CH and I have been in major negotiations over the past two months over my box. Specifically, my window box.
Current Husband, a 40-something man in Iowa, likes the Sci-Fi channel, Fox News. CH enjoys surfing the Internet on his iPad, weekend naps, and not getting caught in the rain. CH is anti-yard, plantings, or windowboxes. "They're too much work and it's going to rip the siding off of the side of the house."
Julie the Wife, a 40-something woman in Iowa, likes HGTV, live music, and reading. Julie enjoys hostas with porn names ("Don't Touch My Junk" is the next hosta on her list), pinot grigio in the summer, Jane Austen, and windowboxes. "They are so pretty and add cottage charm."
I'm outside in the front yard, looking at the house, glass of wine in hand, contemplative look on face. CH sees me and yells from window, "What are you thinking about doing NOW?!?" I pause. I normally don't like to let him in on my plans until they are fully formed and halfway executed. "I think we need a big windowbox on the front of the house. Like the ones we saw in Martha's Vineyard, with the big, trailing flowers." I hear a large sigh of exasperation. "We don't need a big windowbox. It will tear the front off of the house." At this point, I know he is not on board yet. I take measurements.
About a month later, we're in Home Depot getting a few items, and I leave him and go to the lumber aisle. I select three boards and take them to the cutting table, where CH finds me. "What are you doing?" he asks. "I'm getting the lumber cut for the windowbox," I explain. "So you're sure you want these cut to 110" each?" the sawing guy asks, dubiously. "Yes." CH gets a little red about the face, which is sort of his natural state because he's Irish, so it's hard sometimes to tell if he's mad, sunburned, or just breathing. "I thought we weren't doing the windowbox...that's...that's...110" is nearly 12 feet!"
Well, duh. The windows are nearly 12 feet long. My wonderful cottagey windowbox must span the entire window if it's going to be in a magazine. I just shrug at CH, because our voices are being drowned out by the sound of the tablesaw cutting into my non-returnable lumber. "I'm not having anything to do with this thing," CH mutters while shaking his head. "It's going to ruin our house." No, it will make it look like it's on the Eastern seaboard. You're welcome.
Two days later, I'm in the garage pre-drilling the holes in the lumber, which is set up on sawhorses. CH wanders in and surveys my work. "Your ends aren't matching."
I prime and paint The Windowbox That Is Not Going On The House. CH is getting increasingly nervous. "How are you putting this thing up? I'm not kidding, it's going to rip off our siding." I make a bargain with CH. I will call the contractor who did our basement, and ask him to find the studs on the wall so I know I'm putting everything on properly. CH agrees to my terms. I call the contractor. He's really busy, it's going to be a while. CH leaves town for two days. I have a drill and I know how to use it.
My neighbors come outside drinking beer and look at my project, and they both advise me to wait for the contractor. "You'll rip the siding off," they say. My friend, who is normally a terrific enabler, drops off her daughter to play with Youngest Daughter, and says, "Don't do it Julie. You're going to rip the siding off. Wait for the contractor." Shit. Waiting is NOT my strong suit. And I have two days to get the thing up before CH is home and able to tell me no. I drink a glass of wine and think about it. Then I drink another. And then I decide that I am really good with power tools, and because my dad was a bricklayer I know my stuff, I move forward.
Apparently the Universe was also nervous about my plan (She'll rip the siding off), and just as I was getting the extension cord out, I got a text from the contractor. Even though he was in a big hurry, he could squeeze me in between jobs. He stopped by, and couldn't find the studs under the aluminum siding. He drilled a bunch of holes, nothing. He was getting nervous, I was getting nervous, he was getting texts from other jobs saying, "Where are you?" and finally, maybe TOO conveniently, he found all four studs and then left in a hurry.
I then drilled twelve holes in the front of my house. They are not small holes. Out of twelve holes, only one of them came out with wood shavings. I started to get a little nervous. My neighbor checked in again, and I told him only one hole had wood. "That's not good," he said, and backed away from me nervously. I had just ruined our house, and CH would be home in about two hours. Could anyone quickly come over and re-side our house? No. No, they couldn't. The only way to cover them up was with a windowbox. I screwed in twelve 3" bolts, and to my intense relief, they seemed to catch into what was probably a stud.
Once those potato vines and wave petunias go crazy? Total cottage charm. CH pulled up from his trip to Ames, got out of the car, stood on the sidewalk for a second and then started smiling and shaking his head. He got his suitcase and walked past me into the house, saying, "Nice windowbox."
I'm going to put this one in the victory column.