The amazing story of two 40-something women on the path to matrimonial bliss

It just keeps getting better...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pre-Wedding Partner Projects

There are those couples who are excellent at doing projects together...and then there are those who couldn't work together peacefully to stamp and mail a letter--Teri and I are somewhere in the middle (and it fluctuates depending on the project, our moods and our blood sugar levels.)  Still, I believe that we are getting better at projects--or, perhaps, we are more aware of our styles, triggers and when we are more likely to be collaborative.

With the pending Wedding on the horizon, we have had plenty of practice at partner projects.  While there have been some divide-and-conquer projects, decisions and elements (ones where we each flew solo for the bulk of it), some of our best projects have been ones we've done together.

Yesterday, we finally completed our compost area project.  I have always been an open-air compost person.  I tend to garden on such a scale that a three-sided structure works well and every house I've lived in as an adult (not including apartments) has had a compost pile. When we wandered through the sad, but promising yard here when we were on our house quest, I noticed the overstuffed, abandoned and non-functioning compost structure and vowed to bring it back to life.  It didn't take much and we've been able to build all our veggie beds and build up other areas of the garden using almost exclusively our own compost.  All this said, it has not been without its challenges...

Trying to keep critters out of the open bin--particularly the neighbor's dog--has been an ongoing issue.  Dealt with by an unwieldy collection of wire fencing, posts and other barriers. When we had our dog, Lola, she would wiggle or leap in and since she had a stomach of steel and we figured crunching potato peels and licking egg shells was not going to kill her, it was not a major concern to us.  We were almost always outside with her and we'd just hoist her out before she could get into too much trouble.  The neighbor's dog is larger and often unsupervised and Teri and I have tried to be receptive and responsive and have spent the entire time we've been in this house responding to concerns about the compost.  Having the open air bin wrapped with so many barriers made it almost nonfunctional--tough to get in to dump scraps and clippings, unwieldy to turn and aerate, and, as Lucy pointed out, an eye-sore.  So, we put our heads together and did some research and decided to create a solution that was decent-looking and functional (and not-too-expensive since we paid for the whole project ourselves.) Debate, discussion, measurements, and tool-searching ensued.

What we created or built is a wood and lattice hinged gate at the front (hinges on one side and hook closures on the other) and a one-foot lattice edging all around the three other sides of the top. We should now be able to simply swing open the gate to remove compost and to get in and aerate it and the open middle top should make for easy additions.  While we did have several laughs during the building process, we also had several of the bossy-let's-do-it-my-way moments.  I sawed, Teri measured; I hammered, Teri measured--in then end, Teri hung the gate front and finished it by herself while I was off running an errand (I think she was tired of collaborative problem-solving).

Is it perfect?  Well, no, not quite.  Will there still be concerns from the neighbor?  Likely.  But we are generally proud of ourselves.  It was our shared project from start to finish.  Knowing that we can collaborate is important to both of us and while we might not always do it completely smoothly and without debate and conflict--there is a special sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing you've done something as part of a team.

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