Alberta Deals with Conflict

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by Jay Zenner on October 28, 2009

Alberta helps me out with questions occasionally with her unique point of view – Jay)

Dear Alberta…my husband and I are finally ready to buy a new home. We’ve been driving around looking at neighborhoods and we can’t seem to agree on anything. We’ve been camping out in his dumpy old townhouse since before we got married and it was never an issue because we knew we would  be getting our own place together. But now, I’m beginning to think he just wants to duplicate his “man cave”…but bigger. Is this what marriage is all about?

Oh Sweetie… Do you have a lot to learn! Men are animals.  For men a home is a roof over their heads. Until they’re domesticated a little bit they just don’t care what your mother or your girlfriend thinks about him or how he lives. That’s why they need us so much. Homes aren’t just shelter. They tell the world who you are and what kind of person you are.

You can chop liver on an old beat up formica countertop  just as well as granite but..eeuu…it says you’re still living in the sixties. Here are some little tips from old Aunt Alberta that will bring him around without faking a headache every night…which is no fun for anyone including you, my dear.

Most men are really as ditzy as a drunk kitten but they think they’re logical. Use this internet thingy to box him in on a few of the more important niceties.  Mr. Z here has one of the more interesting ways to search for a home right here on the website.

It might remind you at first of the directions your dad used to try to put together your bicycle that Christmas when you were 10 years old…you know…the ones that were a bad translation from the Japanese.

Have him rate how important different things are…you know, like close to good schools. Of course, he’s going to say “Oh, very important dear!” even though it had never occurred to him til you brought it up. Or a bedroom on another floor for your mother’s visits.

Think it through, darling, and plan it carefully. Before you know it he’ll be thinking about home buying like the domestic partner you knew he could be and not a frat house refugee.

Believe me Hon, it’s easier to move him a little bit on each feature than demand the house of your dreams right away.  Talk sweetly and guide him gently in the right direction and the search results you want will pop up at the top of the list. And the best part is he’ll think it’s all because he was so logical about it.

Once you have a some good choices grab Mr. Z and go see a few of the top ten. Oh, that Leno guy is so funny…or is it Letterman? Who cares!

Now that you’ve got your guy thinking about it he’ll play the game and…best of all…he’ll believe he really wants that double oven in turquoise.

But keep and open mind! Mr. Z will tell you that “buyers are liars.”  Not on purpose, of course, but no matter how careful they are. most people don’t know what they really want until they see it.

All of a sudden they can ignore sagging floors and leaky pipes and the cars on cinder blocks in the next yard and fall in love with a home. Mr. Z will tell you, a couple will walk across a threshold, look each other in the eyes and know that this is where they want to have kids. It’s magic, but it happens all the time.

Last but not least…if your guy is bringing home at least half the dough…or even less…let him have a man cave. Maybe it’s a basement or the garage or a bonus room or a den, but let him do what he wants with it.

It will drive you nuts for a while but get over it. There will be times…believe me honey, I know…when you will hope he doesn’t come out of that cave for days.  Everybody needs a little space.

And don’t fret. Shop for your home carefully but but go with your heart and if it doesn’t work out, just remember, houses are easier to change than husbands and not nearly as expensive.

Yours Truly, Alberta

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