How can you work with your partner around the house without arguing

I have experienced this for as long as I can remember!. Whether it was cleaning our bedrooms that I shared with 2 of my sisters, remodeling my houses with my first husband or remodeling my current house with my husband. It always seemed to end in an argument when you do something with your partner. My husband and I have finally figured out the secret to working together….it only took me starting my own rehab business and writing my book!

I also have this in my book and I’m hoping my son remembers my tips when he and his soon to be fiancé start work on the house they just purchased! It will require remodeling bathrooms and painting all the rooms in their “new” house!

Here is my checklist to make the job more fun than it would normally be without this checklist:

1. Start with a plan! Be very clear on who will be in charge. Pick the person with the most knowledge of the job you are doing. Women need to stop “directing” and if the man is more qualified for the job, then he is the boss and director!

2. Set yourself enough time! If you think the job will be a weekend project, give yourself 3-4 weekends. There is nothing as frustrating as rushing to get a job done because you did not allow yourself enough time! As a female contractor I know this to be a fact 🙂 My husband is wonderful about giving me complete control over our repairs so we work well together and I don’t try and control everything because there is more than one way to do things!

3. Have a clear budget. Don’t just make up numbers either. Go shopping for all the supplies, pick things out that you like, write down the price and go home and add the items up. Lets say you want to landscape your yard, build a patio. Price out the supplies. If you are not sure of all the supplies you will need you can check the internet for building a deck, patio or whatever you are doing.

4. Let’s say you did your homework and decided your budget is $2000 and materials came to $2300. DO NOT say, “well it’s only 300 dollars more so let’s do it”. Once you have blown your intended budget, the game is over and the arguing begins! I have experienced this when I was an interior decorator and as a contractor!

5. Go shopping together! Don’t leave the shopping up to one partner because, the “shopper” likes to shop, which means they probably enjoy spending money! People can get carried away with the project because there is so much temptation at every store!

6. Make a list of who is responsible for what part of the project! Who does clean up. Who does the prep work. Who is responsible for making sure all tools are available. Who will run for the food. Think of everything you can before undertaking a project! It’s very frustrating when you don’t have the right tool for the job before you start. It’s also confusing when you don’t have enough supplies and you or your partner has to run to the store during the project, doing this takes a lot of time away from the project! It also makes people cranky and frustrated.

7. If tempers START to flare up, STOP, take a break and go do something fun, go out for a beer, dinner, whatever you agreed on before the project even started!

8. Plan on reserving at least 10% of your budget going to unexpected surprises. Plan on 20% or more if you are doing interior work that requires opening walls, it will, more than likely, open up a “can of worms” that will cost more money. If you are doing an outdoor project and have to dig down for a pool, patio leave extra money for hitting a water line, tree root or God only knows what!

9. Keep the checklist of the project taped to a wall near where you are working! Cross off jobs as they are completed so you can feel good about your progress! It will help you stay on track.
When I’m working on a house I always have a plan and a checklist everyday for the work I need to finish for that day!

10. You can expect to have tough moments during the project! Expect it, laugh about it because you were warned!

11. THE MORE PREPARED YOU ARE FOR THE EXPECTED AND UNEXPECTED THE BETTER OFF YOU AND YOUR PARTNER WILL BE!Maintain a sense of humor!!!! Remember the work will get done if you are realistic.


Life Lessons

Here are some of my favorite sayings and one-liners

I was reminded when I woke up this morning that I didn’t say good morning to my husband. He was great at reminding me of that. So I just said, thank you for reminding me, I added, good morning sunshine.
He added, “well that’s me but more important, sometimes I wake up grumpy and sometimes I let you sleep!” We smiled.
I have always heard that one-liner as: Sometimes I wake up grumpy and other times I let him sleep. I guess it goes both ways.
The lesson here, always try and start your day off with a smile!!!!

My other favorite saying was repeated to me over and over, now I like to repeat it over and over. I guess like father, like daughter! Anyway…..Give a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man to fish, he eats for life!
I’m sure most of you have heard these, but, they are good reminders!
I will now add a shameless plug for my book!
My book will teach you to fish!
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

Why my book is titled wrong….ooops!

