There are, I've come to realize, two types of people in this world: the builders, and the maintainers.
The builders are the creative and innovative set. Their visions result in everything from soaring bridges to the internet. Without them, we'd still be plodding along in log cabins and plowing behind oxen.
But once those soaring visions are realized, then someone else must maintain what was created. That's me. And it also accounts in part for why Don and I get along so swimmingly, and why we've been able to work steadily over the years toward our goal of self-sufficiency.
Don has an astoundingly creative mind and the talented hands that go with it. Me, I specializing in maintaining the things he's built. Don has a magic touch with tools, a liquid fluidity that is awe-inspiring to behold. I'm all thumbs. Don can visualize in his mind exactly how the end-result of something will look. I simply take that end result and use it for years.
Don builds the livestock feedboxes. I feed the livestock. Don builds a kitchen countertop. I maintain the kitchen. Don builds a milking stall. I milk the cow.
This division of labor suits our temperaments and talents very well indeed. This doesn't mean our home is squeaky-clean and perfect, but it does mean our homestead (usually) purrs along on an even keel.
Interestingly, this also applies to fiction writing. I have a writing friend, Ann Malley, whose creative and fertile mind for plot twists blows me out of the water. Me, I can't plot my way out of a paper bag. We've collaborated on our writing for years and I depend on her to an alarming degree to help me figure out what motivates my characters. In turn, I hold her steady and tame down some of her more dramatic plot twists and turns, and help fine-tune her writing. We hammer scenes and plots and synopses back and forth to each other constantly.
This is the friend I'm flying out to visit in Virginia tomorrow, and where Older Daughter will rendezvous with me. Ann and I plan to have a cozy evening hashing plot ideas back and forth over a bottle of vino.
Once I have a story's outline -- once the "creative" part is done -- then my "maintenance" instincts kick in and I can write up a storm. Go figure.
The world needs both these types of people, the innovators and the maintainers. There's no sense trying to force one to be the other. Innovators would be bored out of their gourds if they were forced to do maintenance tasks for hours on end. Maintainers would be bewilderingly lost if forced to be innovative. But put the two together, and it's often a match made in heaven.