It seems pretty clear now that I was not intended to be a drywall professional.
That business is too much like work.
My enlightenment comes to me following six, long weeks of home renovation. I know it may seem unnecessary to say “six long weeks.” Everyone knows how long a week is, so they can pretty easily discern the length of six of them. That measure is the actual time – six weeks – but it doesn’t seem to adequately define the amount of exertion my wife and I have put into the project.
You knew there was a woman involved in this story, didn’t you?
Nancy and I bought a home in August. Typically, my approach to a home for which you pay a mountain of money is NOT to disturb the work that others, who have gone before, have put into the dwelling.
For Nancy, however, this home seems to be like the empty pallet of a painter, awaiting the inner home to emerge. It is emerging.
This part of her nature is a simple fact. Nancy has a vision for design that is far beyond my ability to grasp in its infancy. In its maturity, however, the projects that are vision almost always seem to become the obvious thing to do.
This particular six-week project envisioned a walk-in closet. In the end, I wonder why the house wasn’t built this way from the start.
It has required physical labor of extreme, the kind through which you wonder whether your spine will continue to support your head and shoulders. It is the kind of weekend labor that – when you do finally sleep on a Saturday night – you wake up Sunday morning wondering where you are.
We began by moving the office – previously in a spare bedroom – to the basement. Then we painted the office to become daughter Ashley’s room. Then the real work began.
We tore out small closets in two other bedrooms preparing to open a doorway from one to the other for the other bedroom to become the walk-in closet.
For the uninitiated, tearing out drywall creates a huge mess of dust and little bits of plaster-like pieces. It also left surprises like electrical wiring that had to be dealt with immediately. It created gaps in drywall and ceilings that did not appear in the original vision — more surprises.
Tearing out however creates nothing like the mess of putting the puzzle pieces back into a new order.
The good news is that all is now back in order, repainted, and Nancy and I are still happily married.
Another bit of good news is we both feel quite accomplished in our work that we have struggled through. We never imagined the difficulty and at times thought we couldn’t overcome the difficulties. In the end, we did find a way to achieve the goal. Somehow other tasks that seemed foreboding don’t seem so daunting for the future.
Nancy did say to me five weeks into the six-week project, “If I suggest something like this again, tell me, ‘No!’”
Then after week six and the painting of the closet was finished, I sat on the sofa in the den and she cast her eyes around that room and peered into the kitchen.
“You know, if we were to take out this wall, this space would be so much more open and spacious and happy.”
“Not today,” I said.