I have been talking to a few hundred people lately…yep, I’ve been busy, ok, not really, it only took a day, that’s how much I love to talk:) but they say they don’t need to read this because they are already married. I say, oops on me!
I came up with this title because as most of you know it is always easier to cure an illness if you catch it early, train a puppy vs. a dog and change unwanted behaviors in children than adults….am I right or am I right….I guess I’m right since no one has argued my point

So I would love to take a moment, as a rookie who realizes mistakes after publication rather than during, (those dam publishers gave me too much freedom!) to say, YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS (my husband is a dog trainer so I know:). This book has helped people who have been married over 20 years learn something from the book that has improved their marriage, according to friends and reviews. As I was writing my own book I re-learned things I already knew but had long since forgotten. For example….
1.never underestimate the power of please and thank you in a relationship.
2. always remember the days that made you happy and your partner has to accept your quirks as much as you have to accept theirs.
3. Be honest and kind to your partner when they have upset you! Anger and frustration only breeds more anger and frustration.
4. If you want something, ask for it, don’t expect your significant other to guess!
5. Keep technology on the information highway, not the bedroom highway, that highway can get crowded then the congestion leads to pain and loneliness.
6. Have you ever heard, “you always hurt the ones you love!” That’s because you feel you can take out your personal frustrations on them and since they love you they can take it! WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! You need to let your partner know that you had a bad day, situation or whatever caused your frustration, be honest and say to them, “I need to vent” so apologize for what you may be about to say, or at least thank them at the end for letting you vent (partner does not say anything during the venting stage) and then vent! That way your loved one knows that is may not be personal you just need to get something off your chest!

These are some of my topics. They can remind, even us old, married farts, that we need to remember what’s important!

What do you think?

compatability survey…try it, it’s fun

This survey is from my book. It won’t be the full survey because that’s 30 questions with explanations attached. This will be 10 questions to get you started. If you have been in a relationship for a few years then you answer according to what YOU believe about him/her and vice versa. If you are in a relatively new relationship, answer each question for yourself. When you have answered all the questions, go back and read the questions aloud and tell your partner how you answered and see if you both agree. It opens up dialog and allows you to learn more about your partner or realize that you have a good start on knowing your partner.
The main point is to have fun!
1. Do you consider yourself a patient person? (guage on how quickly you get upset driving or watching sports)

2)Have you lived on your own prior to this relationship? This is helpful because both partners will appreciate the difficulty in cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry and all the other daily boring work!

3)Do you consider yourself an honest person? Now, be honest here, if you tweek your answer, then you already answered your own question:)

4) Do you consider yourself highly emotional (cry during chick flicks) moderately emotional (are moved by touching stories but don’t cry) or reserved emotionally (Crying is for babies)?

5)If you can’t have both (and sometimes you can’t) would you rather be happy or right? Remember you can’t have both! Can you surrender your point to maintain peace or will you keep going until you are both upset?

6)Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Optimists can take an event and realize it’s just a setback and will find another way to achieve their goal, a pessimist will take a setback and not try again.

7) Are you an extrovert or an introvert? ie. extroverts will make friends at parties and engage strangers, introverts will stay with their friends and tend not to engage strangers

8)How important is money to you on a scale from 1-5, other than enough to pay bills and maybe a vacation?

9)Do you have a good sense of humor? What type of “humor” do you have: sarcastic(mean humor), self deprecating (you can laugh at your own mistakes) or hyper(where you always have to be joking)

10)Finish this saying, when the going gets tough I
a)get going and fight for the goal
b)stay cool and work through it
c)give up and walk away
These questions are a start to understanding who you and your partner are. There are 20 more in my book “What to do before you say I Do”
I hope you discuss your answers with your partner or friends to see how well you know yourself!
Most important however, HAVE FUN!
Thanks for stopping by…your friendly blogger Susan Ziggy

lets talk about “fairy tale” relationships

In my book I have a chapter dedicated to fairy tales, myths and ideals. I write about why people are looking for their “ideal” man or women. The man or woman who will sweep you off your feet and rescue you like Cinderella, Snow White, etc. If you are going into a relationship looking for these fairy tales they are stories.  You can however write your own fairy tale! You have to create the relationship you want, remember, its not about what your partner can offer you but what you have to offer your partner.

Here is my list of myths and ideals:

1) I’m holding out for the perfect partner!

Have you ever said that? What is YOUR perfect partner? Why do you think they are perfect for you?  What flaws do you have that would make someone perfect for you? Is anyone perfect?  Are you perfect?  Now I will share my story about “perfect”.

When I first met my husband, he was not in the running for my ideal man. He was blue collar, I wanted white collar. He didn’t dress like my ideal man. He wore sneakers to our first date and a Nascar denim shirt. I wanted preppy. I only paid attention to the superficial aspects of the date and not who he was inside. What I did like about him was, he opened my car door and he had bluuueee eyes. I really wasn’t very interested but he was persistent. The more I paid attention to his inner personality the more I liked him. It took a few weeks for me to realize that he was attentive, kind, respectful, non-judgemental and patient. Once I put away my ideals of the “perfect” man, I realized I had found one without even realizing it. I grew to like him, and then love him. We have been very happily married for 15 years and I can’t imagine life without him.

