Friday, June 24, 2011

A New Pot to P In

by Zinta Aistars

You know how it is, you cheaters, you who step out looking for another someone better and prettier and younger ... eventually you come to your senses and return home. You know where you've got it best.

That's what I did. I left my old house to go seeking a new house, and for a while I was seduced by all those pretty facades ... to the point of making an offer, a tempting proposition, leading to negotiation, a flirtation of numbers back and forth until we stood toe to toe, threshold to threshold, about to cross to closing ...

... but I did not cross that threshold. My money stayed in my pocket. I withdrew my offer and knew where I had it best.

That old house. My house, the same one I'd been living in for the past 16 years or so.

Oh well, okay, it's no palace (but it is my little castle) and it's not even the house where I plan to stay ever and forever. But it's a pretty kewl little place. Especially after I'd renovated much of it. I had given the old house my imprint, the colors and general lines of my personality. Over time, we had grown to reflect aspects of each other, as two partners do who have spent many years side by side.

And now I felt a little guilty. I owed my old house an apology for stepping out. A gift.

How about a new bathroom? I offered. House smiled.

My son was up for the challenge. After all, if our plans continued on this route, the house would someday-not-so-distant be his, and I would be moving to ... somewhere else. If my house hunt was on hold, the 110-mile daily commute that drove me to it is not. I still have that problem to solve. And lo and behold if other living opportunities are not opening up ... but that is another blog.

My penance, then. A new bathroom. We would remodel one of the two in the house. My son and I planned the logistics. Tape measure, diagrams, ideas, plans. The floor would come up. The vanity would come out. A new window would be inserted. The mirrored medicine chest would be plucked from the wall. And the walls would see fresh paint.

We shopped until we nearly dropped, tying the new vanity to the roof of the car. Tools, grout, spacers, saws, safety goggles, bags and boxes from store to car to home in offerings of peace and old love renewed.

The racket has begun. Saws sawing, drills drilling, hammers hammering. My garage has turned into my son's workshop, my car has been relegated outside to the driveway, as he works on materials, sawing boards and tiles, and prepares for the bathroom renovation. Three layers of flooring come up, surprise beneath surprise, each layer uglier than the one before, until we reach a gold-speckled laminate. Eek.

We ponder who has lived here decades ago, what stories were theirs, what these walls and floors have witnessed. How many bare bodies have dripped and primped in this bathroom over the past decades? I close my eyes and shiver a little. Behind the old vanity, now in the driveway awaiting a garage sale, are patches of wall from other lives, layers of wild color, yellow, pink, gray with maroon splotches. Hints of the personalities of previous residents.

Day by day the transformation continues. My old house accepts the change and gives up her layers of what has been for what will be.

Will I be forgiven for my stalled house hunting venture? May it be so. I appreciate my old house more than ever. I feel the comfort the moment I walk in. All is in its place, and every place suits me - or soon will.

Only the toilet still sits on the back deck, beneath the trees, birds chirping cheerily overhead.

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