Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Wallpapered Bathroom Test

When I was about three or four, my parents decided to remodel and wallpaper the (tiny) bathroom in our house. I remember them joking several times growing up that they knew their marriage could survive anything because they had wallpapered the bathroom together. I’ve never wallpapered a bathroom (or any room), but I can imagine a bathroom with all of the fixtures and tight spaces would be a pain. They still bring it up sometimes, and it’s been almost thirty years.

When I was younger, I didn’t really think much of the wallpapering test of a relationship, but then Andrew and I found ourselves in GIS (geographic information system) class together and I realized that this was our wallpapered bathroom. Back in graduate school, we happened to take the class at the same time, and to save money, we shared a book. Because the computer lab was only open certain hours, it made sense for us to sit at computers next to each other with the book in the middle and do our assignments (which involved making maps and analyzing data) at the same time. The computer lab in the old architecture and planning building (the only place with GIS installed on the computers!) was literally 90+ degrees, and I could only last about 30 minutes before I would get sick from the heat so time was crunched. And there he was next to me, clicking up a storm, zipping through his homework and waiting for me to complete the steps so he could turn the page. He was impatient with me; I was impatient with the software. I was also stressed and rushed (and usually on the verge of puking because I was so hot). In addition to the repressing heat, this computer lab was particularly charming in that the servers often crashed, data was routinely lost and the program was finicky on all of the machines. It only took a couple of weeks into the semester to realize that if we could survive GIS class together, we could survive anything.

After about four years of not needing to use GIS, I am now making several maps at my new job. I open up ArcMap almost every day so I often think back on that class and how we survived it still speaking together. Just like my parents and their wallpapered bathroom, we laugh about it now, but man were we miserable back then.

So, what’s your wallpapered bathroom?


  1. Hanging sheetrock.

    ...Possibly giving directions in a busy city...

  2. ah, yes, sheetrock... we had to hang some at the cabin this summer. We also had to hang T1-11 up there this year, and it was a little dicey since we were hanging it on the second story without a proper ladder and I could barely hold up the sheets for Andrew to screw in.

  3. The two most testing situations we've had are:
    - long term travel on a shoestring budget
    - buying our first house and having a major earthquake happen in the middle of the settlement (!)

    Both were stressful, but luckily also mostly positive.

  4. 1. Going through Montessori training together. We had to commute together 1.5 hours a day, we sat next to each other all day at the training, and our house only had one air-conditioning unit in our bedroom.

    2. Wedding planning

  5. Repainting an ENTIRE rental house in a week before our stuff arrived. It has lime green ceilings, pink hallways, and dark blue walls, among other things. It was unlivable without some paint and it was so much work.

    Also, like Sara, wedding planning. Even though we kept it simple it was stressful. But the end result was the favorite day of my life and the start of a great marriage!

  6. Thanks for sharing your stories! Reading these is reminding me of lots of other "tests" we've had over the years and survived.


Hey, thank you!

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