And I thought looking for and buying a house was bad.
That process was a piece of cake compared to this week’s experience—which will drag into next week—of enduring home improvements. And we’re not talking major renovations here. I needed a new door onto my deck, and I wanted to add a storm door. No big deal, right?
Well…it is when the door is in your office, and you get displaced so the carpenter can do his thing, and he proceeds to haul every tool imaginable into the office, which is already in disarray because the floor guys still have to come back and finish the trim, and what was the point of putting all my books in the bookcases when they’ll just have to be moved when that happens? (Which should be Wednesday; I’m hoping floor guys and carpenter are not both going to be here at the same time, but I have a sneaking suspicion…)
I’ve owned homes before, but never undertaken renovations like this. The only major job was adding a screened porch to house #2, and that was all done outside, so didn’t really concern me (though I am proud to say that I did some of the staining and helped put up beadboard on the bottom half of the wall). And with house #3 we added electricity to the garage, but again, other than making some phone calls to arrange things, my life was not impacted. But this…
So part of the problem is that previous work on the door and frame was kinda half-assed, so the carpenter has to compensate for that. Then he screwed up cutting the new door and had to get another one. The upshot is, after four days, all I have is a new screen door, an unpainted wooden door with no hardware on it, and a layer of dust over my computer and everything else in my office. Meanwhile, I struggle to work downstairs on my laptop, accompanied by the sound of power tools.
I am, as those of you who know me can attest, a creature of habit. And something of a neatnik. So the disruption of routine and the general chaos in the house is unnerving. Especially as it comes after already having painters and floor guys here (though at least then I still had my apartment, where I could take refuge). All I want is to have my house to myself, in order, with everything working as reasonably well as one can expect with a 30-year-old home that had some deferred maintenance along the way.
Did I mention that the carpenter still has to replace two windows and fix a third? After he finally finishes the door? And that the recent rains revealed a leak that, thank god, is just in the roof over my portal and not in the house itself? As far I can tell. And my new fridge is not working right? And my chronic headaches have come back in spades, making it really hard to work, especially on the project for the state that is leaving me very intimidated and freaked out? And I have absolutely no prospects for a love life?
After that, I’m sure you’ll be amazed to read that I see a therapist. She told me that every day I should write down five things that I’m grateful for. Despite the conditions of this week, which will continue, I have included this new house as one of them. And I can be grateful that some of the other work done recently is over and looks good—the uneven brick walkway is now smooth, and I have an outdoor faucet that does not shoot out a geyser of water when I use the hose (though getting that in took cutting a hole in my dining room wall so the plumber could get at the pipe; the other option was destroying the lazy Susan in my kitchen, and both carpenter and plumber advised against that). And I am grateful for the recent rains, despite the leak. I am grateful for the new speakers, which give me musical pleasure my old ones never could (though at times I do still miss the Bose…). I’m grateful I was even able to afford a house, though sometimes I wonder for how long. And I will be especially grateful when I have my office back and everything is clean and tidy again. Patience, right? Yes, patience, and a sense of humor, and perspective. Maybe that’s what this Santa Fe experience is all about, learning some helpful traits as I try to cope with life. Or maybe, as I once wrote in a journal decades ago, maybe it’s about discovering how long it takes me to go nutzy-cuckoo.