Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why have I been AWOL?

I couldn’t get it together over the last several months to complain about anything in writing because I was complaining so much about everything and everyone verbally. It takes a lot of effort to get stressed out about all of the annoying things in the world and to internalize and vocalize all of that annoyance. I’m usually pretty good as spurting out my annoyances on Splenda Sucks, but I’ve realized even I have limits.

We completed a house remodel. After all the couch surfing and even finding ourselves in a hotel for one desperate night, we cleared out the four storage units and paid off a high-priced mover and schlepped all of our stuff into our house.

I had a vision that the day I moved back into my house, I would be running around turning on faucets, flicking light switches, testing the stove flames and lying on the floor. I imagined myself giddy with excitement, gliding from room to room like the people on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, saying “Oh my God!!” every time I entered a room. I would take a deep breath and look around at the pictures on the wall, the house fully furnished. “Come here! Look at this!” I would scream in my dreams, beckoning Brad to see how the drawers opened and closed as smoothly and gently as a rocket docking with a spaceship in slow motion. “Wow! Look at all this hot water!” I would exclaim. “The paint job is amazing!!!” That was my vision.

The reality is very different. I saw every bit of construction, every fixture going in, and every cost overrun that accompanied anything that we did. For days and days, we moved things out of storage units and my friend Mark’s attic. We looked at things that had been carefully wrapped in plasticky bubbles and locked away for a year, only to pull them out of their storage spots and peer down upon them with disdain: how am I going to deal with this thing? This sofa looks like ass. This bookshelf looks old and scratched. This looks ugly. This looks uglier. And so, a few days later, after all of those precious items had been dragged to Goodwill or, in many cases, taken to the dump, I looked around at the emptiness and wondered how the hell we were going to furnish our new house.

Person after person would ask me, “How’s your house? You must be thrilled that it’s all done.”

I would always smile. “Oh, gosh. It’s great. But we still have a few punch list items that need to be dealt with.” I laughed, trying hard to be nonchalant. “Just minor things, of course.”

And then I would go home. I would look around and see piles of things that belonged in places, but didn’t know what those places would be. I would see imperfectly tiled walls, wallboards with unsightly seams, floors that popped, unpainted surfaces, an old front door.

Bit by bit, the contractors made minor progress on the punch list. The new front door arrived, the tile was fixed, the wallboards caulked. But moving into an unfinished house, knowing the contractor could pop by at any time to work on this or that, made me anxious. I was grouchy and pissy. And I wasn’t alone.

So I thought it best to spare you my wrath until I got my groove back. And now, I think, maybe I have. The house is coming together, many visitors have dropped by, and furnishings and pictures are appearing here and there. Slowly, but surely, I’m discovering other things about which I can complain: things that can find their way to Splenda Sucks.

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