Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Chaos and the Meaning of Life

So, I've been back from my trip for almost two weeks. The first week back was a blur of sleeping at the wrong times and trying to remember where I was when I woke up. Last week, I moved half of our belongings into storage while I thought about all the people I met and the food I ate on my vacation. My back still hurts from lugging all that stuff around and our storage is packed right up to the roll-down door. I worked with movers to get the big stuff moved, but I moved all the little stuff with some help from Mike and Nick when boxes were heavy. Then, I vacuumed my floor downstairs to get it as clean as it could be. This week, I'm getting a new flooring and friends are coming over to take down Nick's play fort. This feels like Phase Three.

Phase One - Box up as much as I could handle and get it into storage.
Phase Two - Have movers haul my furniture into storage and vacuum bugs and cobwebs off the old floors after they leave.
Phase Three - Get new floors put in downstairs, have friends come to claim Nick's old play fort, and clean and organize upstairs at the same time.
Phase Four - Have movers bring my furniture back home and finish sprucing up my house just in time for my mother to get off the plane.

Phase Three has developed into deeper parts. I get to choose and pick up new moulding for along the floors. Yesterday, I bought some prefab stuff. I don't have to stain it. The problem was that Mike didn't like the color, so last night, I ran out and brought home two other colors. Mike liked one of these, thankfully. When you don't plan ahead, you don't get as many choices and I really didn't want to sacrifice my cleaning time to staining 340 feet of moulding. Today, I get to bring back the rejected moulding and go to two other stores to pick up the preferred moulding because neither store had as much of one type as I need. Somewhere in there, I don't want to look like an abandoned rag doll next week. Thursday, after the floor guys are supposedly done, another guy will come and install the moulding and work on our threshold. Who would have thought that the threshold wouldn't be part of putting in a new floor. Apparently shaving doors and moving water heaters aren't part of that process either. Mike, in the meantime, expects us to be able to paint the whole downstairs. Plus, he's pushing me to get Nick out with his friends so he doesn't sit in front of the television this whole time.

Really? I need a bigger crew to accomplish all this. I do. I just wanted my house to look decent when my mother came to visit. I didn't want to show her a whole new house.

I might get one room painted. Maybe.

I'm suffering from extreme makeover disorientation. My house is beginning to look like someone else's house. At least my kitchen is it's usual messy self. The funny thing is the way renovation takes on creep. Mike wants to paint and I want new doors and door moulding to match what Mike picked out. Then, when all of that is done, I want new flooring in my upstairs kitchen and bathroom. Then, Mike wants new cabinets upstairs. And we both want the upstairs to be painted too. The outside of the house needs to be painted while we're at it. And the deck needs new decking. Then, Mike wants a pool table and Nick wants to convert a storage area downstairs to a weight room. And so on and so on and so on. It might be easier to move into a new house.

Now, I may or may not have told you that my mother is coming on Saturday. Yes, I said Saturday.  Today is Tuesday, and I'm still stuck in Phase Three and a Half. Just now, I found out that my floor crew is down to one man. He doesn't speak much English either, so I'm going to have to wrestle with my Spanish again. I know I'll sound like an idiot. The other guy, the one who called, the one who talks a lot and is fluent in English, had a tragedy in his family. He told me that he won't be here today but could still get the work done by Thursday. But it's a tragedy. His nephew is in the hospital in a coma. It's sad how a boy can nearly drown and his uncle only gets one day to work through the problem.

And I'm stopped at this point, stuck thinking about this broken system that doesn't allow proper time for things that mean so much. One day is all this man was asking for. One day.

To hell with Phase Three. Getting it all done by Saturday isn't all that important in the scheme of things.

Is that the lesson here - that there is chaos and the only important thing is caring about the people in it?

The floors will get done enough for my mother to come visit. We'll make sure we have a bed in the room where she's going to sleep. Painting might or might not get done in the next year or so. I waited six years to get organized enough to get these floors done. What's a few more for the painting? In the meantime, I've met people. I've loved my people. I have this huge community swirling around me. It's chaos yet it's beautiful in its imperfect way.

I just hope I can still feel that way when my mother comes and looks over the top of her glasses at the chaos that is my life.

Thank you for listening, jb

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