Lots of things have been buzzing here around Hotel Baker. Coming home from tour is usually a real pain in the ass for me, and it’s more than just putting the breaks on after being go-go-go on the road. I hated the stagnant state my home was in. We have almost everything we need to finish the living room remodel we started over 3 years ago, multiple bikes in the garage that need to be road ready, and not just the 2 that Dan owns, an old ’67 Ford Ranch Wagon that was rusting in front of the house, and so on and so on. Many unfinished projects. I was frustrated. I’m a super motivated person. I don’t take drugs, I’m just naturally spun. I’ll spend hours, sometimes days on a project until it’s finished if I can see how everything clicks together. If I’m not moving, I’m not happy. I know many don’t exactly share my motivational levels, and it’s cool, as long as progress is being made.
Moving along…we’ve had the wagon almost since we first got together. Dan brought it home back when we were still apartment living in Federal Way. We had rebuilt the engine together at a friend’s house, and had it on the road for awhile, but it’s still an old car. The road readiness was short lived, and from that moment on it kind of moved from place to place, never really getting worked on. I’m stoked that’s it’s finally running better than it had since we first got it, but now I’m getting ahead of myself.
Women, you don’t have to nag your men. That’s the point I’m trying to make here. They say the sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. I’ve been nagging and bitching about the state of the car and garage for years. Dan is slow to action. We’re almost complete opposites in every respect. I’m go-go-go, he’s “let’s stop and rest awhile”. I thrive on the sunshine, he prefers a dark cave, and when it comes to people, I’m fine being a focal point of attention, and he prefers to hide away in the shadows, the background. Unfortunately slow to action also means not getting the things he really wants in life at times. He needs a push.
And it’s hard, really hard finding that balance, when you’re supposed to push your significant other, and when you should chill and let them do whatever it is they are going to do. Sometimes, all you need is to listen and pay attention. Granted, this comes from both sides. If both people aren’t working on being better to each other, then it’s hard to find a leg to stand on. (Let’s not get anything crossed here, I am the asshole in this relationship, and I always have been. If you sat us down in separate rooms, I’m sure he could tell you way more about me than I could about him. I spent 90% of our relationship still trying to find the way out through the bottom of a bottle, and like most alcoholics, I was pretty fuckin’ self absorbed.)
Moving forward, this trip home has been different, part of me isn’t ready to leave for another tour, because there’s so much stuff in progress that we’ve both been catching up on, and I’m finding I really enjoy being in a relationship a lot more than I hate it. I count myself pretty fortunate that I didn’t have to lose it to see what I’ve had all this time.
The car is running, and quite well. He still needs a few things here and there, but it’s now getting to a place where there’s more cosmetic issues than mechanical ones.
The kickstand mount for the ’57 Iron Head he’s been “working” on for the last 15 years or so is made and mounted in the same day even, and it’s actually looking like a bike!
I also finally bought a fan for the bathroom, and installed it to combat the mold that’s been growing since we first bought the house in September of ’08, and put some forward momentum into some much needed maintenance on Steve.
Everything is stuff we’ve been capable of accomplishing for a few years, but somehow never got around to it. Seriously, the fan costs 13 bucks at Home Depot. So why the sudden burst of energy? Why the change?
1. Nagging doesn’t work
2. Pay attention
4. Lead by example
It helps to have some initiative, and to actual care about the needs of your partner. My quitting smoking last October has done wonders to our bank account (we’re not rich by any means, but even if I tried to budget it in to our current income, I couldn’t tell you how the fuck I managed to afford my habit), and not spending money on alcohol has helped immensely as well. Still, not drinking and not smoking isn’t the key factor, it helps with the finances, but motivation comes from focus. Where does your focus lie? My focus was in getting the fuck away from home, because I hated the stagnant environment, but at the same time, I wasn’t exactly helping to improve it. Seriously, I’m home a week or two a month, which is usually spent prepping for the next adventure, and working a lot. Then I can’t wait to get back on the road, and get away from my house. It’s really hard to convince your significant other it’s not them, it’s you when the moment you’re home, you can’t wait to leave.
