“The dishwasher’s stuck,” Matt said. “Something’s blocking it.”
“It’s just a really tight fit.” I stood in the basement holding the PVC pipe sticking through the floor.
“It’s really stuck. Come look.”
Idiot. I connected the wire around the frame.
“Pull it out. I have to rewire it,” I said. Nearly 7 p.m. No dinner. I was ready to combust or give up or cry. “Okay. Try again.”
“It’s still stuck.”
“Push it in straight. The linoleum is uneven so it doesn’t have any grip on the back.”
Matt pushed at the bottom with his feet. He pushed from his stomach while I stood by his feet to give leverage.
“Mary, it’s stuck. Did you check the hose?”
Crap. “We’re crushing the hose against the side of the sink. Pull it out.” Three stores to find the right hose. Now it was flattened. Finally reattached, I bent the PVC pipe in the basement to get it through the hole.
“Try turning on the water,” Matt said.
Splat in the face. I jumped.
“Turn it off, turn it off!”
Whatever. We give up. We’ll do this later. Between building a new cabinet side and finding the right hose, we’d been working on this dishwasher for weeks.
“We need to try something different,” Matt had said again that morning. “We’re fighting constantly about this house.”
“Are we gonna learn to mature through hard times, or just give up?” I asked.
“I’m unnaturally, hair-trigger irritable,” we told my parents.
“Do you want to write more?” Mom asked. “Do you think that contributes to your irritability.”
Of course. House repairs chain me to drudgery for the foreseeable future. “But that’s selfish,” I said.
“Mary, I like working on the house,” Matt said.
“I don’t. I didn’t want a fixer upper.”
“You’re just a martyr,” Mom said.
“Let me work on the house while you write,” Matt said.
I stared at the floor. That’s so lazy. I can’t make Matt do all the work, or even more than half. But it sounded like freedom.
Matt got up to go to the gym before work. “I’m gonna work on the house in the evenings this week while you write.”
So guiltily I wrote. Matt renovated and went to the gym smiling, motivated. All I did was write and say, “Do whatever you think, babe. You got this.”
The drive to finish so I could have my life back disappeared. My obligation to be unselfish, to do the right thing was killing Matt’s passion.