The lesson: Give someone a chance and look past the superficial things, the exterior changes when you get older. The interior doesn’t change a lot. A kind and loving person will probably always be kind and loving, gentle and worth knowing.

2) I can train or change him into the man I want!

Really! This one drives me nuts. If you have to change someone, which you can’t, then consider changing yourself first.

3)We know marriage is work, but we can do it! 

Can you change your own oil in your car? Can you build your own house? Do you really understand the work involved? Have you heard the saying, you have to walk a mile in my shoes to understand what its like? It’s very true. When I became disabled I went through a horrible depression. Family and friends would tell me to get dressed or put on make up so I would feel better! It didn’t work because they hadn’t been in my shoes.

In marriage its the same analogy. I have studied human behavior, taught and helped others. Its work because there will be days you have to stop talking and listen. There will be days you wonder, “what was I thinking” . My book will help you know what to do on those days and how to get passed them. 

REMEMBER I HAVE NEVER HEARD ANYONE SAY, “I’M MARRYING MY SOUL MATE OR PERFECT PARTNER SO I CAN GET DIVORCED DOWN THE ROAD! yet it happens often. You truly need to know how to handle situations, issues, arguments before the “I Do”

My book, What to do before you say “I Do” has many more stories and myths but my fingers are cramping up from all the writing j/k!

My next topic will be about Creating a plan

Thanks for stopping by I truly appreciate it!!!


dmithe le

Finding Happiness

great page name, optimisticgladness. People that are optimistic can find possibilities in everything, anywhere

bhutan chronicles

“Stop running. Happiness has been chasing you all this time…”

Moving to Bhutan does funny things for one’s happiness. Increasingly famous for developing the concept of Gross National Happiness, Bhutan is the first country many people think of when asked to name the happiest place on earth. This has even led the Tourism Council of Bhutan to adopt the slogan, “Happiness is a Place”. Happiness is much more than a place, but indeed, Bhutan has been a great place for me to learn about my own happiness.

People often ask me if I am happier here, and whether those around me are truly the happiest people in the world. The answers to such questions are at first complicated, and eventually simple. People here are not in a race to be happier or happiest. I was amazed to learn recently that the happiness of an individual is 50% genetic, 40% attitude…

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Do couples play mind games?

In my book I have a chapter dedicated to “games people play in relationships” Like or Share if this sounds familiar to you

I have a friend, married a long time, and I asked her what she got for Christmas. She said, “nothing” in a very disgusted, aggravated tone. When I asked her why her husband didn’t get her anything (he is usually very generous) she said, “I told him I didn’t want anything” . She was mad that he didn’t remember all the things she talked about wanting throughout the year. She felt he should know her well enough to know that when she says she doesn’t want anything, that means, “surprise me”, or “I mentioned 6 months ago what I wanted”. She was angry, he was upset that she was angry and felt humiliated.
Is that really how you want your partner to feel?
This is a manipulative and dishonest game! Don’t make your partner guess what you want, man or woman, tell them! My book goes deeper into this game with ideas that are fun but easy to win. Everything in your relationship should be a WIN-WIN for both of you!

What to do before you say I Do

what to do.. is a book I wrote to help my readers learn how to create a great relationship or refresh the one you have. I wrote this book based on my experience, education in human behavior and teaching. I started writing this book for my 2 children who are in serious relationships and I didn’t want them to make the same mistakes I did. As I was having friends and family read the manuscript, they suggested I get it published because they found the simple ideas, suggestions and solutions to be very beneficial. Hence, a book was born.
My readers have told me that it’s like having coffee around the table with your mother. The ideas and advice though are not like mom’s,my children use to tell me they knew it all) I don’t enjoy being “preached” to! I find more fun in reading a book that has witty humor and funny stories that everyone can relate to.
I hope you enjoy and share my site and book with friends and family! If you follow the advice and do the work, then you can help drop the divorce rate one marriage at a time 🙂

What happens if partners can’t compromise

What happens if you or your partner don’t compromise?
Well, let me tell you a story from my book!
My husband and I had different ideas for putting up Christmas lights. I wanted white lights everywhere with a traditional theme of greenery and wreaths. My husband wanted colored lights everywhere, more whimsical. I asked if he would let me do lights one year my way and his lights, his way, the next year. He didn’t like my way so now he does it his way, by himself, every year.
I’m ok with that since we live in Buffalo and it gets cold around November. We use to freeze together when we did the lights. Since he didn’t want to compromise, I don’t have to help anymore. I get to stay warm and watch him out the front window…yeah! He is also responsible for taking down the lights after the holidays as well. I can live with his way because at least we have lights and he is slowly exchanging some colored lights for white:)
The lesson here is….compromise or be prepared for the results! You also can’t complain because you are the one that wanted things done your way! BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR and ask yourself, how important is it really!