Note: This is part two of a two-part series. Part one ran earlier today.
Problems began to arise, however, when the crew, unfamiliar with remodeling upscale homes, tried to incorporate the construction techniques they had been using since the 1980’s, but were outdated and incompatible with high end designs. After a couple days of work, the man realized that load bearing walls would have to be knocked out in order to successfully complete the remodeling that his wife desired.
Desiring nothing more than to please his wife, the man did not have the heart to tell the woman that her remodeling plans were impractical. Instead, he told the woman that he did not have the proper equipment to complete the project yet and laid down on the couch. After a while, the woman grew tired of the drop cloths and drywall laying around the house. She began to nag at the husband to finish the remodeling. The husband snapped back in a way no one had ever talked to her before. He said that she just had to trust him and give him time. She knew he loved her and didn’t really mean it.
A few weeks went by and the husband still had not gotten off the couch. She began to nag at him again. This time the husband slapped her across the face and told her that she should be happy that she’s lived in a mansion the entire time she’d been with him, where as she had to wait her whole life before her first husband had built her a mansion. The wife ran away in tears. But the next day she realized that he slapped her out of love and that he was probably right. She took solace in the fact that her first husband, while trying to build a mansion for his new wife in the next town over, was also running into major construction problems, permitting issues, and labor unrest.
A few months went by, and no progress had been made on construction. The wife began to nag at him again. This time the husband hit her, bruising her body. He told her that the type of remodeling she wanted wasn’t even in style anymore and that the house was just fine the way things were. Again she ran away in tears. However, the next day, she remembered how much her husband loved her and how wonderful he was to her when he wasn’t talking about remodeling. She remembered how he was there for her when no one else was, and began to realize that most people in town were jealous that she was still living in a mansion, even one that was only half lived in due to the remodeling.
Meanwhile, the townspeople began noticing the bruises on her body. They told her that she deserved better than that and encouraged her to leave her husband.
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The woman was distraught, and torn about what to do. On one hand, she knew her husband truly loved her, but on the other hand she knew his treatment of her was wrong. She mulled and pondered the decision for weeks, but in the end, she knew what she had known all along - she had to leave him.
It was not an easy decision for the woman to make. She cared about the man deeply and knew he would be lost without her, but she also knew she deserved better. For though she still despised the manner in which her first deceitful husband had left her, he had never struck her. The woman did not know if there existed such a man that would neither abuse nor leave her, but she was certain she would rather have no husband than one that did not treat her with the common decency she deserved.
The period following the divorce was a troublesome time for the woman. She remained in the still-under construction mansion, while her second ex-husband moved back into another middle class neighborhood with his old painting buddies. As she lived alone in the mansion, she often second guessed her decision. She wanted a man, but there seemed to be a shortage of decent single men in the town. None of her dates went well, but even if they had, she was too afraid they would treat her no better than her first two husbands to give them a chance.
After some time went by and the mansion slowly was coming to ruin, the woman was set up on a blind date with an architectural apprentice from a very small town in another part of the county. The woman went in expecting the worst, but was stunned to find this man was extraordinary. He was engaging and driven and handsome. The two fell in love and were married. The man left his apprenticeship and moved into the run down mansion with the woman.
During couple's first day in the dilapidated mansion, the woman was terrified what the man must think of her home. However, much to her surprise, the man's eyes lit up. The new suitor seemed to look past the rotting drywall, dirty rugs, and machinery strewn about and saw what he thought was a magnificent foundation, location and construction that could make magnificent once again.
Though he had never been more than an architectural apprentice, the man had vast knowledge of design and construction and was driven to prove himself as a capable architect. He at once began remodeling and within a short time the mansion was back to its initial splendor. The townspeople again looked upon the mansion with envy and the neighborhood in which the mansion was located soon became the most exclusive neighborhood in the town.
Wary of another husband leaving her, the woman actively encouraged her husband to design landscapes in the the garden and look into new additions for the mansion. The new husband appreciated these gestures and did in fact design new landscapes and additions, though he explained to his wife it was not needed for him to remain faithful.
At long last, and through many more trials and tribulations than the woman had ever expected, she had found her perfect man and lived in her perfect mansion on the hill. Though it was not the man she had originally expected, it was truly the man and life of her dreams.
As the woman grew old, she often told the tale to her grandchildren. Once, a grandchild asked if it was all worth it. The old woman gave pause and thought and then answered, "I wouldn't change a thing."
However, she explained to them the deep love her husband had for her, unlike her first husband, and how he just needed more time for the remodeling and everything would be wonderful.
Unfortunately for the woman, this did not come to pass and the physical abuse continued. It was infrequent and her husband always apologized, but the woman began to lose her confidence. She was getting older and feared the repercussions of leaving her husband. At her age, she knew it was better to be with a man that loved her than to be on her own all alone in the mansion again. Besides, she knew even with the incomplete remodeling job, she still lived in one of the nicer homes in town, in one of the six best neighborhoods.
The years passed and still no remodeling was done, and by and by other parts of the interior began to fall into disrepair. Cracked walls, leaky sinks, termites. The husband promised to fix the other problems just as soon as the remodeling was done. There was no sense in fixing the other problems if it was just going to be remodeled anyway. Making matters worse, the woman could no longer take solace in the fact that her first husband was struggling to build another mansion, as after a few years he had constructed a second identical mansion to impress the townspeople.
For a few years, the property value stayed high because the man kept the mansion freshly painted. However, after a few years, the perpetual presence of construction machinery in the yard began pushing the property value lower. Others in the neighborhood became weary of the eye sore and moved to one of the other neighborhoods, driving the property values lower.
Eventually, the property value plummeted so low the bank was forced to foreclose on the mansion and the couple was evicted. The couple was left with no where to turn but the local trailer park, which, unlike the other six neighborhoods in town, afforded no public water, sewage, or electricity. However, in the face of this adversity, the woman remained positive. She knew that as long as she had her man by her side, she would be okay.
During the appraisal for the foreclosure sale, the bank assessor was stunned to walk through the interior of the mansion. What once was the envy of all the townspeople was but now a shell of a building. Completely gutted on the inside, with irreversible architectural flaws, the bank assessor concluded that the mansion would have to be razed.
[pic via www.philhopkinsartist.com]