Renovation


The kitchen of the "Althuus" (meanin...

Image via Wikipedia

Rob finished updating and switching over the electrical to the new kitchen today. I marvel without end at that insanely unreal breadth of that man’s basic knowledge base. As of this evening, the kitchen will be operational minus plumbing with the goal of sink and dishwasher quite soon.

Mom arrives in 27 days, and Rob assures me that kitchen, living room and a rudimentary dining area will be waiting for her.

This is optimistic of him because where the renovation is concerned, we’ve been miles off-schedule since the demolition last November. Life in the forms of work and family have screwed with us from day one, and his insistence that my help just makes more work for him has meant that he’s mostly been the lone wolf handy-dandy guy on a project of such daunting scope that anyone who’s seen it, or heard about even, cannot believe we didn’t just sell the house as it was and buy a new one.

While Rob laboured like a dwarf in the semi-darkness on the electrical panel tucked away behind a furnace and water heater that also needed updating, I zealously attacked Dee’s room – again.

I’ve lost track of the number of hoarding interventions I’ve performed on that child’s room. Over lunch, I informed her I was cleaning in there and she immediately went upstairs and rearranged in that perverse way of territory marking she’s carried over from her toddler days. But my strategy is a simple one of steady attrition. If I move with caution and at a slow pace, eventually I will rid her space of all the pointless clutter, leaving behind only what is useful and what truly matters. So far, it’s been a great success.

A tedious, time-sucking on the magnitude of a black hole success, but I’ll take it.

My basic problem continues to be the lack of finished space which in turn clogs up the user accessible space with non-related items. And it limits the comfort of the accessible spaces too. For example, we have two very plush sofas that are currently humping each other under tarps in the corner of the living room that’s blocked off by the dishwasher that can’t be installed until the plumbing is in and by the fireplace, which can’t be installed because there isn’t enough workspace to do so because of the stacked up sofas.

Rob took off two afternoons and Friday last week in order to really book on the kitchen. He lost nearly one of those afternoon and all of that same evening on a child issue and half of Saturday in the city. Life competes and our kitchen loses.

It is just a kitchen, I remind myself when my patience wears thin enough that I am in danger of letting the sanguine veneer I project on the state of the house slip. I certainly don’t want to be one of those wives because the reality is that even living in a complete state of unfinished, my life rocks and rocks again by nearly any comparison that might be applied. But at ten months of total renovation and still counting, I will allow myself this heavy sigh and to express that I am tired of trodding on sub-floor and carting the dishes from the dishwasher and sink in the old kitchen to their new homes in cabinets in the new one. And I want to be able to sit on my sofa.

 


kitchen

Image by palindrome6996 via Flickr

Rain, rain go away. Come again some other day. Sheets of water that pool on the lawn and overwhelm sump pumps remind me of the June and July of 1993 when it rained all but six days. Torrents that forced you to pull over to the side of the road because you literally couldn’t see past the hood of your own car. Water that ran like rapids along the curbs, spilling onto the easements like swollen rivers jumping their banks. Whenever it rains too much or too often or too hard, I become a little anxious like my old junior high school friend Lisa J. who for months after seeing Hitchcock’s The Birds for the first time would go running for the nearest shelter whenever she saw crows lined up on the telephone wires. The rain of late has vexed me with water in the basement. Not opportune as I am trying to sell my house, but fortunately so universally common in this part of the state that most people accept it as a matter of course. Which leads me to the conclusion that most of us operate under the motto of “good enough”.

 

I will admit to a latent perfectionist streak that never seems to manifest itself unless the attainment of perfection is nearly impossible, and the pursuit will tax me beyond measure. I don’t just want things to work out. I want them to work out in best case scenario mode. And that simply isn’t possible. It just isn’t.

 

The house is in need of update. Flooring. Walls. Fixtures. It will take money but more, it will take time. Many people today are conditioned to expect perfect but not work for it. When perfect is only possible through their own efforts, then good enough is okay.

 

And there are the details of the move that include mail forwarding and canceling utilities that if I had my way would be done already. There are plastic totes that need to be emptied of contents that should go to the Goodwill and then refilled with clothes that need to come with us to our new home. There is the letter to my in-laws that begs to be written and the little voice inside my head that reminds me to mail it once we are across the border if I want to avoid tears and tantrums and unwarranted questioning of my judgement. There is a job that irritates me beyond measure most days though I still feel compelled to do the best that I possibly can and leave it in better working order than when I took it over.

 

And I need to just make a cup of tea and tell myself that it’s really good enough. My efforts so far. The completion of things yet to do. Good enough. No one is actually grading me on any of this. It’s not a matter of collecting red, blue and gold stars on a chart. My “good enough” is the best I can do given the circumstances and frankly is probably better than most others.