Sunday, August 06, 2006

Home lessons

I was recounting to Miriam the aforementioned completed tasks...she responded, as most who have to look after their own houses do - "Holy shit. What are you guys thinking?" Folks also like to tell us "You two put us to shame, man. You're doing everything!" Part of that is true, we are doing almost everything (okay, so we were uninterested in playing around with the cable that brings ALL of the electricity into the house, but other than that...), but what people don't know is that we have short bursts of frenzied activity between long periods of doubt and anguished paralysis.

And begging.

The begging is me. Alexis has only begged once in this entire three years - she begged me not to make her get the house. Which I did, sight-unseen, from Vancouver. Seriously. Hey, it was an incredibly tight market that year, and our offer was accepted 36 hours after the damn house was put on the market...time was of the essence, and we were running out of it.

Since then, I've been doing all the begging. Saturday afternoon found us in Lowe's (surprise) in the plumbing section, trying to find an elegant solution to a water line for the icemaker. I begged. Please, please, please...can't we do something kind of ugly? We're not going to find the right parts, please can't we just go home and do it? Of course, we did find a perfectly lovely solution...though we're not sweating on a tee, rather vampiring on a line to the nearest cold-water. At least this solution provides a shut-off.

It goes like this, I'm generally begging us to do smaller projects - to not tear down the paneling, to tile rather than refinish 3/4 of the downstairs floors, to keep the projects as small as possible, so that we can live in a finished house for once.

Alexis, on the other hand, fiercely strides forward, attacking things I would never have the guts to do. And because of this, we know so much more than we ever could have hoped to know...we have learned so much. Yet this knowledge is so fucking hard-won, it is so terrifying and worrysome, and we never trust that we've done it right.

I have never before learned something at such sacrifice to my emotional well-being, I am learning this shit with every ounce of myself - it's not just my brain that's engaged, but I have learned to steady my heart against a seemingly-insurmountable tasks, my hands have learned to pry and scrabble, and to clamp firm a thing that must be steady, my body has learned to bleed and sweat and not to stop. The other day, I was holding up a 4x8 sheet of drywall with my fingertips, and my knees slipped and squeaked on the floor, slipping in a pool of my own sweat...

The thought occurred to me again tonight, that we will be leaving this place relatively soon...that we're more than half-way through with our tenure in this motherfucking town. And I thought of how I would feel about this house when we're finally gone - tender, or proud, or nostalgic for our first little ladybug home together? I realized that this is the building that saw me dragged, kicking and wailing, into adulthood. I can't say I'm grateful, nor am I best, I am relieved. I say "at best" because one of the primary lessons I've learned about adulthood, as I spin and drop along this gravel path, is that it just keeps getting harder. Whatever is so hard now, it's nothing compared with what's coming. Knowing that provides some sort of strange relief.