Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mystery, solved

A large volume of you, my thorough blog readers, have asked me why on Earth I was packing all my things and putting them in boxes.

O.K. Two of you have asked me why on Earth I was packing all my things and putting them in boxes. Was I moving, perhaps to London?

The truth is not all that exciting. (Well, not to you, anyway.)

I finally decided to make a seven-year-old dream of mine come true: to rip out the carpet in my house and replace it with hardwood floors.

I initially managed, with an artfully conniving blend of bald-faced lies and sprinkles of strategically timed denial, to delude myself into thinking it would be a piece of cake. And then I got hit with the very things people tell you are going to happen when you do any kind of remodel: complications.

The carpet could be ripped out, and wood put in, but I’d have to pack up the house. No, I wouldn’t be able to move things from one room into the other, but rather would have to remove them entirely. And, of course, I’d have to strip out the floorboards and replace them. I’d need a painter, obviously, to retouch them once that job was done. So, eureka, I’d freshen the paint in the whole house, while I was at it. And, once the aforementioned, undesired carpet was yanked out, it was revealed, in an alarming twist of fate, that the entrance to the house from the garage was concrete – not wood – and therefore I’d have to use tile, which I’d need to select, along with the right color of sanded grout.

So, initially I convincingly persuaded myself that the job would take about two weeks, three at the most, and instead our things have been in boxes for almost a month – and we have at least another few weeks to go, since the varnish on the floors has to dry, and the floors themselves have to rest, take naps, settle and go through a curing period before painters can traipse through with their drop cloths, blue tape and heavy boots.

So you’re wondering, am I at all repentant for embarking on a complicated venture of these proportions so soon into a New Year? Do I feel guilty for dragging my unsuspecting husband into this mess?

No. I feel ecstatic. The father and son team of contractors who are working on the floor is dreamy: punctual, respectful, courteous, talented and best of all, they argue with each other loudly and in Polish (while Luca and I liberally contribute with commentary in Italian). The place looks amazing in bamboo (Luca would not hear of anything that was not ecologically responsible, the scoundrel).

When I come home in the evening, I open the door and, despite the fact that everything is covered in the finest veil of dust and the project is not even finished, I feel as if the house were the architectural equivalent of a loving dog, luminous, welcoming and happy to see me. Which is, I’ve decided, the least you can expect from the place you live.

I was, in addition, very disciplined about what went into those boxes I packed, throwing out and giving away many things (despite protests of a certain someone who shall remain nameless but who lives with me), so I feel cleansed and purified after having concluded a pretty drastic re-haul. As an added bonus, our bed is currently in the kitchen, which gives new meaning to the words “breakfast in bed”.

So, is making the extra effort to be happy with your space worth it? Yes. Never underestimate the power of surrounding yourself with something beautiful.


Anonymous said...

It's a lot more elaborate a process than I orginally imagined and it's not over yet. And you forgot to mention the rehaul on the crawl space, the rat in the heating ducts and the cleaning out of your breathing source, all positive tangents, but nonetheless factors in the overhaul, rehaul and transformation of the house. And we haven't even begun yet to redecorate. I'm breathless with admiration but hanging on every phase of progress.

Dushka said...

The unwanted furry houseguests in the crawl space were a pain in the butt. And cleaning out the air vents in the middle of it all was unnerving. But we're inching closer to the part where everything goes back in its place.