Ask me how the house renovation is going.
Go ahead. Ask me.
Ask me about how … somehow .. I thought we would be exempt from that part of the process, you know, step #2 where everything is happening in a time warp — a laboriously slow time warp — where we are stupidly cramped into a too-small living space (with six dogs!) surrounded by a bizarre collection of our own possessions, most of which we don’t even recognize the purpose of anymore, and everything is complicated, even though it wasn’t supposed to be (in the beginning), but ha, ha ha! it is.
Yeah, that part.
Drive up the road a bit, keep an eye out for the 20 yard dumpster and the port-a-potty in the side yard next to the north pasture. Yeah, that’s us. I know, it doesn’t look like anyone could possibly be living here, but we are, not that you would know from the front entry.
Sometimes I feel like a rubber band, stretched between what we have in mind and the hurdles reality drops in front of accomplishing that. Take the fireplace surround, for instance. Here is a lovely rendition of what we are designing toward:
The original fireplace surround was a hot mess of fluted columns, mantle and large wood paneling — all painted in high gloss white. Lovely. That was deconstructed and it all just sat there for a good long time while we payed attention to other things. In the meantime, I researched the tile used in my visionary Pinterest fireplace surround and tracked down a local source. The tile is as amazing and beautiful looking in real life as in the picture; my heart fluttered.
This week, it was time to get to the details of it all. Here is where the telling of the story gets tricky. I, of course, want to put myself in the best possible light and darn it but, every time I write this part, I’m pretty sure I’m coming off as the home renovation equivalent of bridezilla. Surely you will understand and be sympathetic.
I want a tall rectangular surround, to play off the height of the room. The guys want to rebuild a surround around the existing infrastructure, which would give us a tootsie roll type of look. Really? Come on, how hard can this be?
Well, I don’t know, Lisa, how hard is concrete block?
Yup, when you further deconstruct things, just to find out what you are dealing with, you find that — I don’t know, just in case the firebox decided to run away or something — it is surrounded by concrete block, not framing.
If you look carefully, you will see that the concrete block is flush with sheet rock, not the framing. It really would be easier to just build the surround frame out around it and call it a day.
I want to throw myself down on the ground and have a raging temper tantrum — and I want it to matter. I do not want a tootsie roll surround. I do not. Please make it go away.
So they are. They are going to bring back the concrete cutter (in all its unholy glory) and notch out the concrete block 9 inches in on each side so that the fireplace surround can be tall and rectangular.
I am at peace with this.
I wonder how many years it will take Gordy to be.
Gordy has had his own cross to bear in this project. Mostly, the man is missing his kitchen, the way I craved a barn before we got that redone. It’s a big deal. I know this because, he was trying to fix dinner tonight at “home” and Gordy, who NEVER loses it, kind of, well, lost it. All we asked of the hot plate was to boil water, but it couldn’t do that without blowing the circuit. And then we couldn’t find the pasta we bought yesterday because there is no logic to the space we are in and how we need to use it. And he went to the store and didn’t get the items he went there to get because his head is all kerfuffled about the things that didn’t get done on the house and will take more time than expected.
And in the middle of all of this tragedy, that lovely husband of mine sent me this:
I know this makes little sense to you, but I can explain. We live in a fairly rural area and yet just a half a mile down the road from us is an old time hardware store, Gilbert’s. If you asked Gordy, It’s pretty much why we bought the place — to live within a half a mile of an old-time hardware store. Black and white fella lives there. I call him that because I don’t know his name. Sometimes he can be found in the front ditch near the store. Sometimes he is behind the locked gates at night. Sometimes he is in the pasture behind the store. He was there a lot with the mama donkey and her new little baby, like he was keeping watch. I thought he belonged to them, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t belong to anyone.
Kenny, our gate guy, told us his story. He’s a stray, who was probably treated pretty badly by humans, which would explain his extreme wariness. He hung out for a long time at a big thoroughbred farm down the road, always in the distance. One day, he decided to move his territory to this corner and has been there for maybe a year. The store owners tried to befriend him, but he would have none of it. Still, they leave him food and I noticed a dog kennel out in the front area, facing out, because they know he likes to keep an eye on things. I have a very warm spot in my heart for all of this. I watch for him every time we drive by and I had not seen him for what might be two weeks. Gordy said he had, but I was still worried. What fragile relationship is keeping this wary fella bound to this place?
So tonight, in the middle of our independent and collective melt downs about the renovation, Gordy saw black and white fella and pulled into the parking lot to snap his picture.
So that I could be at ease.
It filled me with such happiness and made me sigh – a big sigh — of relief and joy; that black and white fella is well and because I just learned, all over again, that I am married to the coolest guy on the planet.