I have been grim and morose and feeling as if the whole world is a bad place full of broken appliances and corrupt insurance companies and stupid/mean strangers leaving horrible callous comments on news articles, but I am trying to remember (leaving aside for the moment how this next thought reflects on me) that I am always a little messed up when the kids have a lot of days home from school, and the kids have had a lot of days home from school. Plus it’s January, and January is always kind of crummy.
Also, we had a small kitchen project done, and it meant having workers in the house all day, and there are few things that make me quite so staticky. I was in a total tizz all day, unable to settle anywhere, worried that if I went to the bathroom that would be the exact minute a worker would call out to ask me something, worried that they would think badly of me for sitting there with a book while they were doing hard physical labor, worried that they would ask me something I didn’t know the answer to, regretting things I said in previous interactions with them, and overall nervous to find that I will do and say almost anything as long as they will be nice and finish the work and get out of my house. And also I didn’t have access to the kitchen for a whole day, and I STILL have only partial access, and a quarter of our kitchen is in the dining room, and I hate things being out of place, which you would find very funny if you saw how very cluttered and messy my house is, but each thing is WHERE I EXPECT IT TO BE, which is what I mean by “in place.”
And then I start thinking about how extremely poor I am at coping with even minor upheavals, and how this bodes poorly for retirement years spent traveling or doing really anything, let alone for dealing with anything like a true upheaval, and how very spoiled it is to “not like change” when that change is A GOOD THING like a KITCHEN IMPROVEMENT (I don’t know why I’m acting as if it’s a secret: it’s a new window, really big, like the kind you can start seedlings in, to replace the original 1950s window that got thick ice on the inside of it during the winters) and not, say, GETTING FORCED OUT OF OUR COUNTRY or something, and then I have a little spiral about the news of the world and how terrible it is and how many people are suffering, but before long I’m back to the subject of how for a homemaker I sure don’t keep the house very clean. Or do much cooking. Or enjoy spending much time with the children.
Also I don’t have any good books to read right now. I keep starting new ones and not liking them.
Meanwhile I am annoyed with Paul, and it’s so unfair because he has been a PEACH PIE about the window replacement upheaval, and dealt patiently with a discouraging setback, and was up on the counter taping off the window glass so he can stain the frames, but instead I am focusing on how he broke the handle on the minivan because he “couldn’t tell if the door was locked or frozen shut” SO HE YANKED HARDER, using force instead of investigating to see why something isn’t working as expected. And this is after I finally, finally, FINALLY got around to getting the front passenger door handle replaced after ROB broke it by yanking too hard when the door was locked. And as I watch the paint gradually peel off the bathroom walls because Paul didn’t remember he needed to use primer, I am not too excited about him doing the staining. You may wonder why I am not doing it myself, if I’m so critical of his work. It’s a fair question, and the answer is that I really really don’t want to. I so admire people who just plow through things that need to be done, rather than melting with despair at the slightest thing. I would like to hire one of those people to manage my life. “I want you to be kind and gentle with me, and the cold noble unyielding prow of a ship with everything/everyone else,” I’d say, and they would nod and pat my shoulder and then matter-of-factly make all the phone calls that need to be made, and let me hide in the bedroom while the workers were here.
And also Paul keeps trying to cheer me up by doing nice things like washing the pans after dinner, but then when I’m putting the pans away later there are patches of VISIBLE FOOD AND GREASE on the insides and the outsides so then I have to do them over because I really can’t talk to him about this again, I really can’t, it seriously must be well over a hundred times I’ve explained it by this point, I am done explaining to a grown-ass adult that to wash a dish you have to apply soap and water in a way that removes the food from it—and yet I could have another FIFTY YEARS of this. His grandparents were married for over seventy years. OVER SEVENTY YEARS. Though by the end they were in a nursing home so I assume they were able to stop dealing with the dishes.
And now that we’ve replaced the window it seems like maybe we should paint the kitchen, especially since we already took everything off a wall and two counters so the window guys had space, but you know how it is when you start painting walls and then the cupboards look dingy and then the living room looks dingy by comparison and I don’t think I want to start that. And speaking of painting, the outside of the house is overdue for it. And the lamppost: it’s from the 1950s but we’d finally got it working and attached to an automatic switch, and it made me so happy to see it glowing out there in a neighborly way, and then last winter one of the kids accidentally hit it with a rock in a fluke snow-shoveling incident and broke the top right off of it so we’re just going to replace the whole thing including the very old and probably not very good wiring, and I haven’t called anyone about it for more than a year because I don’t know if I should call an electrician or a landscaper or both or what, and anyway now the ground is frozen again so it has to wait. And doesn’t it seem like all we do is fix a continuous stream of broken things and clean a continuous stream of dirty things until we die, and all that changes is that we get gradually less physically able to handle it?