Well, actually it's a "keezer," a contraption home brewers make from freezers to keep kegs of beer cool and carbonated. In all honesty, I was pretty relieved when my dad and the Mister built this thing. Up until we had the keezer, we were bottling our beer instead of kegging it, and bottling beer is a long and tedious task. And you don't always get a consistent finished product when bottling - achieving the correct amount of carbonation is harder when relying on the yeast and sugar to take care of the process itself in a bottle as opposed to easily being able to pump the right amount of carbonation into a keg.
However, I wasn't thrilled with the idea of a large freezer taking up residence in our living room. Since we purchased our home, I've caught the interior decorating bug, and I take the appearance of our home way too seriously. At first, my vote was for the keezer either going in Chris's office or out in the garage. But the more I thought about it sitting on the white carpet in the office with the potential of condensation and leaks, it didn't seem worth the risk to hide it in there. And I hated the thought of guests having to walk outside to the garage no matter what the weather to get a drink, not to mention the heat or cold could make it harder to maintain the beer at the right temperature. Plus there's also the risk of the tubes inside the keezer freezing in the winter. So, I caved and allowed the living room to be its home.
I was surprised to find out that I actually don't hate the addition. It does crowd the wall a little bit, but I dressed it up with a few plants, and the Mister stained some nice wood really beautifully for the collar. Not to mention I get to color on it since he painted it with chalkboard paint! The whole kegerator in the living room thing has grown on me - it's different. And it got me thinking that the keezer is a great example of the fact marriage is all about compromise.
Not that I think I'm an expert on marriage by any stretch of the imagination... we are closing in on our second wedding anniversary (which is hard to believe), but there are lots of couples who have been married muchhh longer than that, including both of our parents and grandparents. But I do think that I've learned a little.
For starters, I think it's important for couples to share interests, like our home brewing. Chris did a lot of research while he was deployed on home brewing and came home ready to dive head first into it. At first I wasn't sure about making our own beer, but I thought it was important to show interest in it since it meant so much to him, and I ended up really enjoying it. Now we both have become "beer snobs" and fantasize about opening our own brewery when we hit the jackpot. On the same note, Chris tends to give me free reign when it comes to decorating the house, but he's found that he really enjoys shopping around for antique furniture and fun items to suit our taste with me. And he does love the finished product and that both of our styles are represented in the house. Home brewing is not a cheap hobby, but we both agree on how much to spend and when to invest to keep supporting our beer fun. In the same way, when I'm salivating over the new couch I want from West Elm, Chris doesn't tell me "no way," but we talk about how we can ask for gift cards for our birthdays and Christmas to make my sofa dreams a reality. : )
Of course, I don't think couples should do EVERYTHING together, even though it does seem Chris and I are that way at times. I don't plan to ever invest myself in a video game hobby, nor do I ever expect him to join me at the yoga studio. But we do take the time together to lift weights in the evenings (at least we did pre-pregnancy), another interest of his I've picked up, and we really do treat it as our opportunity to be together and catch up on each other's days while finding the time to exercise.
We compromise in other ways, too - mainly regarding time management and relaxing. Chris leaves for work around five in the morning and doesn't return home (on a good night) until six or so in the evening (that's a 13 hour work day!). Whereas I only work part time and most of my world revolves around our house and our home life when I'm not at work. So, it's easy for me to want him to help me with things here as soon as he returns home at night and during our free time on the weekends. I'm the type who becomes obsessed with getting tasks done as soon as possible, as soon as the idea crosses my mind - this ranges from little things like taking the trash out to bigger tasks like planting our vegetable garden. But Chris obviously needs time to decompress in the evenings and would prefer to relax on the weekends since his work weeks are so taxing. So, I have to be understanding and remember that although I may have been focusing on rearranging furniture all day, Chris needs to have a moment to himself and do things on his own terms. Likewise, sometimes he has to capitulate and do something as soon as I ask (like last night when he had to spray for ants as soon as he got home from work because I was about to have a breakdown due to the rogue fire ants finding their way in from the backyard).
I've found that those little things are how we show our love and commitment - not in grand gestures, but in him spraying for fire ants when he's dog tired, or me staying up late by myself doing laundry to make sure he has a clean uniform in the morning.
While I was sick all the time a couple weeks ago due to the pregnancy, we both had to sacrifice a good bit. I had to "man up" and get on with life sometimes to make sure our house didn't fall into disrepair, and he had to cook his own meals and take care of me after working hard all day. And I know those kinds of compromises are just going to increase once we have the baby. I'm sure there will be some trying days with a newborn when Chris doesn't get home from work until eight or nine at night. Similarly, it will be hard for him when I hand the baby over when he walks in the door exhausted because I'm dying for a shower or need to cook dinner. But I know neither of us would trade the life we live now or the life we're going to live soon as a party of three for anything.
Wow, that was quite a dissertation that just started with a kegerator in my living room, but there ya go. : ) I'll be posting more pregnancy updates soon!