Now I don’t travel on the train to work like I did in Australia, I have far more podcast minutes than my ears have time to listen to. I thought painting the pantry would be a great opportunity to catch up on all my podcasts while I worked. Turned out I mostly painted in silence and with concentration which naturally lead to lots of thinking - painting can be quite a meditative task and revealed a few insights in the process.
I was surprised to realise that this has been the first project Greg and I have ever worked on together.
If you don't know, Greg is my ex-husband and we live together in what was - while the kids were younger - our family home.
It is a family home that we’ve never really done anything with or to. It’s still pretty much the same as it was when we bought it over 20 years ago except a lot worse for wear for that fact.
So it was interesting to realise that Greg and I had never worked on anything together. During the early days when we were first married - a time when most young couples redecorate and renovate their new homes - Greg’s parents were always on the scene doing just that. Painting the roof of our first house; doing the garden; fixing up the bathroom - all that kind of thing. And while they probably did it out of kindness, it never felt that way. The help seemed coloured in negativity of our (my?) abilities and judgement of our (my?) taste.
Not learning to work together stunted a very large chunk of our relationship.
To have a whole weekend without his parents hovering and taking over and criticising - they’re too old now (and quite scared of me nowadays) to visit let alone take over with DIY - I noticed how it was really nice just to work together on the small project of painting the pantry.
We collaborated and tolerated and in the end it was quite satisfying and enjoyable. It also made me realise how much we had missed by letting other people into our marriage, especially in the beginning. It set up patterns of behaviour that have coloured most of our disagreements and conflicts, and caused us (me) to ultimately decide that wasn’t a good enough situation for the rest of my life.