The humid air clings to me like plastic wrap. I am sitting in my rocking chair on the front porch between two fans. A chorus of frogs and crickets is finishing their nightly concert.
After taking a sip of coffee, I dip my spoon into a white china bowl, scooping up milk and cheerios, slurping greedily. I turn and look into the abyss — our gutted living room, dining room, and kitchen.
On top of broken and cracked floorboards, metal electrical cable lies coiled, as if waiting to strike. Garbage is strewn everywhere and sour-smelling plaster dust coats everything in the room.
I shudder and turn back to my cheerios, a small normal phenomenon that helps me keep my sanity during the home renovation that has consumed our lives.
Who knows what torture lies ahead? More inspections, fibers from insulation embedding themselves in the tender tissue of our lungs, Sheetrock, spackling, and the horror of sanding, dust everywhere, in every pore, every crevice of everything around us.
Will we survive this ordeal? Despair, penury, and doom loom in the future — hope has abandoned us. Will the plumber come today? or the electrician? or the inspector? or will we sit, and wait and wait and wait, with no progress at all, on another day, of the endless days, of the stifling hot, humid, dog days of summer.
Beware, unsuspecting homeowner, do not be deceived by the promises of anyone, no matter how trustworthy, the fates will inevitably intervene and delay your project in the most diabolical manner conceivable. Your hopes will rise and you will be giddy with joy when small progress is made, but don’t let this inflate you with optimism — the anvil of the unexpected will smash your overconfidence and crush it into oblivion. Nothing will get done most days and all of your begging, whining, and pleading will have no effect at all. If anything, your project will move backwards. You will need to move electrical outlets, drill holes, open up Sheetrock, close Sheetrock, it will never end, the dust, the dirt, the whir of drills, the machine gun fire of the air compressor, the vicious blows from the hammer guns, the whine of saws, and of course the tiny particles in the air that seize your throat in a choke-hold every time you enter the construction zone, and last but not least, don’t forget the sickly sweet odor of sewer gas from the vents for the new kitchen sinks.
Is it all worth it? The expense, the agony, the sweat, tears, coughing, lack of sleep, hunger, and thirst that you will suffer if you have the hubris, the cockiness, the false pride and confidence to ever attempt to renovate your home. Woe to you, dreamer, abandon your wild thoughts of a bigger room, new appliances, and cabinets. Plant yourself on solid ground and look away from the beautiful kitchens in the magazines — it is not for you, a mere mortal.