Friday, May 11, 2007

Tonight after picking the kids up from school we got takeout at Greenlife and had a picnic on the front porch of the house that we've been renovating for an entire year, and which finally passed inspection today, a mere six months later than we had been told it would happen.

I won't go into the whole convoluted explanation, but because of the above and a series of unfortunate incidents, we have lived in three different houses in two months and still are not able to move. The electric hasn't been switched to permanent (a process that could take days--though extension cords will work--thank god for summer), and the painters seemed to think they could do half the job they agreed to do and somehow it would be totally okay if they closed up shop and took off at the end of the day today. Also, construction work creates a lot of dust--all over, in places you've never even dreamed dust would stand a fighting chance, in places where the sun don't shine. And so you have to fight back, a lot, and go through piles of rags, with the cleaning supply you need always somewhere else, or just lost in the boxes of junk, even though you're sure you just saw it three minutes ago, all of which makes you have to sit down and rest your head on your knees.

But! We are really and truly getting closer to actually living there. Tonight we thought one of us would sneak in a bit of unpacking while the other watched the kids and then we'd call it a night. But it so happened that the playroom is close to being unpacked, and I brought the kids into it, and they were delighted to recognize their own things--the rug, the books, the toys. And they plunked themselves down with a couple of toys and played quietly together for at least twenty minutes, perfectly at home.

A couple of weeks ago when Alex and I were having a difficult parenting patch, he said, "Don't worry; when we move into the new house, the kids will practically raise themselves." He was joking, of course, in that way that he does. But his comment also highlighted how crazed and stressful things have been for all of us, in all domains, even our kids, though they don't always act that way and certainly never articulate it.

Tonight, the three of them sat down on the alphabet rug, and some kind of magic came over them. They were calm, focused, cooperative; they were completely engaged and at peace.

Earlier on in the renovation process, we had an electrician who was concerned about the bad energy in the house and ran around with smudge sticks to ward off the evil spirits. (This is Asheville, don't forget.) I'm not sure if that was part of the charge, or just some pro bono work he felt inspired to do. Our contractor fired him (unrelated issues) and we never heard from him again.

Now I kind of see there's some truth to what Alex said, and the smudge stick electrician might have been onto something.

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