Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Turning Point

At some point, I'll relate to you the Parable of the Fourth DImensional Ass, but the upshot of it is that to all things, to every major moment in your life, there is a fulcrum - you can feel it in the pit of you metaphysical stomach when the roller coaster car that is your life finishes that ratcheting up the incline, and the pause at the top when you're about to move into a new moment.

Things here at Beadboard Manor are like that - since the other day, the plumber has come, the new ceiling in the dining room has started to be attached and the huge mountain of old plaster cleared out. In general, it's been a good feeling, like knowing that we've gotten past the most sticky bits and are starting to climb back out. Heck, even the piano tuner came today, just to add a symbolic bow to the whole feeling of renewal.

It's given me a feeling somewhere between satisfaction and gratitude. Make up your own contraction for that. I know that Yesenia has been hit hard by it - for a couple of weeks, our workable living space in a threes-story house (four, if you count the attic) has been reduced to the master bedroom. But I myself am both taking it more in stride, but feeling it at a much deeper level. It makes me sad, to put it plainly.

But I hear you ask yourselves, "What. Seriously? All this purple prose about some plumbing, a damp basement and a collapsed ceiling? Sure, it's an inconvenience, but... whatever. Boo-hoo."

You have to understand, SInce this is the house I grew up in, it's like watching an old friend suffer through a serious illness. Actually, it's more like watching an old friend suffer through a serious illness and you're the surgeon, since I've been hands-on in every part of this multi-theater engagement.

Now, you have to understand something: I'm never hands-on with anything. (Obligatory masturbation reference here). Me and tools don't see eye-to-eye (unless they're trying to gouge out said eye), and me and power tools is a combination that should have been outlawed by the Geneva Convention. But there isn't much of a choice. As the 'man of the house,' I bear responsibility for the house that I'm man of. And I know all too well the decay that can come with inattention.

So, maybe it won't be prefect. But I've got that Fulcrum Feeling - things have taken the turn here from getting worse to getting better. And maybe it's silly to derive so much of that from such a seeming minor thing like some (admittedly, major) home repairs, but -

- well, how to explain? The house itself has been the one constant in my life, a greater symbol of belief to me than any flag, or creed, religion or nation. Only the house and I know how I came to be who I am today, and somewhere in the great hard drive of all of its combined oak and plaster and corbels is stored a memory of every moment of my childhood, teenage years and married life. I mentioned that I felt gratitude, and that feeling is directed to the house. I dream of seeing it it its younger years, when it spread over three lots, with wraparound porches and a view down to the Sparkill Creek. Somewhere in the past sits the standalone garage, and who knows what else that defined the early character.

Gone, all gone.

The house we live in now is old, with all of its glory chopped off, all of the beautiful plain arts and crafts character faded, odd touches of the 60's-era residents coexisting edgily with the hardwood floors, a century of history having had its way with it. So, the house protected and sheltered me while I was growing up - now it's my turn to try to preserve and rebuild this silent, storied member of my family... hopes that it doesn't drop the bedroom ceiling on our heads while we sleep. That would be just like this fucking shack.



Anonymous said...

"60's-era residents coexisting edgily with the hardwood floors"

Johnny likes.


leah said...

i don't think i've really told you this, but i've been so happy that you and yesenia have the house. the idea of it moving into a different family never sat well with me, and not only because my cat's grave is in the yard.

i'm sad that you're having so many problems to deal with. it really sucks. i don't know how you're managing it.

were the beams damaged in the dining room ceiling collapse?

Dave Kopperman said...


Yeah, I did want to keep it in the family. Now that goal has been modified to keeping it INTACT in the family...

The beams were NOT damaged, and we've even managed to shore them up, using a 2x4 and the jack from my Subaru, and then bolting the faux-beams securely to the real ones. Sure, it's all very technical.

Managing it? Who said anything about hoo-HA!