Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Slated for Renovation



I might make too much of metaphor, but I cannot stop thinking about the significance of the fireplace.

See, we have a fireplace that is just fine, now. It isn't fancy or luxurious or impressive or remarkable. My glee about the fireplace might seem disproportionate; I know J likes the fireplace, but doesn't feel the same degree of exuberance about the recent remodel of its facade that I do. Almost every time I look at it, notice its simple and unobtrusive way of fitting in with our basic little home, I find myself sighing with satisfaction. (Okay, and maybe fantasizing just a wee bit about painting over that stark bright white paint, but who wants to get all picky...) I'm glad I finally found a local handyman, got J to help mock up an easy design in Photoshop, selected soothing natural materials, and ponied up the necessary cash, because it makes walking through my front door each day a little easier. I like overcoming the uglies.

J likes the fireplace fine, says he's glad we managed to make the project finally happen with minimal intrusion into our busy lives, but if he can't relate to my level of gratification, that's because it didn't gnaw on his nerves every day of the last two and a half years. J doesn't sweat stuff like that, he finds his peace more readily. I envy it, I try to emulate it but can't. Our fireplace, when bought our house, stood out for its mistakes and made me itch with how badly I wanted to fix it. It was not hideous, just run of the mill ugly, and I wanted to improve it as fast as I possibly could.

Two and half years was as fast as I possibly could. And the knowledge that it had the potential to look so much better but that I didn't have the capacity to make it happen with so much more consequential ugliness all around me --- well, that gave me mental eczema.

I find myself struggling right now with our daily routines, the essential structure of our life, the way I did with the ugly fireplace, pre-facelift. Now, I know my metaphors get messy, but let me be clear: I am not comparing our fireplace to autism! And I CERTAINLY am not equating it with our children. I am talking about the grind... the shape forced on our family unit by the constraints of time and the shortage of resources.

Our weeks look run-of-the-mill ugly to me. They have for too long. While I know that they are not hideous weeks, not nearly as grotesque as they could be, as they have been at some past times, while they aren't something to turn away from in horror for their gruesomeness, the fact that I haven't found the wherewithal to make them over so they can more simply blend in with our little life irritates me a little worse each day.

Our weeks need a makeover.


Anonymous said...

Okay, I absolutely get what you are saying. BUT, don't get too caught up. We all need our weeks renovated in some way.

This exact point came up in our autism parents' support group meeting last night: We tend to think that outside of our own homes, families are living large, kids are sitting down and doing their homework w/o complaint, mom has a yummy dinner on the stove, dad walks in with a special dessert and a movie rental after a long day at the office.

NOT. Life is just so mundane most of the time (and I don't mean that in a bad way, at all. It just is what it is.) And sometimes the simple solution is the best. Constraints of time? Shortage of resources? Yep. It's so hard. But if it helps in any way, you are not alone.

p said...

You KNOW I can relate. Have you seen my before and after photos of our fireplace on facebook? Well, be sure to check it out. It was worth every penny to make it lovely instead of ugly.

pixiemama said...

:) I knew that fireplace was not your fave. Now, how to renovate your days... weeks...


One Mom said...

I know how you feel. I've been systematically removing every trace of harvest gold from my house for five years...since the day I bought the place. And I'm almost done - just the kitchen counter and bath tub (and a few tiles) to go.

If only it were as easy to renovate our schedules as our homes. But sometimes you have to throw a sheet over the ugly harvest gold and focus your attention on the parts you love just as they are...if only for a little while.

pixiemama said...

Did you add the photos after? I missed them the first time around. SO GORGEOUS! What a nice change!