There's a man in my bathroom, with a saw, cursing at old pipes which will not ease their rusted grip on the century these eleven years past. (I quickly learn that it's not necessary for me to come running when he expounds on the state of This Old House.)
O ye useless pipes.
A new floor, a new sink, new toilet, new trim. The old clawfoot tub, about a million pounds and an ornery bastard to negotiate. The carpenter and I moved it on Saturday, careful to not crush toes or arches, bones. Devised a way to drag it, on a second-hand rug and a length of cardboard box found in the garage, and flattened. Now the tub sits in the kitchen and looks embarassed, like a woman caught bathing on a riverbank. Surrounded by the chaos of Home Improvement. Paint. Drop cloths. Etc.
It's always an adventure having someone work on the house. There's the conversation -- or sometimes not. I prefer the conversation, the digging beneath the hired skills to discover the fallibility of the human on the other side of the tools. The half-spoken clues to a life lived elsewhere. Every soul with his/her story.
This particular soul exclaims loudly and often. The same man that I heard cursing and conversing with a 40-year-old Toyota engine in the process of repair, parked on the street outside where I work, a year or two ago. How contained and finite our world seems, at times. Now he's making his commotion chez-moi, amidst a new floor which resembles cork but is actually vinyl, and was a beast to install. But it's my new floor and last night I was tempted to lie face-down on it and extend a warm embrace. Good-bye old life. Hello new faux cork.
My days once again are spent often in the presence of carpenters/contractors/builders with a cultural and intellectual intelligence that challenges stereotypes. It's something I missed sorely in my recent life afield. Glad to be back among the literati carpenteria. The woman who, last spring, installed my new shower, just began law school on a full-ride scholarship. Goddamn.
Easier, with this backdrop, to process the curt note from NoGoode which arrived in the mail. His explanation for Things Neglected. I would prefer not even a microscopic specimen of his DNA in my home, but perhaps in this tying-up of last details I can look forward to a fall-winter-and-onto-spring with a horizon clear of turbulence.