Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Foundation Repair

Shortly after I moved into this house I wanted to do a little "repair" work.  There were cracks in the walls, windows, problems here and there, thing that get overlooked, skipped, missed, when life is too busy and you work full time out of the house (and sometimes out of the state).  The house had been silently, sadly, but not maliciously, neglected.  It was in fact, a house, and not yet a home.  After my good friend, bathroom remodeler and old neighbor, Robert came over, we became aware of some foundation issues, and after three quotes, we decided to spend all our vacation and kitchen remodel money having the foundation repaired and house leveled.  The game of Jenga that was holding the house up simply had to go.  We swallowed hard and signed the contract.  Then the ewer main collapsed.  The camera down the muck revealed collapsed WWII clay pipes, under the sidewalk, broken into bits, invaded by roots, and in sad need of replacement.

When you buy a house, you expect a few things to go wrong, but mostly you dream of repainting, new tiles, matching light fixtures, garden projects, throw pillows, and the like.  Expensive yes, but with daily, visual impact, and emotional return on investment.

I visited a cousin's house once, it was a neat and tidy affair, but when I went looking for a bath towel, the cabinets were a jumbled mess, nothing folded, everything shoved in and doors slammed shut.  Like the clown car of organizing, the surface was nice, but underneath it was a chaotic overstuffed mess.

Being one who loves metaphors, I am beginning to see how the last year of my life has been about rebuilding my foundation.  I spent 10 years focused on the paint chips, never realizing that the stucco beneath was crumbling.  I spackeled and spackeled, but never succeeded in covering the real cracks, the cracks in my gently, delicate soul.

I am starting from scratch in so many ways these days.  I have nothing, so I am building again.  But I am starting with the foundation, leveling the floor, repairing the pipes, squaring the corners, repouring the footings, so that going forward the curtains will hang straight, the paint not cover up the flaws.

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