathroom floor here in Villers (never, never again), the bad tiling job by a friend whom we should have believed when he said he wasn’t really very good at tiling, and the pink living room in Le Relais du Vieux Beaune that annoyed me so much that I had it repainted cream a mere two months after the initial paint job.
In contrast, the more stressed Franck gets, the more averse he becomes to making decisions. He himself admits that he is greatly reassured by the thought that All Options Are Still Open, whereas deciding means taking a big risk that we will be making a big (not to mention costly) mistake. To give credit where credit is due, Franck’s 11th hour redesigns have often been a boon to us – such as realizing that we could fit a nice bathroom into the dirty cellar at La Maison de la Vieille Vigne and as a consequence have a far more spacious bedroom. However, on the dawn of this particular TSD I was feeling too annoyed to acknowledge this fact.
So I stormed off to take the girls to school in Beaune, bleary eyed and with a lovely patch of stress / fatigue induced eczema below my lip. During the drive my dear daughters, with their unerring sense of timing, peppered me with questions about death, heaven, and other unanswerable metaphorical topics. When I failed to answer quickly enough Charlotte would remind me in a strident voice”MOMMY! YOU’RE NOT ANSWERING OUR QUESTIONS!”
Finally I turned around at a stoplight and snapped, “No, I’m not, and I won’t because I’m exhausted and just had a fight with Daddy and need time to think, so stop asking them.” Great, add a nice dollop of guilt about bad parenting into the mix…To be Continued