Finally, we own property in New Hampshire. We listed our Delaware house for top dollar and had three offers above asking price within hours. The new house plan has been customized to our exact liking and all the permits and contracts are in place.  It will be absolutely beautiful. I wish I could say there is relief.

Why are we still fighting all the time? Simple things are impossible. We were supposed to go out to dinner for our 19th wedding anniversary a couple days early, since our anniversary was on Monday, when we couldn’t be together. It didn’t happen for a variety of reasons and agreed we would go out to a nice dinner the following Saturday night, when Lou would be in Andover. We drove to the property to check on the progress of clearing the long driveway to the build site. Afterward, Lou wanted to go to the Bedford Weathervane for dinner. We always go to the Weathervane, and he always eats the same meal. It’s not a bad restaurant, but I wasn’t into it because: (1) it is just about on par with a seafood version of Denny’s; (2) I am so sick of eating there every single time; and (3) we were supposed to go someplace nice to celebrate our anniversary. He wanted to know why I hesitated when he suggested that we stop at the Weathervane. I reminded him that we planned to go to a steakhouse for our belated anniversary dinner. He got frustrated and said he really didn’t want to go through all that trouble for dinner, and that the Weathervane would be easier. Anjelica heard the discussion from the backseat and chimed in that she was really tired of always eating at the Weathervane and agreed that we should go someplace else. This did not go over well. I imagine he felt like we were ganging up on him because he totally flipped out, banging his palm over and again on the steering wheel, yelling that everything is such a f**king pain in the ass, and that he just wants to sit down for a decent dinner without everyone complaining. Of course, he pulled into the Weathervane lot. I didn’t bring up our anniversary again. He had never acknowledged it other than to blow off my plans both weekends.

That was not the end of it. After dinner, he moved on to what a total cluster-f**k the whole build situation is. There had been some clearing at the site of some small trees and bushes along where they laid the utility lines. You would think they had clear-cut the entire woods around our house. I agreed that there would need to be some plantings to regenerate growth. Lou grew more and more enraged to the point of ranting and raving in the car. I tried to calm him down and assure him that everything would work out fine, and that our builder would take care of it when he got back from vacation. But Lou felt that this was just the first minor step in the project and that if it was so royally f**ked up already, imagine what will happen for the rest of the build. The more I tried to calm him, the more upset he got. He screamed at me to hand over my cell phone so he could call to cancel the entire project. I refused to give him the phone and he screeched the car to a halt on the side of the road and tried to grab the phone from me. If Anjelica hadn’t been in the backseat, I would have gotten out of the car and slammed the door. I never did relinquish the phone, and he eventually cooled off a bit when I said that if we are going to terminate a binding contract, we should consult with a lawyer.

In the heat of the argument and fight for the phone, I had made the point that the contract was in my name alone, and that I would suffer the legal consequences if we backed out. That did not fly well. Luckily, I remembered advice Bruce recently gave after hearing me lament our situation. He relayed that he knows Lou’s type well, and that the problem is that Lou perceives me as one of the enemies, rather than as his ally in this process. To have him not turn against me, I should first react to things the same way he does, even if I don’t agree. Then, he may possibly be able to listen to reason or an approach I had to offer. But, if I don’t first get upset at the same things, then I will always make the situation worse. It was hard to remember this guidance in the face of his ocean of rage. I just wanted the waves of his fury to stop crashing in on me; I certainly didn’t want to dive in with him. Once my brain recalled Bruce’s strategy, I changed course, and instead of arguing why it was wrong to back out of the contract, I suggested that we do our homework and make sure we do it in a way to protect ourselves. I had no intention of backing out. I just wanted to buy time until he calmed down, which took a while. We fought some more in the hotel that night, and he frankly dared me to ever bring up again the fact that the property and house contract were in my name. Bruce’s advice was dead right. I acted as if I agreed with Lou, and then he did what I wanted to do after all. We met with the builder, designed a plan to repair the property and did not cancel the contract.

I’ve received good insight from Alan as well. From his perspective, he believes the changes are coming way too fast for Lou, and that I need to take everything slowly to give him a chance to get comfortable step by step of the way. It’s been almost eight months since we decided to make this move. He should be used to the idea by now, but every single step has been a struggle as fierce as a resistant final walk to the electric chair.

I thought I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, but now I’m pretty sure it is just an oncoming train.