Other than going to yoga at 10:00 (never pass up the opportunity to balance on your hands with your knees in your armpits) I spent all of Saturday at Erin’s new house. It is now 12:39 a.m. – technically Sunday morning – and I’m damned tired.
Did you hear? Erin’s new house! Erin is now the second owner of a 50-year-old two-bedroom in a decent neighborhood and centrally located to good roads. Only the second owner! It’s the perfect little cottage.
But while the previous owners (Charles and Evelyn Schuldte) may have stayed in one place all that time, they unfortunately hadn’t spent much of that time cleaning.
I don’t know tons about Charles and Evelyn, but I know they had a dog, and maybe more than one cat. Don’t ask me how I know that. I’ll just say that I helped pull the carpet out Monday and Tuesday night and we’ll think no more about it.
I know they smoked cigarettes. A lot of cigarettes.
I also know they painted over peeling wallpaper in the two bedrooms.
Fifty years. Think about all that time.
I’m wondering: How long would a bud vase, holding what no doubt was a silk flower, have to sit in the same spot on the same ledge before the accumulation of cigarette smoke and vegetable oil left a fairly clean spot on the wall in the shape of said flower? Because I saw it.
That house had not been cleaned in a long, long time.
We spent seven hours there today. Seven humorous, grueling hours. I now have bits/shards/motes of 30-year-old paint and prehistoric wallpaper in my eyes, paint in my hair, calf cramps, and a blister that actually ceased being a blister when it broke open an hour ago.
But before you start thinking what a lovely, selfless friend I am, just know that Erin started it. She and I (and Amy) did a heckuva lot of work in my attic last winter.
I got home two hours ago. Since then, I’ve been sitting in my filthy clothes, hunched over my laptop, my hands limp on the keyboard in a gesture of twisted devotion.
Why, why have I not stepped into a shower yet? I’ve entered that strange, dreamy territory of having worked way too long. This kind of inertia gives me time to think my thoughts, important thoughts...
Thoughts like 'how many packs do you think Charles and Evelyn smoke a day?' 'How fabulous will the hardwood floors look once they’re done?' 'How can wallpaper come off in such tiny, ridiculous pieces?'
'And why am I still not in the shower?'
2 hours ago