I dreaded it. Not just spending the money, but the process. It was going to be a drag – inconvenient, messy, and invasive. It would be difficult to keep things organized, impossible to keep things clean. And we had lost Michael. We were going ahead with this big project – his design, his plans – without him, and it was going to be horrible and sad.
But then we met Ray, and he brought in Matt and Jim, Dean, Shon, and Ernie the tile guy and Neville the painter and they were all considerate and professional – men of great skill and meticulousness. And then we met another Michael – Ray’s son – and he became the guy who showed up at our house every day, and he answered our questions and made suggestions and was patient and got things done. And it wasn’t horrible or even just tolerable, but actually pleasant.
From September 2013 until March 2014 – six months, as predicted. Our refrigerator was in the dining room, microwave in the den, toaster oven in the exercise room. Washing spoons in the bathroom, eating off paper plates and out of paper bowls. And the cat jumping out open doors and windows every chance he got – all those guys chasing him down to retrieve him and bring him back inside.
Then no washing machine for six weeks, carrying laundry across town with pockets full of quarters, or occasionally to the homes of generous neighbors.
And then, finally and suddenly, it was done. We had an amazing new kitchen. And a master bathroom with a door, a laundry room and a mudroom. And a rebuilt carport and brick patio. They were finished, the project complete. And they packed their tarps and tools and equipment into trucks and drove away. And I felt sad to see them go.
I was born in Oswego, NY,
"I had always wanted to be a writer, but was impeded by the belief that to be a writer one had to be extraordinary, and I knew I wasn't. By the time I was ready to give up my academic career I had realized that while books are extraordinary, writers themselves are no more or less special than anyone else." The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield