The Dump Tour

Matt has picked out several homes he'd like me to see.

I am ready with a notebook and pen, to scratch out design ideas, notes, excited scribblings.

I will not use that notebook once.

We view a series of depressing homes, each worse than the last. Each one requiring near or complete tear-downs. And that doesn't include the neighbors who have nose-rings, pit-bulls and overgrown yards.

But Matt spends a long time at each of these homes. He's a fount of optimism.

"This could work if we just...." and he begins to rattle off a to-do list as long as the 10 foot crack in one home's foundation.

I listen, politely. I don't take notes. Because I'm all for remodels. But I don't have the energy for  Extreme Makeover Home Edition.

After a very long afternoon, I'm exhausted and parched.

"Boy," I say as we near home, "our house feels like a palace compared to those dumps."

Matt chuckles. I look at him. He chuckles harder. Suddenly, it dawns on me.

"You did this on purpose!"

He breaks into a full laugh.

"You wretch!"

For a guy who rarely cracks a smile, he is really busting himself up.

"It worked, didn't it?" he asks.

And now, I'm laughing, too. I don't know how he does it, but he makes me laugh every time.

"I had to start at the bottom," he explains. "Just think, everything we look at now will seem awesome!"

And he's right, of course. Again.

"Besides," he says, "you can't look at how it looks. Look at what it can be!"

It all goes to show: wife looks at the outward appearance, but husband looks at the price tag.