Saturday, September 01, 2007

In which I prove that I am a delicate little flower of tact and diplomacy

So, we’ve got a lot of work to be done around the Den. And I have been looking at our huge, disgusting backyard with growing dismay for some time now.

See, we have all these wild plans to do things ourselves. Oh, we say, we know exactly what we want to do over here and there and here we’ll put a thing and then we’ll do another thing over here and it will be gorgeous.

And then, somehow, it doesn’t work out as planned.

My husband has been stubbornly insisting that we just need someone to come do the concrete. For a fraction of the cost, he insists, of getting a landscaper to do it. No, no landscaper. He knows, yes he knows exactly what he wants to do back there.

He has A Vision!

He has A Plan!

He knows precisely what he wants to put where, and no man knoweth better than him and BESIDES ALL THAT, he is fully capable of handling it Himself, Thank. You!

More and more, I’ve been standing there with my coffee looking at the vast wilderness back there and saying, “Noooooo, I think we need to hire Mr. Expensive Landscape Guy to come and fix this.”

But I had to find a gentle, tactful way to approach the subject. Because, you know, you don’t just walk up to a guy and say, “Look, you suck and I want to hire somebody else to do this.”

That would be rude. And unkind. Lacking in both tact and diplomacy.

So this morning I broached the subject gently.

“Honey,” I said carefully. “I know how you feel about Mr. Expensive Landscape Guy, but I’ve been asking around town [which, by the way, I have – obsessively] and he is the best spoken-of guy out there. His work is phenomenal and everybody he has done work for is extremely happy with the results.”

As expected, the husband was less than receptive to the idea of letting some other guy (especially an expensive some other guy) come in and pimp his gig.

“Eh, but we don’t need him. He’s expensive because he’s a landscape engineer. We don’t need that, we know exactly what we want, we just need a concrete guy to come do it!” he rejoined.

OK. Deep breath, Tama. Tact, and diplomacy. Carefully thought out words. What’s wanted here is to ease Himself into the idea that what we’re talking about may be a bit beyond our abilities to bring to fruition. Gently…gently…

“Sweetie, have you noticed that every time we say we know exactly what we want and what would look good out there…it ends up looking like complete ass?”

Just call me Madame Tact and Diplomacy.

When he got done laughing (a better word would probably be ‘guffawing’) and finished wiping his eyes and saying, “Oh…Christ…you’re so right”, I gently suggested that maybe, to avoid the whole thing looking like complete ass yet again, we should think about having Mr. Expensive Landscape Guy come out and actually do the backyard. And parts of the front as well.

I’d like the area that currently looks as though it was first bombed, then razed, then jumped up and down upon by a herd of diarrheic rabbits, and then neglected for six hundred years to become an ‘adult retreat’, with a little meditation area and maybe a small pond. I’d like the grass to be green. And yes, I’d like the sidewalks finished and the playground to have fiber between their bodies and the hard-packed clay, and then I’d like a gazebo around the new spa (the husband still doesn’t know about that part, because being as I am the Master of Tact, I do not drop too many expenses onto his head at once).

But he’s onboard! YAY! Yessir, Tact and Diplomacy triumphs again!! BOOYAH! I’m getting Mr. Expensive Landscape Guy to come out and help me design and implement a bitchin’ backyard!! I’m so excited! I’m downright thrilled! I can’t wait to be sippin’ my jasmine tea in my little Buddhist-inspired retreat on my new patio while the little ones frolic in their Improved Playground!!

…wait…how much is this going to cost me?!?!

(Thus begins Phase II, in which I prove that I am a ball of financial neurosis…)


Amy Lane said...

hee hee hee...


I know how that goes...

Yarnhog said...

HAHAHA! We used to do it all ourselves, but my husband is at the "Can't we just hire someone to do this?" stage, and I graciously concede. Good luck with the renovations. (There's nothing I love better than sitting in the family room with a cup of tea and some knitting, watching while other people do a job that I know would have taken me eons and strained every muscle I have. You'll see.)

Kris said...

Always make it seem like it was their idea to begin with;)

Science PhD Mom said...

My mother's side of the family is missing a "tact" gene. Glad to see I'm not the only one who has something quite bald-faced coming out of her mouth at regular intervals. Hey, you got the job done!