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Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Labor Of Love

There comes a point in every major project when I growl to myself, “What the  %#*?*#  was I thinking?”

I reached such a point last night. It felt like the 99th hour of cleaning out my middle child’s room and I was fed up. (If you recall, this is the project I referenced the other day. We are swapping our home office and a bedroom. Our younger two kiddos will share a room and the office will go to the smaller room. Oh, and we’re ripping up carpet and installing laminate too. And painting.)

What I’m about to describe are middle-class problems. I am keeping that in mind, even as I gripe about how this project has grown jagged teeth and horns. We’re grateful to have a safe place to live. We have what we need. I don’t take that for granted. And yet. And yet this room swap project has become more work than I’d realized. By 8:30 last night the Do It Yourselfer in me needed a break. I’d been in that room for hours, moving things out so that we can take up the carpet. By evening I’d picked up countless Legos and other tiny toys as well as hundreds of pieces of broken Styrofoam “peanuts,” sneezing as my dust allergies kicked into a higher gear. Muttering about having way too much stuff.   

Will I be finished by September 3? That’s fifteen days from now, the Monday before most schools start, the day people cling desperately to the last hours of summer. They set up pop-up tents at the beach and bay, determined to spend every remaining second of daylight in summer mode. Me, I’ll probably be laboring on Labor Day, wrestling carpet away from adhesive. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.  

Yes, I did take on this project but in my defense, some of it is Hubby’s fault. (He’s smirking as he reads this, I suspect. We have an ongoing joke about things being his fault.) He described installing laminate flooring as easy-peasy (my words), something that could be done in half a day, an almost-instant solution to our dirty carpet issue.

Last night when I informed Hubby that this project was much more of an ordeal than he’d led me to believe, he shot me The Look (the one that means, “Woman, how could you think this would be an easy project?”). I volleyed back with my raised-eyebrow stare (the one that means, “You described this as a quick, easy fix to the grimy carpet situation. You didn’t mention I’d have to scrape glue off the floor once the carpet was up. How would I know glue is involved? I don’t moonlight at Carpeteria!”)

House projects like this are really a labor of love. Our middle child is so excited about moving into the big kid room, about getting the top bunk, about more space and a new chapter. I need to focus on that enthusiasm rather than get sucked into the vortex of negative thoughts about endless projects and messes as far as the eye can see. On the other hand, as I tell Hubby, when I complain about the mess it is actually very therapeutic. I’m communicating. I’m not holding it in until the fateful day when I go berserk and shave his hair into a Mohawk while he’s asleep. Nope. Not going there. I’m doing the constructive thing: I’m getting the frustration out now (verbally) so it can’t boil over. I’m doing it for him. Yeah.
Anyway, the project continues. Slowly. I’m making progress. The end result will be a good fit and it will look awesome. But it’s a big project and I’m a little overwhelmed. And quite tired. My forearms ache. My shoulders are tight. Did I bite off more than I could chew? I don’t know. But I’ve bitten and I’m chewing and it’s too late to go backwards. But please, the next time I announce a DIY house project that can’t possibly take that much time to do, would you remind me of this saga? Make me stop!


  1. Dear Wifey,

    It's all my fault. The installation of Pergo is easy; that room will take 3 to 4 hours. It's the floor preparation that could take time. At least there shouldn't be asbestos flooring in this room that we've got to contend with. Jasco is the key to glue removal. It's still all my fault. Keep plugging away. You're doing a great job!

    I probably got the crayons our daughter used for drawing on those walls. While you're cleaning up Picasso's work and painting the walls, you can blame me. If you need to shave my head, then please do so. I hope your muscles have recuperated, and that you realize that you're doing a great job. But yes darling, it's absolutely all my fault.

    Just remember, once you're done with these two rooms, there are 3 more and a hallway waiting for your magic touch.



    ps: You can ask me for help :)

    pss: Hey, did I mention it's my fault?

  2. Well, thank you. It's now public record that you are taking responsibility. That takes maturity. But you're still in the dog house!