Tuesday, March 13, 2012
More Thoughts On The House
So today is the big kitchen floor refinishing day. The preparations actually started yesterday. It’s not unlike the day-before preparations for a feast….getting things organized, lots of anticipation. In this case, Ted was here to remove the refrigerator doors so we could move the fridge into the dining room. Alas, the first hurdle to overcome! We couldn’t find a valve to shut off the water supply line to the icemaker. We looked everywhere, in the house and under it. Then Ted put the fridge doors back on before the chicken started to smell. I told him I'd just call my contractor who has dealt with all the other quirky issues in this house.
Now as I write this, a new valve is secure, the appliances are in the dining room and the workmen are digging old linoleum and tar off the floor. I just heard one of them yell to the other, "Where's a mop? Do you see a mop?" I'm ignoring this. I have already contributed my sage advice such as…"Be sure that plastic you hang on the door doesn't have holes” and “Be careful with that sharp thing”. All the workmen who have been in my home in the last month appreciate my..........er, participation!
I was getting a little anxious last night after Ted and Leah went home. Not sure how the valve thing would be resolved, not sure if the tar would come up off the floor, and the plumbing was acting up again (already had one incident that involved sewage in the tub and an eye-rolling plumber).
Today when the floor guy showed up, I had a chance to process my thoughts in conversation with him. We talked about these old houses and how you just have to go with the flow (although that idiom doesn’t really apply to the plumbing issue. ) If you have fixed expectations, you’re liable to be disappointed. You know there are beautiful secrets lurking, but the uncovering can be laborious and more expensive than you thought. Some things you can do on your own, but other things require professional help. Some things wear out and have to be discarded, some things can be lovingly restored with time and patience, while others heroically withstand the test of time and become almost sacred for their endurance.
You have to be careful that, as you decorate the surface, the interior isn’t collapsing on you. You can’t ignore red flags, although you don’t have to get everything done all at once. You can triage, address what’s urgent, what will shut you down if not dealt with. Then when you’re feeling stronger and more confident, you can take on the rest.
And always you are grateful that you’ve been given this house, that its architect is all-knowing, that it’s yours and yours alone, and such a privilege to bask in its mystery and splendor.
I didn't use those exact same words with the floor guy, but it was the same idea.