Sunday, August 19, 2012

It is so… eclectic.

She said.

And not in a good way. In my memory, her face was slightly upturned and her nose crinkled. There were no other witnesses, so I stand by the description.

Yep, I said.

And there we were, standing on my deck disagreeing but not being disagreeable. She was the landscape architect and I am the homeowner.

I like things that go together, but I don’t like matching. She clearly was a fan of manufactured coordination.

I seek the thrill of finding something close to what I want and working with it to make it close to my dream. She invested in perfect.

I enjoy a bit of whimsy. She was a bit more buttoned up.

I swoon at dashes of random. She would look the other way.

This wasn’t going well. She was looking the other way. Not hearing me. Not hearing how Michael and I live, and how we wanted to live.

She wasn’t mean. She wasn’t unpleasant. But, I wanted her to leave just the same. I didn’t care that she owed us seven more hours. She was stealing the potential that I see every day just by being here. She didn’t see what I saw and she wasn’t going to.

She was supposed to be our prize. We won her expertise in a silent auction. In the name of philanthropy and a pretty good deal, we won not just one session with a landscape architect, but two. 

We actually didn’t mean to win both last year. We signed up for one two hour session and then ran across another for five hours. We knew we needed the additional help, and thought someone would outbid us on the first. Nope. We ended up with both and were actually giddy at the idea of seven hours of expert consultation.

And then she arrived. And then it went bad. First she told me that we just had to have a front deck on our house so that we could drink coffee in the morning before work. I smiled. Then replied, we actually like the back of the house much more. More privacy, more grass, no street, and oh, Michael won’t drink coffee. Ever. Unless it has Bailey’s or something like that (OK. I didn’t really say that last part, but I thought it.).

We then got to the back of the house and the deck with the unfortunate “eclectic” comment.

We went inside to see how the inside relates to the outside. This is when the gloves came off, well, mine. She still had the plastered smile on her face. She was convinced we needed to “just move a wall to have a walk in closet.” I responded, we have moved walls, to have more livable space and a walk in closet is “just not a priority for me.”

Silence, but for too brief a moment. She did not listen to what I said and continued with…

Then, when you move that wall, you can have a terrific walk in closet, blah, blah, blah. Well, I said with more force this time, we have a small home. A walk in closet is just not something that we want.

Walk in closet, blah, blah, blah.

No. We will not have a walk in closet. Not ever. Not in this house. I don’t want one.

Silence. Stare. Look away.

We headed back outside. But not before she commented on my mason jars.

They are for canning, I explained. Canning, she questioned.

Yes, we have a garden and then I just gave up. I didn’t want to tell her why I canned and why gardening was important to me. I didn’t want to explain why I didn’t want to sit in my front yard and have coffee with Michael, have a deck with matching pots and have a ginormous closet that was bigger than my bedroom.

But then something pretty amazing happened.

She also knew that we weren’t connecting. At all. She took a moment, digested the entire time we were together and suggested that she send someone else from her office. Someone who could help us make a plan that we could build upon.

Yes, I said. That sounds lovely. That was the first thing that we really agreed on. She left happy, and I was happy she left.