Monday, November 6, 2006

Fear and Loathing in DIY (III of III)

So, me and the shrink obviously had a lot to talk about. When I arrived the first day she said, "Why are you here?" I said, "I have a lot of anxiety. I hate my new job. I crashed my car. My sisters are bitches. I am really pissed off at my parents for stuff I thought I had long since overcome. I am tired. I thought I was a grown up until my parents died. I have a lot of infuriating things and people in my life and they are not going to stop being infuriating, so I need to learn how not to be infuriated." And then I took a breath.

I had a lot to talk about and just needed to talk to an unbiased party about it. I would talk to my friends about therapy, and what I was working on, and how I felt about it. One of my friends cracked me up when I told her my shrink said I am not a bad person for not wanting to have anything to do with some of the people in my family. My friend told me, "hey we have been telling you that all along, but hey if hearing it from some stranger at a hundred and twenty five dollars an hour makes you feel better, fine be that way." I needed to work through all my feelings so I could make an intelligent informed decision about the house. In a very basic general sense when people die, all their stuff is given a dollar value, and added up, and then all the money they owe is added up. All the money that is owed has to be paid before the probate matters can be closed. My Mom and Dad had a house, and lots of freaking bills. So, the way to pay the bills was to sell the house. I told my sister she could buy half, I could buy half, or we could sell the whole thing. My sister thought it would be great for me to buy the house and for her to live with me. I told her, "Well, Mommy and Daddy chose to allow you to finagle an extended adolescence for yourself and mooch off of them, I am not interested in making that choice. You are my sister, and I love you, and I cannot live with you. I would kill you before lunch the first day."

So then I had to decide do I want to deal with this dilapidated center of most of my bad memories. Luckily, I had talked to my parents about the house, and how I felt about it and why. Of course when my parents became ill, all bets were off. Nobody was cleaning out the gutters, or finding out what leaked, or anything else. We were just taking care of my parents and trying not to spontaneously combust from stress. My parents had a very volatile and passionate relationship. They both had a lot of issues with each other, their parents, their kids and themselves. They so obviously and hopelessly were in it for the long haul with each other that I was well over thirty before I realized that most people do not try that hard at relationships. I also I am still not over the shock that most people do not say "see you later," or something to that effect when they leave the house and "hi, honey I’m home," or something to that effect when they come back. In our family we never say goodbye. Even when my parents were not speaking they still did this. Part of how their passive aggressive unconventional methods of pissing each off manifested was to not take care of the house. My Mom stopped cooking and cleaning, my Dad stopped repairing and maintaining. Obviously the house was in a great state of disrepair.

I spent the vast majority of my childhood under cars, or ladders, or workbenches handing my Dad tools. I knew that it was possible to fix stuff. I knew how to use a lot of tools. I knew I like to fix stuff. I knew I can do any thing I damn well please if I set my mind to it. I knew whether I decided to keep the house or not I was going to have to clear it out, clean it, and fix it, at least a little, myself. I knew I had always thought it was a good idea to get a fixer upper house if you had any ability with fixing stuff at all. I figure if you need to put some elbow grease into a house, you really get to know it, and get to make it your own. Since I would only have to technically pay for half of the house I wold have instant equity, and some cash to begin to do some repairs. The house is a good investment. It is in a desirable area, with good schools, convenient to public transportation and major roadways. Lots of shopping of every imaginable item you could dream to buy, and it has a big yard.

The yard is one of the main reasons I decided I wanted the house. You see, every pet I have had my entire life is buried somewhere in it. I mean except for mon petit amour, the current furry tyrant in my life. After I spent some time and some co-pays talking to the shrink, I got unpissed off beyond the realm of all human comprehension, and could think straight again. Sure this house is the center of most of my bad memories, but it is also the center of most of my good ones. We had so much fun just playing outside when I was little. Yes, back in the day children went outside in nature and shit and actually played with other children. We didn’t need no stinking SEGA. In our house music was important. It was fun. I often catch myself humming and wiggling everywhere including to the Muzak in elevators. To be honest I cannot really dance, it is more like jumping around like a lunatic to a soundtrack, but it is fun as hell. I learned this important life skill, this lunacy, at home.

Now here I am at my construction site. I have a hell of a lot of work still to do here. I call my garage my Hail Mary Garage because prayer is pretty much all that is holding it up. I call my kitchen my Fantasy Kitchen because I fantasize I someday will have the money to gut it. When I started writing this story a few days ago it was because I was having a flare up of being overwhelmed by this process. I have accomplished so much in the past six months. Nothing leaks anymore. I have dragged away dumpster fulls, and car fulls, and everything I could get the garbage men to take fulls of stuff, stuff, stuff and more stuff. I have organized almost everything. I have cleaned a lot of things. I have made a lot of decisions that, a year ago, I thought I would never have the strength to make. I have worked with contractors to make some very serious repairs that could not wait, and needed to be done for my own safety or sanity or both. I have twenty-four cans of paint through which I am slowly but surely working as I get walls scrubbed enough to paint. I have rewired outlets, and hung fixtures. I have overcome my fear of climbing on ladders. I have broken and healed my foot. I have learned how to take care of the furnace, and the plumbing, and the electricity. I have become the proud owner of a self-propelled electric start lawn mower. I have overcome any squeamishness I had about bugs, and rodents. Fuck PETA. I want to learn how to use my Dad’s shot guns so I can start picking off those squirrels who hold their insolent furry coffee breaks on my patio set. I need to call planning and zoning to see if I need a permit for that.

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