Monday, March 17, 2008

The Saga of the Garage or What Happens When You Are NOT Nice

We all have our quirks, that cannot be denied. What follows is the story of our quirks colliding--in our garage. Before I get emotional, allow me to lay out the facts as I see them:
-Bill's parents moved to Maui (from Illinois) several years ago and gave Bill items they weren't interested in taking by boat to the island including several pieces of old furniture
-Bill has many fond childhood memories and has preserved many keepsakes that he enjoys seeing from time to time
-Bill is passionate about reducing waste and sees usefulness in almost everything
-We live in a house that is less than 1300 square feet
-I operate a home based business that includes an extensive inventory that I need quick access to
-Bill just accepted a job that will allow him to work from home but requires me to move out of the office and into the garage where all of Bill's keepsakes and furniture were being stored

I had patiently assisted with moving Bill's keepsakes and other items from one location to another for years and allowed our garage to accumulate items literally to the rafters up until he accepted his new job. That was the tipping point for the pile. Bill agreed and started to diligently work on making space in the garage for me. After more than a week of work, I came home to an open garage door and saw this. It almost makes me cry just to look at this. This was what I was expected to move my business into. This was AFTER he had removed things and spent HOURS working on it.

I almost had a nervous breakdown. An over-reaction on my part? When you own a web store, you can get orders for 10 items in 1 second or you can get no orders all day. I am not in control of my business and my event sales start in a few weeks which are a major time commitment and I wasn't ready on any level. I was trying to explain to Bill that I needed more than 1/2 of the garage but Bill adamantly told me that he would NOT get rid of several items and that he would NOT rent a storage unit and that he wanted some space in the garage to setup his bike trainer and a TV. End of discussion. I felt like I was getting walked on (to put it nicely). So where did and I end up?

Basically I threw down. Hard. By "throw down" I mean I picked a seriously big fight and said get your stuff out of the garage by Saturday or you will not like what happens next. For the record, that is not a nice way to handle things. The only thing that stopped it from getting worse was Bill disclosed to me that there is an attic space in the garage and he installed flooring and moved several items into the attic. I had never heard about the attic prior that so it was a great relief. Next he got rid of some things by taking them to a local furniture share and Goodwill. He dismantled several moving boxes he had been using to store things and we put some items in XXL Glad Ziploc bags which store well but take up less space. Then he moved whatever remaining items he could up against one wall and took up about 1/4 of the total garage space with his stuff.

Then we went to Costco and lucked into these steel shelving units ($50/ea) some industrial carpeting ($22/ea) several new clear plastic totes ($7/ea) and a label maker ($50). Our problems were basically solved. I need another space heater and another lamp since it is still cold and dark in the windowless garage. Bill also has space for his bike trainer and TV. So I am happy and so is Bill. What is the problem then?

The problem is realizing how you treat people on the way to getting what you want. The problem is saying, "This is the way it is!" or "Do this or else!" and that is exactly what we did to each other. It was ugly. I think we both take responsibility for how we acted and realize that it did not need to go down that way. It was a painful lesson and I'm still upset about it. We are two strong personalities and typically get along nicely but wooooo ho! We have territory issues. And personality quirks. I think we can all move on now and enjoy the space we've created together and in the end, it was probably better that it happened so we could work it out but I think we both have regrets and regret is something I take seriously. I will dwell on this for a while so I can stop it before it starts again next time.

I am still really in need of some fun. I'm working on a strawberry daiquiri get together tomorrow with friends so that will be a good start!