Monday, September 24, 2012

We Are Living The Cartoon

I’m not sure if toasting each other over a plate of weenies strictly counted as a celebration, but back in August Dean and I celebrated 40 years of marriage.  I started to type “40 years of marital bliss” but that would just be lying and I pride myself on always telling the truth not exaggerating much even if it reflects poorly on me Dean.  I’m not saying there weren’t stretches of marital bliss during the past 40 years, especially during the early years when we looked upon each other with starry-eyed adoration.  “We’re soul mates” we said to each other.  “You’re perfect” we each sighed.   Oh sure, there were moments, weeks, and sometimes even years of our marriage where it felt like we were barely holding on to a frayed string as we were thrown in and out of a tiny kayak which was riding up on a swelling wave only to drop into a chasm, in a hurricane, out in the middle of the ocean, without Dramamine, but that just made those blissful times that much sweeter.  

As the years passed our vision became less clouded by those stars and we each began to notice small flaws in each other.  You might think we managed to stay married to each other for 40 years because we ignored those slight imperfections and just learned to live with them – or – even learned to love them.  You would be wrong.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned over 40 years of marital-sometimes-bliss it’s that when something makes you feel like fingernails on a blackboard, it's imperative that you 1.   point out the offense, and 2.  see that it's taken care of.  So early on we learned it was important not to stew about the things that annoyed us but to deal with them, even if that meant not waiting longer than three days for Dean to read my mind.

Our marriage experience has served us well during our adjustment period with the home because our relationship with this Little Bit O’ Country has been very similar to our 40 years together.  During the honeymoon stage we, okay I, gazed on the home with stars in my eyes.  We weren’t blind to the flaws but they seemed small and insignificant.  However, as with any marriage, soon those small defects became more difficult to ignore.  As I mentioned in my last post, we became less enamored of the home.  We wondered if we’d made a mistake.  We regretted our hasty decision and wished for a way out.  We were exhausted from all the work we’d put into it and needed a trial separation.  We needed time to remember why we’d begun the relationship to begin with and we needed to decide if we wanted to continue.  I, for one, went through a period of mourning for the retirement future I thought we’d lost.

Finally after six weekends in a row of painting, carpet removing, foam scraping, wall washing, ceiling washing, leak fixing and wallpaper scraping, on the seventh weekend we stayed away and rested.  And last weekend when we went back, the painter had come and gone and what looked like this before 

now looked like this.

And this

now looks like this 

We are cautiously letting our hearts open up to the home again even though our anniversary dinner was mashed meat in a skin because we were so exhausted from working on it we could barely lift a fork let alone sit upright in a restaurant.   (Although a leaking kitchen sink – again! this weekend didn’t make it easy.)   I wish the list of things we need to do was completed but it isn’t.  Unfortunately, we’ve added to that list with even more things we want to do.  I've come to the conclusion there’s always going to be something we’ll need or want to fix, improve or change.  I’m just hopeful that the major issues have been dealt with, the exhausting part of this relationship is over, and once the wood floors are put in we’ll only be left with small things that annoy us ... kind of like our marriage. 

Oh, and in the interest of complete honesty … that whole part about telling each other we were soul mates, etc., … we didn’t need to say them … we just knew.  Deep sigh….  Kidding.  If Dean ever said that to me I’d snort whatever weenie-paired wine I was drinking at the time right out my nose.  Which is one of the perks of being married for 40 years.  You can do that without even being embarrassed.  Not that I have.  I’m just saying you could.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Zombies Really DO Walk The Earth

Dear House:

We hate you.  We thought we were in love with you but that was before we got to know you better.  Initially we were happy to devote time and energy to this relationship but you’ve been asking too much of us.  It has become impossible to love you anymore.  It’s difficult to even like you.  Right now you are not the home we envisioned.  You are just a house.

Nice stains, eh?  Just the beginning of the painting.

Since you’ve stopped filling your rooms with smoke we have tried to be understanding and tolerant.  We’ve been doing our best to help you.  We’ve removed the urine-stained and smoke-filled carpeting from your floors and we’ve painted those floors with a stain and smell-blocking primer.   

All floors have since been primed with a smoke-blocking, foam covering primer.

We’ve coated two of your rooms with sweet smelling paint.


 We’ve washed the nicotine from your ceiling.  We’ve washed it from your paneling.   

We’ve painted the nicotine soaked fake brick a soothing shade of gray.

"Just" need to scrape off the backing now. 

We’ve gently separated your walls from the nicotine soaked wallpaper.  We’ve scrubbed every surface within our reach just to help you smell sweeter and restore the confidence you’d lost in your beauty.  Five weekends in a row we have lived on sandwiches because we are too exhausted to cook.  We have crawled into our blowup bed at night with aching joints and fume-filled heads because we are trying to help you with your rehabilitation.  And yet you betrayed us.

The old setup.  I was to exhausted to take a photo of the new one.

When the irrigation pump abruptly quit working just as we were in the midst quenching your never-ending thirst, was it asking too much for you to point out to us where the reset button was?  Were you laughing to yourself when we paid over a thousand dollars to have the pump replaced?  Just to keep you moist and green?  When all we had to do was push “reset?”  Weren’t you satisfied knowing we were going to replace that pump next spring anyway?  Just so your lush green carpet would be watered without the jarring jet-like sounds of that antiquated pump?  That wasn't good enough for you?  You had to force the issue by hiding the reset button?

 And what was your reason for neglecting to tell us a pulsating-sprinkler would cover six or eight times the area than the little twirly sprinklers we bought just for you?  Did watching us stumble out of the house every 30 minutes, weary from painting and scrubbing, to drag a sprinkler to another area of your “body”, tickle your wicked sense of humor?  Just because you were mad that we wised up to your game and purchased a pulsating sprinkler didn't mean you needed to unscrew the pipe under one side of the kitchen sink so the water would cover the bottom of the cabinet and leak through to the basement.  Did you enjoy seeing the look of panic on faces already etched with exhaustion?  It doesn’t matter that the pipe was easily screwed back together.  That was mean.   And there was no reason to cause a small leak in the pipe under the other side of the sink right after we’d screwed the first pipe back together.  That was more than mean; that was just cruel.  

We’ve been trying so hard to help you with your smoking problem.  We wanted to love you.  We DID love you when we first met.  But you are making it difficult to continue the relationship.  We are trying not to hate you but you're not making it easy.  We are trying to look past your flaws toward the beauty and warmth we know is hidden within your walls.  But we are exhausted.  We are dejected and disheartened.  We are filled with regret and questioning our choice to make you part of our family.  

We are drained.   However, we are also stubborn.  We are miserable, hollow-eyed hulks but we are determined. We will tenaciously continue to work toward your recovery.  We have hired a painting therapist and will be hosting a wood floor intervention.  Just for you.  We are hopeful your behavior and outlook will improve after these intercessions because we believe you are not lost.  We want to love you once again. But we've had just about enough from you.  More than enough.  We're really tired of your antics.  We are near to breaking.  So shape up house.