Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Monday, December 1, 2008

What was I thinking?

It's 3 AM and I have been awake for over an hour, obsessing about the floorless bathroom, and however in the world I am going to finish it, finish the last week of class and prepare for finals, all whilst trying to juggle 5 dogs, a frail father-in-law, a cranky son and husband, all with one bathroom and it's in my bedroom.  At times like these, I wonder why folks have such difficulty getting along and treating each other with kindness.  Like it is already a trying and difficult situation, so let's make it more difficult?

As often happens in an old house, one thing going wrong just seems to lead to 10 more things going wrong.  Suffice it to say, the old floor and sub-floor are out of the hall bathroom;  of course it would rain all day, and by now, it is a veritable river flowing under the house where we are trying to stand whilst working.  Finally, at about 8 p.m. we got the last of the support 2x4s in place along the joists so we can better brace the sub-floor.  We had hoped to have the floor back in and the toilet back in last night, but that just did not happen.

I took a break at 6, put on a clean tee shirt and bandana and cooked ham, eggs, fried potatoes and rolls as that was the fastest thing possible and I knew Chet needed to eat.  About 8, I cleaned up the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher and then went to shower.  Finally all dogs were situated for the night and I was in bed, totally not having graded papers over the break, and unable to find the exam that I have to give at 9 AM today.  

I woke at 1:30 when Chet came in to go to the bathroom and was unable to go back to sleep again, what with beginning to think about the floor and how to finish it so I can get the toilet back in.  I know that accomplishes nothing, and I tried all my usual methods of shutting off my thoughts to get back to sleep, but between Kate hogging my side of the bed and Randy snoring and my overactive mind, it just did not work.  I finally got up, looked for the exam, which I cannot find, and thought perhaps it would help if I just wrote a bit.  Sometimes that helps me clear my thinking, release the thoughts that are troubling me, and help me see the things that I am missing.

I remember in St. Paul this past summer how the first few nights I would awaken mid-sleep cycle, my brain just overloaded with experiences.  I would journal, sometimes for an hour or two, and it was amazing what my experiences were producing in terms of clarity.  Now while I don't think I am having that kind of "epiphany" here this morning, it does remind me of it, and how often I resolve issues at early hours.  I used to have the greatest clarity and understanding just as I got in the shower upon awakening.  It was like some kind of thought process was going on during my sleep hours that resolved all kinds of issues for me.

Maybe it is all that there was just too much in a short period of time this week.  It has been bittersweet having Chet here--reminds me of missing Jean, and thinking about what she would have been saying or doing while here.  When I suggested ham and eggs for dinner last night, Chet said he and Jean used to have that on Saturday nights.  

J is getting ready to go to California for a couple of weeks to visit his friend.  They have been planning it for some while, and I don't know why now is suddenly the timing, but I am glad he is getting to go.  She was supposed to visit here last summer, but was unable to get off work at the time.  He will be out there for Christmas.  I was kind of excited that for the first time in several years, he and his dad and I would be here at home for Christmas.  Two years ago, Rando was gone, and last year, Rand and I both were gone and J stayed here.  Looks like this year it will just be me and Rand and the dogs.  At least by then, I hope to have a nice new bathroom. :)

And, alas, back to the bathroom.  The plan for the sub-flooring and flooring is complicated only a tiny bit by still not knowing whether we are going back in with a tub/shower combo or just building a shower.  The bath (being an old house, and a hall bath) is quite small and does not lend itself to many options.  We want to make re-plumbing the shower as easy as possible, given it may be difficult to find a plumber willing to crawl through the LaBrea Tar Pits to get underneath the bathroom and re-fit the drain if need be.  I know plumbers deal with all kinds of unpleasantries in their line of work, but it defies my imagination that one would want to crawl under this house right now.  So, my main goal for the moment is to just get a toilet back in there, which will make dog and bathroom juggling immensely easier on all of us.

In the meantime, I need to chalk this one up for future remembering:  no matter how simple the job seems, allow 4 times longer than I needed; never do it at the end of the semester; never do it thinking you will be done before company arrives.  After I had dumped about the 15th 5 gallon bucket of destruction debris yesterday, I was walking back to the house asking myself why I bought this house.  Withe each new thing we have to repair, replace, or rebuild where Will did not know what he was doing, and apparently, neither did the home inspector that we paid a hefty sum to assess the condition of the home before signing on the dotted line, I have wished that we had never bought it.  As much as I love my little hill, my neighborhood, the awesome view when I am sitting in my front yard enjoying the birds or the chimenea, the "cosmetic" things the home inspector said were the only real problems have turned out to be a bit of an understatement.

At times like these, I just call to mind the people I know in South Africa living in a two room shanty with leaking roof, no bathroom or toilet of any kind, linoleum on top of a sand floor, no running water (except for what drips through the roof when it rains) and it helps me get it all back into perspective.  Or as my friend would likely say, I am just being way too serious again. :)

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