When I come home from work these days, I never know exactly what will have gone on at my house while I was away. Randy is renovating our bathroom so that Alisa can move in and not have the yucky wallpaper situation going on. And also so she can have an environmental-friendly toilet. And a faucet that is not 40 years old. And more storage space. And an outlet. And a light fixture that doesn’t make her want to kill herself. We are doing these things because we like Alisa. And because we are using her as an excuse not to have a hideous bathroom. In sad news, I must report that I never actually took photos of the bathroom as it was. You will just have to trust me that it’s going to be way more awesome when he’s done. Our house is so crazy that I got really overwhelmed about taking “before” pictures. Because I thought that maybe people would feel sorry for us. Or wonder why, exactly, we bought the house. And I did not want people’s pity. Though it is possible that we deserved it. (Randy is probably the person who is most happy that we bought this house. Because of our insanity, he can provide for his family.) (Just kidding, his rates are very reasonable. If you are in the Greensboro area, you should hire him.)
When I got home on Tuesday, Alisa (and Brian) had put the second coat of brown paint on her room. And Randy had put up the new light fixture and installed an outlet in the bathroom. (The bathroom didn’t have an outlet. Except for one in the light fixture. So now we have an outlet in the wall, where outlets are supposed to be. This means that Alisa’s bathroom is now more technologically advanced than mine. Because electricity = technology, don’t you know? I don’t have an outlet at all.) It is so exciting to come home and see the new things that have happened. It feels a little bit like playing house. Or setting up my Barbie Dream House. (I never had the Dream House. Isn’t it the one with the elevator? I had a different one. It was pink. With a spiral staircase.) I retaliated on Tuesday night by taking down the wallpaper in the bathroom for Randy to find when he gets to our house on Wednesday. I can change things up, too! Also, now our house is wallpaper-free!
To be honest, over the past two weeks, I have wondered what we were thinking when we bought this house. The turquoise room really made me question my sanity. I guess we were looking at the house’s potential, but I wonder what made us want to be so visionary. We are going to have to stay here a long time to make all of this worth it. Which is good, because that’s the plan. Speaking of my house, have I ever told you my house’s name? I think my house is a boy, and I think his name is Emerson. Mike doesn’t necessarily agree with me, but he doesn’t like to name things, so I am sticking with Emerson. Emerson is a work in progress (but having Alisa move in has progressed Emerson a little bit more than we expected right now, which is awesome).
Our house has taken a lot of work. I have been feeling lately as if my relationship with this house is a metaphor for my relationships in general: I have to put in the necessary time in order for them to be where I want them to be. I put forth time and energy because I want these relationships to be long-term. This metaphor only stretches so far, because it’s not as if I can pay Randy to spend time with Mike or my friends and family. I think it works, though, because we have done a lot by ourselves. We pulled up carpet! We painted! We took down wallpaper! We painted some more!
I want life to be about the arrival – the finished kitchen, the close friendships, the tight-knit marriage. I want to be able to present the polished product to the world: Look at my perfect house and my perfect life and my perfect job and my perfect relationships and my perfect marriage.
But life isn’t like that. Well, maybe yours is, but mine definitely isn’t.
So I am reminded to try to enjoy the journey. Having people over even when our bathroom has hideous wallpaper (NOT ANYMORE!). Even if their houses are much nicer than mine. Telling people about the things that make me sad, even when they are things I would rather not talk about. Painting and taking down wallpaper with Mike. Even when I would kind of rather be lounging around. Loving the students at school the very best I can, even when I feel like I am not getting through. I want to work at it now, because I don’t want to be the person who looks back and realized that I lived with things I could have changed, whether that is bitterness of heart or godawful wallpaper. My faith teaches me that is what this journey is about: my life, not just my house, is a work in progress.