My husband recently finished reading a novel entitled “Things Fall Apart.” I think of it every time I see the many, many projects that need to be done around our house. Although my book would be entitled “Things Fall Apart Because Your Darn Kids are Destroying Things Faster Than You Can Fix Them…If You Could. But You Can’t. So You Better Just Get Used To It.”
My poor house. Sometime after it was built in 1924, it settled violently northward. The slant is extreme enough that when something goes missing, we know to look under our youngest son’s bed, since everything ends up there eventually. Additionally, all my cakes come out crooked, though anyone familiar with home maintenance would try to tell you that the lack of ninety degree angles in our house is a much bigger issue. Personally, I couldn’t care less, or didn’t, until we tried to replace a piece of drywall. Two years later, it’s still wedged sideways behind the stove and both my dear spouse and I have tacitly agreed just to pretend it isn’t there.
Okay, the problem here is, maybe my husband and I have no right to own a house. We lack the technical know-how to fix most problems in a NORMAL house, never mind this slanty shanty we inhabit. Also, we don’t have the money to hire anyone or have any really useful tools. Plus we are more fond of just about anything other than working on our house. I’m not saying that we couldn’t acquire the skills to fix the million and one things that need to be done, but really, we’d prefer to remain married and joint home projects, judging from our past attempts, are just tempting fate.
This is the time of year it starts to get to me. I’ve been cooped up inside long enough that each little flaw is beginning to drive me crazy. Every so often I wake up growly and stomp through the house getting ready for the day and muttering under my breath about everything I see. “STOMP…..grumble, grumble …busted handle…grumble,grumble…hole in wall…grumble …toxic mold…STOMP…. grumble….” These are not pleasant mornings for my spouse. His options are limited. Attempt a home project, which we’ve already established will not go well, or attempt to reason with me…. in the middle of winter…in the morning. Good luck, buddy. Most days I think he’s darn lucky to have me. On days like this, even I must admit bachelorhood has it’s advantages.
In my most recent episode, he chose option number two; reason with the beast. And yeeeees, his points were well made; people who have nice houses are very house focused. They spend a lot of time and effort and money on their homes. We could have a nice, well maintained, neat house…but the time to do it has to come from time taken away from something else. Well, forget that. Between the kids, the bare bones housework, internet scrabble and obsessive viewings of Biggest Loser, I can’t figure out where that time would come from. We have one sweet, little slice of the day, between the kids’ bedtimes and when we pass out, comatose from exhaustion, that is ours and I guard that time zealously. No WAY I’m changing out a faucet or hanging a shelf then. Plus, keep in mind that the time we need will be double the projected time line of any given endeavor, since we will end up doing everything twice. Once to throughly mess everything up and a second time to fix it. I just haven’t got the stamina.
So that’s it. I need to make my peace with my home the way it is right now. No new floor in the entry way…no kitchen remodel…no breakfast nook. There is red wine and Biggest Loser reruns on hulu.com, so things could be worse. I could be working on my house.