March Madness: A lesson in expectation versus reality

Covid is still present in our lives. Late last week, though, I noticed a small change, a glimmer of hope so-to-speak. My parents-in-law and mother are in line to get their second vaccine shot, I felt the warmth of the sun on the back of my neck when I went out for a short walk, and, between the depressing news of the day, I saw that the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament was getting ready to kick off.

Yes, Jesus, there is hope. 

I thought I might finally get the mental health break that I needed. I’m not a huge college basketball fan, but I still like to follow the Men’s and Women’s tournaments and enjoy a good Cinderella story, you know what I mean, some tiny college that no one has ever heard of taking down one of basketball’s well-financed behemoths.

Bad planning

When I finished up my work day on Friday, I ran to our living room to turn on the early game and start my weekend. When I walked down the steps, I tripped over two buckets of paint sitting on the floor.  Now I’m a smart enough guy, I have a couple of college degrees and like to think I’ve got a good head on my shoulder, but at that moment, I finally started putting two and two together. “No, not this weekend? We’re not still painting are we?”

My wife had been talking about finishing up a major painting project that we had undertaken earlier in the month. We had already completed three other rooms and we had one more to go, but surely with the nice Spring weather and the NCAA tournament kicking off, she would change her mind, right? It just made sense to change plans, right?

I should probably explain that my wife was gung-ho about painting, because I had been pushing to complete the DIY project. In retrospect, my prodding and pushing the previous week bordered on complaining. I knew deep down that we were planning to paint, but when I saw the weather and the games on TV, I completely forgot.

To further complicate matters, I didn’t communicate my thoughts. I didn’t raise the idea of taking a weekend off as a suggestion. I just assumed that since others things were now a priority for me, she would naturally understand. Yes, yes, we all know what happens when you assume! Nice job communicating, Brian.

Back to reality

I turned on the game and forgot about the painting for a few minutes. Of course, my wife didn’t read my mind and had an altogether different plan in mind. TV? Forget about it. When she got home from running an errand, she was on a mission to finish the work. I was now a stumbling block standing in her way. However, she knew how tired I was and gave me the option to sit the work out. I may be forgetful, but I’m not a heal, that didn’t seem very fair to me.

A classic problem in any relationship – whether in business or home – what we expect versus reality. When I saw the start of the NCAA Tournament, I assumed I would spend the the weekend propped up on the couch catching up on some rest and zoning-out watching college basketball. In reality, I needed to tackle a chore that was on both of our “To Do” lists.

Yes, I did the right thing, I put the craziness of the NCAA’s March Madness aside for my wife’s new version of March Madness. We spent the weekend moving furniture, taping and painting, re-painting, and finally restoring the room. I woke Monday to a sore back and a bruised ankle (don’t ask, I’m a natural klutz), but I can’t complain. I still managed to catch many of the exciting finishes over the weekend. Cinderella is alive and well. (I even managed to catch up on the news headlines and the NCAA’s apology for the disparities in how it handled preparations for the men’s and women’s tournaments.)

In addition, my wife and I got done much sooner than I ever expected and our bedroom looks awesome. I’m writing this, looking around the room, amazed at what a little difference a change in color and scenery can make, and, most important, we laughed, we talked, and we got to share a special moment together. 

Bring on the March Madness!

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