Death. Divorce. Moving. Technically, I'm only going through one of the Unholy Trinity of Madness-Inducing Stressors. But let's not forget some of the lesser devils they've spawned. Like Demolition.
We're updating the kitchen and improving our downstairs bathroom, to make it more user-friendly. The demolition happened in mid-January, when Mark was in Ada and I was still in New York City. I'm sorry I missed it, because (a), there's always fun to be had with a sledgehammer and a crowbar, and (b) because Mark said it was done by five Amish men.
"Did they pull up with a horse and buggy?" I asked.
No, Mark said. A van.
So much for shunning the trappings of modernity. Shattering my preconceptions even more, Mark said the foreman of the crew, a traditional-looking elder with a white beard and a straw hat, entered the house and asked him, straight away, "Where can I plug in my drill?"
"They worked without gloves," Mark said. "And they didn't use our bathroom. They went up to the convenience place on Route 81 once in a while. They might've used the bathroom there, I don't know."
Maybe they were taking a break to update their Facebook pages and buy some beef jerky.
With the demo comes dust, and a bone-numbing February cold that seeps in through the walls, now stripped to the studs and slats. It also brings our cooking functions into new parts of the house. The microwave is in the dining room, one of the few places where we've got a grounded, three-pronged outlet. The refrigerator is there, too. In the living room is our prep area. We moved the kitchen table against the fire place (which, if it were working, I could use in a pinch to at least roast hot dogs) and chop veggies there. A card table in a far corner, near another, rare, three-pronged grounded outlet is where we have the crock pot and our fast-boil kettle. Dishes are stacked in the oak tower that holds Mark's stereo system. If I need a coaster or a trivet, I can grab a Norah Jones CD in a pinch.
Not surprisingly, I find myself humming The Police's "Demolition Man:"
Tied to the tracks and the train's fast coming
Strapped to the wing with the engine running
You say that this wasn't in your plan
Don't mess around with the demolition man
Everywhere I turn, there's something that needs straightened, dusted, cleaned, attended to. Nothing is where I want it or need it to be. If I spill something, I have to find where I last put the sponge -- the fire place mantle? the stereo tower? the card table? in the Library with Mr. Mustard and the lead pipe? -- and then go upstairs to the bathroom or downstairs to the utility sink to moisten it with water. The dishes are piled up on the radiator. The cats sit next to them, keeping warm and nosing around the empty cat food cans that I've placed there, to be rinsed and recycled. My home environment is the physical embodiment of my spiritual state,.
Both require patience, humor and a dust cloth.
More dust is in the offing this week. The drywall was delivered yesterday. Two guys driving a flatbed truck with a remote controlled grappling hook delivered it right to our back door, as delicately as if they were handing over a box of china plates. The drywall hanger-upper guy was supposed to be here today, but the word on the street is that he's got a death in the family and won't be by until Tuesday. Then, the word was, he'd be here tomorrow. 8:00 AM. Ready to cut and pound.
This is good news, I think. But I won't complain. Because if Sting's Rules for Happy Living include Don't mess around with the demolition man., the corollary's gotta be, don't grouse about the renovation man.