The Decision Making Process
Figuring out Who Is Boss
The most difficult aspect of building an addition can be deciding just what it is that you want to add on to your house. Its difficulty lies not in conception or planning, rather it is in determining WHOSE concepts and plans are to be used. Resources, after all, are limited as are time and space; and democratic compromise will result in a drastic mistake that no one really wants to see implemented. As such things have a momentum all their own, you could find yourself contemplating such incongruous living spaces as a nursery with a wet bar or a combination garage-sewing room-library. (I especially frown on the latter - it is too easy to mistake my wife's sewing projects for rags.)
I have a simple solution for this problem: before beginning, choose one person to make all the decisions on your project. This will preclude argument and create a happy work environment.
Picking a leader does not need to be a difficult process. In pre-Columbian America, some tribes chose a leader by lashing the two most eligible candidates together at their left wrists and putting a knife in their right hands. Whoever was NOT dragged away from this contest was the new leader. This method tended to discourage a large number of candidates and gave the leader's dictates a certain moral force. That we live in a gentler age should not keep us from harking back to our native roots. Thus, I suggest a similar mode of elevation to family chieftain: arm wrestling. It has a dramatic effect, yet the loser does not normally require hospitalization (unless it is for a blown blood vessel in the forehead). If you are the man of the house (presuming you did not marry an Amazon jungle woman capable of carrying you up a flight of stairs in a gesture of passion and rage) arm wrestling probably gives you a better than even chance of emerging as the leader.
Unfortunately, a man may find that his better half is not sensitive to native rites and is disinclined to go along with this tame throwback to ancient times. Such protest is un-American, and you should not hesitate to point out: "If God wanted women to make decisions, he wouldn't have created pre-Columbian Indians."
Confronted with this obvious and irrefutable fact, a woman will invariably hint at divorce; ignore her. It's just a bluff.
On the remote chance she does carry out her threat to move back with her parents, I have found flowers, candy and abject apologies will usually get her back. If not, you may have to resort to extreme measures: jewelry comes to mind. After all, you are going to need her help to put up drywall, nail boards, and pour cement. As she performs these functions, refrain from saying, "Wow, Darling, I see that you are good for more than just one thing." This may result in a repeat of the candy, flowers and jewelry routine.
Having said all this, I must admit that implementation of the arm wrestling strategy was not altogether successful with my own wife. It has an inherent flaw when applied to Robin. Though she does not have a strong right arm, and I beat her easily in our arm wrestling match (I even let her use two hands), she was quick with the ol' tear ducts. When I bent over her to lend a modicum of comfort and perhaps gloat just a bit, she came out of her corner with a vicious left hook that would have laid George Forman low. The resultant black eye meant that she got to look through the transit, and I had to hold the stick. (I will explain transits later.) It just goes to show you: the little woman might have one up on me when it comes to strategy. After this experience, I decided that the described contest was not the final word on the matter.
In the end, we evolved a unique decision making process: she tells me the way she thinks something should be done, then I proceed to do it the way I want and present her with a fait accompli. For those of you who have not studied Latin, fait accompli means - a reason to have an argument.