Coming Home: Not alone living amid the unfinished projects
If I were more of a linguist, I would have the term for it. But you know what I’m talking about. It’s that crack in the Sheetrock in the living room, right in the corner above the TV that really peeved you off when you first noticed it.
The one you tried to call a contractor about a few times, but he never called you back so you just went on living, on to the next task, the next thing that needed fixing. Pretty soon that crack just sort of blended into the fabric of your existence, like the faded ketchup stain on the sofa seat and the constant kid handprints on the refrigerator, the flaws that go unnoticed until you’re preparing for a holiday party or an important family gathering. And then suddenly that crack morphs into this giant elephant in the room that you’re sure will cause immeasurable judgment from your company, and dangit, Harold, we should have had that fixed months and months ago.
Why didn’t we get that fixed months ago?
OK. So I’m a woman who has been living in a house under construction for most of my married life. Because I wed a man who has just the right amount of knowhow and crazy to take on complete house remodeling projects and then, when that didn’t kill us, a near complete build from scratch.
Right now, as I type, I’m sitting on a deck that, for two and a half years, has been partially completed. It’s really nice and will probably be even nicer when he finally gets around to building us a staircase so we can get down to the lawn without going through the house.
I’m looking forward to that even if it means I’ll feel less like Rapunzel, sort of trapped up here, looking down on my little lawn kingdom complete with an incomplete retaining wall and barbed wire temporarily stretched across where those nice garden gates will hang someday.
Someone needs to get married out here again or something so we can get the rock siding finished, for crying out loud.
Yes, I’ve learned to be patient. Because what choice do I have? I don’t have a clue how to build a staircase and I’m not crazy enough to attempt it under the “if you want something done you gotta do it yourself” motto. Carpentry was never one of those skills I really cared to acquire. I’ve acquired enough skills I didn’t want, thankyouverymuch.
Oh, I know I’m not the only one who suffers this way. I mean, I have a few friends who live behind manicured lawns along city streets who spend their weekends checking off lists at the Home Depot and even they have a missing tile somewhere. Right?
Anyway, while I’m becoming alarmingly immune to unfinished projects, I was reminded that I’m not alone by none other than my own flesh and blood last weekend when I enjoyed a few family suppers on my parents’ deck, gathering together because my uncle was home from Texas for a few days. My parents have a backyard that has a sweet view up a beautiful, tree-filled coulee. Their deck is right off their dining room and kitchen, making it easy to enjoy meals outdoors on summer nights.
If it wasn’t for that dang screen door.
Seriously, that screen door. I swear. It’s been years, YEARS, of needing to have the right touch to get it to slide open, of guests struggling with a plate of food in one hand and a desperate look of awkward panic on their faces as they attempt to find that right maneuver before being rescued and let outside by my dad, who eventually always just sort of kicks it off its tracks and says something like, “I swear I just fixed that.” Mom makes this aggressive sigh of resignation before we can all sit down and relax until, heaven forbid, someone forgot there was noodle salad inside.
And I only mention this because it makes me feel better.
About all our unfinished trim. And the crack in the Sheetrock.
And this island of a deck.
If I were a linguist, I’d have a word for it.
If I were a carpenter … well … I’d probably have more unfinished projects.