Saturday, January 30, 2010

Agree to disagree 10+ years and running

Years ago we rented a old house that was surrounded by a concrete yard. We only had a front grass area that was maybe the size of a small pool.  Our back porch had some post about 4 ft from each other. One day I decided to string up some wire so I could hang up some towels to dry. When my boyfriend (not married just yet) came home, he wasn't happy about it. I explained to him how this could save us a little money by hanging them to dry but all I got was a funny look on his face.  So he explained to me it wont save us much money, looks really bad, and I used his stereo wire that was super expensive so my saving money idea really ended up costing us. This was the beginning of our green life.

Over the years we (I mean me) made more and more good green decisions in our life. From planning our wedding, buying our new home, to planning our lives. We decided on a small wedding which meant that I would have to get a part time job at a craft store so I could get a discount and make most of our wedding decorations. We bought our home within biking distance and also near a park so we could walk the kids there to play.  And now we own 4 duplex's which we will sell later so we can put money aside for the kids college funds.

I would not say its a battle but sometimes I think he thinks i'm a whack job. I get the strangest faces from him when he walks in on me and my newest challenges.  When he came home and I dug up our backyard to make a garden, he didn't say anything. Although he hated our fence system I had in place because it was ugly. I agree but it was the only way to keep our dog from eating our vegetables. He also didnt like the plastic pool that I cut the center out and planted my cucumbers in. Hey, it had a hole in it and it kept my cucumbers from traveling all over the garden. When he came home from work and saw the drying racks in the back yard with all our clothes on them, he did not like how it looked but said nothing because our neighbors could not see it. But it bothered him. The one thing that didn't bother him was our energy bill that went down that month because of me putting them outside to dry.
My husband is a good man and does many things to make our impact on this earth a little lighter. It was his idea to buy our VW Jetta which gets 45+ miles per gallon. His idea to buy our house where we live now so he can ride his bike to work. His idea find a house with a fireplace so we could save on our energy bill.  His idea to buy our dinning set on Craigs list and sell our old one. He also his idea to take the head chairs from our old set and make them match our new set. Lots and lots of sanding and painting. Also his idea to replace our old fence that has fallen down and reclaim all the wood to use in our fireplace. I am proud of him for trying. Proud of him for supporting my ethics. Proud of him period.
One amazing move we made together was buying this home. Our last home was almost new, twice the size of our first home,  had an amazing kitchen, huge tub, huge rooms, and everything that comes with a home. But we were miserable. We lived 45 minutes away from civilization. My husband would have to travel there everyday to work costing us over $300 a month in gas.  We never really felt at home. My children did not like the schools, we didn't like the school system.  Yes from the outside our home looked amazing and we looked happy. But really we were not. So at the worst time (late 2008 when houses weren't selling) we decided to make a huge move. We sold our house and lost about $20,000 from it. We threw in about $6,000 in updates to make this house shine above the rest. There were several houses for sale on our street.  For 2 months we kept that house spotless! And the couple who looked our home was a builder.  When he saw that we replaced the door hinges along with all the door hardware, he was sold.  He knew we went the extra mile for this home. he was happy to get a good home, we were happy to be the only home sold on the block and to get out of that town.

 My husband found a house within biking distance to his work that was expensive but really old. This home had good bones but was in need of updating. It was also half the size of our newly build home but larger than our first home.  We checked out the neighbors, schools, and zoning papers. This house had everything we wanted. Huge back yard check, future garden area check, play structure check, big garage check, on a cult-a-sack check, and lots of room for much much more. The moment we walked in we knew we were home.

You see two people can be very different but be the same. I am very out going and granola at heart. He is very private and handy in many ways. Its really true, opposites really do attract. One thing we do have in common is the way we live our life. We talk about every decision made. We think about how it will impact our footsteps here on earth. You see its not all about the money we save. Yes it's a nice bonus but not the key figure in this. Sometimes he thinks I go too far, and usually I don't think I go far enough. But over the years we have become one mind. We agree to disagree and it goes both ways. This is what makes us so good together.

So if your reading this and you have a significant other who just will not budge, there is hope. But you have to remember to think about their side of the story too. Its all about compromise.  Okay you can hang your clothes to dry but you have to allow me to do such and such. Its all about sacrifice and passion.  Making these two things work will help you along the way. Don't give up hope and always remember to have our next generation in sight with any decisions you make. As long as you both have this one thing in common, everything will be fine.

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