Guys… a warning… look out for the enabler


I’ve started this column a few times. It’s one of those. It didn’t want to take shape or fit into any specific form or flow.

I suppose I can understand that. I mean… just consider the subject matter… the enabler.

If we were talking about someone that was bad for you or the habits of your significant other, it would be simple to write this article. But the enabler isn’t malicious or evil by design.

The enabler… combining zen and feng shui, peace and harmony, any and all elements of perfection and sanity… cannot simply be discounted since the very purpose of the enabler is to allow you the best possible method to achieve what you desire.

So… as it stands… I just blame Ellen.

Well… not really… but I have this theory about Ellen.

See… she’s The Enabler. Not an enabler. The... enabler.

I’ve mentioned this before around here. At some point or another. Just in case though…

The problem with the enabler is difficult to support, because that friend isn’t really the one that ruins your afternoon. That ship has long since sailed. The problem already exists, like it or not. You’re not watching baseball or looking around the internet or laughing at funny jokes from the latest batch of e-mails. It’s already been decided that you’re painting... you’re cleaning... you’re spending an afternoon repositioning dirt. (And for the guys that think moving around dirt is an escape... fine... you’re hanging curtains with a floral pattern that enhances the visual appearance of the room in union with the scent of the candles. And the television in that room is off.) Instead… that friend makes things worse… in ways that the casual observer would never, ever admit to as actually being worse by definition. That friend enables the most horrendous situation to pick up speed against you. That friend drives the subject to a brand new level that exceeds your wildest visions of what could happen. That friend increases the amount of work hours involved and dollars spent. And, unfortunately, the time and money they cost you is pennies compared to the rewards of their suggestion.

Ellen is the enabler for my wife… or… as I’ve been noting it, she’s that friend. The one that creates headaches for me. The one that creates more work. And the unfortunate reality is… she’s the one that if I tried to describe that friend in general terms to someone else, they’d look at me as if I were nuts. Why? Because the description would include examples of valuable advice that was offered, coming over early to help get ready for a party, taking in stray puppies, making overly generous donations to charity, and all sorts of other amazing things worthy of hugs and appreciation and Thanksgiving dinners that couldn’t be beat. And even if I tried to be cruel to the enabler in some method or manner of terms, basically all I might come up with for you as a caution would be the simple advice of “if you’re dating a girl and having a disagreement with her, even if it isn’t a major issue, don’t let her talk to her best friend”… which should be obvious enough anyway. So let’s trudge in and give it some specific details of exactly why Ellen is that friend… the enabler…

That friend didn’t… decide you needed new curtains for the living room. Your wife did that.

That friend DID… give your wife three web sites and a catalogue of curtains along with her suggestions of what would look best… and… she tossed in notes on where to find a new buffet table that perfectly accented the look of one particular pattern and some paint colors that she used that would like wonderful with these curtains..

That friend didn’t… say a new shed would be a huge help.

That friend DID… point out that her husband could help build a shed this very weekend if you so desired to start right away. And, in fact…

That friend DID… point out how awesome the doggie-door would look on the shed, which, in turn, led to the design of a doggie-deck.

Are you seeing the pattern? The enabler didn’t create the situation causing you headaches and grief. The enabler simply added touches that anyone with half a brain would agree were improvements by offering advice and opinions that many would consider kind and helpful. So even while no one else understands, you take little comfort in the realization that those very suggestions caused weeks of Sunday afternoons without football and purchases of grills and furniture and other assorted items for the beautiful new back yard.

Ellen is my wife’s enabler… and my secret pain.

Not only have I been working on a shed for the yard, but, thanks to the on-going development of a suggestion from Ellen (and yeah… it was a great suggestion), by this summer when all is completed I am going to have a shed with not only a doggie-door, but an attached deck as well.

Yeah… that’s right… shed… attached deck… for the dogs.

And, in a nutshell, that’s why I haven’t updated the web site recently.

Ok… for the most part, that’s a lie. But part of it is true.


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