So I’ve been focusing on making my home a place I want to hang out in. Hate the fan? Fix it. Hate watching the cars fall apart? Repair them. Get off your lazy ass, and just fucking do it. Sounds easy enough? Once I started putting things into forward motion and started showing I cared through my actions, Dan was quick to pick up the slack. Seriously, all it took to get the car washed up was grabbing the soap, dragging out the house, and finding a bucket. I didn’t even really get a chance to actually wash the Wagon, because Dan and Justin (my brother) took over. So I just kinda stood their with the hose in my hand and rinsed when they’d let me. As far as his bike goes, instead of my general “I really wish you’d put your fucking bike together instead of letting that $1500 frame rust in the garage.” I went with, “So hey babe, what’s the next step with your bike, and what do you need to accomplish the task?” The answer was time. After 15 years or so of collecting parts, he has most of what he needs, so now it’s just time.
This took some sacrifice on my part, but sometimes love is sacrifice. Instead of going camping, or making music together (two of the ideas I suggested on how he spend his vacation this week-things he would’ve enjoyed, but still things that were more what I wanted to do), I asked him how he’d feel if we just stayed home so he could work on his bike. The response on his face was a lot happier than camping or driving down to Eugene for a week. He’s spent the last 2 days in the garage, and every time I saw him, his mood never changed from anything less than pleasant. A happy baby makes me happy. 🙂
It’s all on your approach, and taking initiative. Even the car made progress because I went and swapped out the tire while he was at work.
Generally, I’m so wrapped up in what I’m doing, busy being a workaholic with my ever growing list of projects, that I don’t really focus a whole lot on Dan and his needs. He’s also not the type of person to tell me, “Hey, I need this from you.” I usually feel like I’m playing a guessing game, trying to sort out why he’s so down. So if we’re going to make this work and lasting, I have to be more willing to pay attention to the vibes he’s throwing out, and ask the right questions without being a nagging bitch.
I’ve also been telling people to fuck off when they bring him extra projects lately, something he won’t do because he doesn’t want to come off as an asshole, and he hates confrontation. I used to get really pissed off that he wouldn’t stand up for himself, but it is what it is, and I don’t mind being a bitch if it’s going to lead to him getting what he wants out of life. He’s a really nice guy, he always has been, and it’s hard for him to say no to people, even when he doesn’t like them or what they want to eat up his time with. I guess I’m realizing everyone needs to be protected from something. For Dan, he needs a voice to speak up on his behalf just as much as I need a solid foundation to counteract my crazy, and in this we find balance. I’m sure he doesn’t like dealing with my emotional baggage anymore than I like being the asshole on his behalf, but love doesn’t mean you like everything, it just means you accept it and find ways to work together to keep you both entertained.
I told him the other day that I’m really sorry for being such a jerk all these years, and I’m glad he stuck with me regardless. I also told him I’m gonna work really hard at making the rest of our lives a lot more enjoyable. I don’t have to worry about him, because he’s always done more than his fair share of the work. He hugged me really tight for a long while and told me he loved me.
If it’s good, it’s worth fighting for. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to have found someone so amazing that loves me for who I am with all the baggage included, and was willing to stick it out through a 7 year storm of frustration and confusion. Relationships take so much work, but it’s good. Good like the sound of a tired engine turning over in success, good like finger memory taking over on the fret board, good like the first sunny day after 8 months of grey.
My brain keeps going back to Don Juan, the Johnny Depp version. Not really into chick flicks, but I’ve always loved that movie. It has nothing to do with Johnny Depp, it’s his therapist and how the relationship with his wife changes after meeting Johnny’s character.
The scene that keeps standing out in my mind is when she’s outside gardening, and he asks her about the dreams she wanted to achieve that were forgotten while he was busy chasing his life. Every time I think of that scene, I think of myself in Marlon Brando’s role, and I get a little sad. I’m crying as I type this blog. But at the same time, I’m happy knowing that I’m grasping this concept at 29, and not when I’m old and retired. I really hope we have a long life ahead of us, to continue enjoying one another’s company. I am completely, head over heals, a woman in love with the most amazing person I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.
I went digging around YouTube, and found the scene I’m talking about, it still makes me cry. If you’re unfamiliar, it picks up at 4:59 in this clip.
All in all, it wasn’t really the plan to write about how much I love Dan, it was more going to be a topic about motivation and where it stems from, but I write what is generally at the top of my brain, allowing my fingers to hit the keys as it goes. Love takes time, it takes patience, it takes work. The key is finding someone your willing to continually put effort into, to fight for, to depend on, to trust, and then from there you just ride the waves as they come, doing whatever you can to keep the connection strong. Be pro-active in life, be pro-active in love, change the things you hate about yourself and your surroundings one step at a time. Find something worth living for, and care about something outside of yourself. Give into your dreams and your passions, but don’t forget about the people who matter the most.