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Archive for February, 2012

from Sunday, November 20

Big Work Day! Powers and Keszey clans at the house. Start by tearing out the blanket, foam insulation and Tyvek disaster that’s served as the front door for the last long while, which I gleefully huck into the dumpster to the soundtrack of classical music from the truck radio. I’m thinking of Tom Hanks crashing through scaffolding in The Money Pit. Jacob and I can’t stop noticing the similarity between that old house, full of outstanding, calamitous surprises, and the one we’re moving into. We’ve been reassuring each other constantly that “the house is gonna be great!”

We’ve stocked the truck with all of the necessary supplies for our mission: raincoats, nails, a staple gun, paint cans, drop cloths. A carafe of hot coffee and a dozen donuts. Mop, vacuum, yellow rubber gloves, and a bucket full of cleaning agents: I turned a blind eye and sprang for Clorox, Tilex, and Pledge. (My sister-in-law says it’s “scary” how well Tilex works. Perfect.)

The house looks like it’s maybe been abandoned. Cobwebs float along the ceiling and walls; the doors and windows are mostly trim-less (aside from the front door, which is door-less); the kitchen sink is clogged; the lights are freckled with dead flies and their legacies of mung; the stately parlor furnace is rusty and worn. The plywood kitchen floor has sagged and grayed with traffic.

We divide and conquer. By lunchtime we’ve checked off mopping and vacuuming in the downstairs rooms, scrubbing the refrigerator and stove until they once again resemble kitchen appliances, installing a door, beginning to reorganize the forgotten scrap metal, rotten wood, bathtubs, and trash from the front yard, and tilled over the bouncing hills and dales left in the garden by the pigs who lived there last.

At the end of the day, the place has taken on a different feel: we’ve laughed inside it and shared a meal together. We’ve crammed three people into the bathroom and scrubbed unmentionables from the floor, toilet and shower. The house isn’t sparkling or shining, but it’s beginning to stir. I can tell that as we work, the place will slowly waken.

Of course, what Jacob keeps reminding me is turning out to be true: “This whole Waterville idea? It’s not going to be easy.”

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