Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Little Advice, or, The Way of the Polar Bear

I'm taking a break from my Letter Writing Challenge because this entry will write itself all on its own.

Monday morning (as if that weren't bad enough) I was roused from the semi-sleep that I float around in after F's 5am feeding by a severe knock on my bedroom door. P moaned and rolled over.

"Yes?" I called.

P rolled back over and started to flail around as if attempting to hurl himself toward the edge of our rather large bed. "I'll get her!" he slurred as he clawed his way out from under the covers. He assumed that HC had missed the bus, as usual.

P and I have an ongoing "discussion" about situations like this. My position is, if HC misses the bus, she better be prepared to meet the wrath of ME because getting to the bus is her JOB and jobs must BE DONE. P doesn't get a free pass if he doesn't turn in his column on time, I don't get a magic wand to take care of my business and she doesn't get to wake us up at that ungodly hour when we probably only got in bed four hours earlier just because she spent two extra minutes perfecting her mascara. Or whatever. P, on the other hand, is a softy and tries to shield HC from the fire-breathing dragon that I become on those mornings. Hence the half-conscious flailing and clawing.

However, the voice on the other side of the door broke in --

"I hate to wake you guys up so early...but...the house is flooded. Again."

Suddenly, P's flailing stopped. I muttered an expletive. Neither of us moved for a second.

"Is it bad?" I called out.

"It's pretty bad," she answered.

This time, P relaxed and nestled under the covers. "I'll just let you get this, if you don't mind," he whispered with his eyes closed.

Twelve hours, three dead mice and over 100 gallons of water later, our entire downstairs is being remodeled. For those of you who haven't seen my downstairs, it consists of HC's bedroom, a guest bedroom, A's old bedroom, a TV room, two bathrooms and a long hallway. It isn't pretty.

This all could have worked out a lot better if I had just gone and done the re-tiling down there already. You see, it has flooded every year for four years now, each time a different reason. Each time it messed up the floor a little more, and each time we would file with the insurance and resolve to replace the floor. The cork floor that we were so proud of (it's different! it's cool! it's eco-friendly! it's easy to install!) has proven a complete disaster. Even better than the way it looked though, is the fact that as I ripped it out with my bare hands, dripping with the frigid, unstoppable water that seeped in through the floor and the walls, I was charmed to discover the mold we've been propogating underneath it.

Last fall I almost committed to a new floor down there, but then my spendthrift kicked in and I thought, who cares if it looks a little beat up? It's not like we're trying to sell this house. We can live with it. Who wants to spend that kind of money for a cosmetic change anyway? Plus, it would have involved moving all the furniture and where would HC sleep?

Turns out, I was wrong.

By the time I went down to see what HC was talking about, the cork had absorbed so much water that what had once been a seamless floor was a series of haphazard cork boards strung around the room, not even attached to each other. They were floating around like little rafts. Trooper the cat was sitting on one board looking up at me pathetically, as if to say, "Please, don't make me go the way of the polar bear. I have no claws. I can't catch my own salmon."

Needless to say, I have my work cut out for me. When you give a mouse a cookie, she will want to go ahead and repaint while the furniture is cleared away, and why not throw in some new curtains as well. Oh, and let's just swap the kids' bedrooms while we're at it. No biggie.

A Little Advice: When it comes to homeownership, it's important to know the subtle difference between "cosmetic" and "necessary before the whole darn thing blows to pieces".

1 comment:

  1. I resent this biased opinion of my morning ritual.
    First off, my dad loves me. He gladly drives me to school in the morning because he knows that in the not-distant-at-all future, he won't have that chance because I'll be at college. Don't try to portray our bonding time as anything less than wonderful.

    Secondly, my mascara is always perfect.