Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Got Wood?

In Peru I would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air. The high altitude made it so that very little oxygen made it into my lungs, which left me feeling woozy and light headed – with a piercing headache to boot.

Last night I awoke with that same feeling in my own house.

No, it wasn’t some sort of trippy vacation flashback. Nor did I travel back in time or magically transport to a high altitude location while I slept (I know, that was totally what you were thinking it MUST be). No, I really was choking – struggling to breathe. But this time I’m fairly certain it’s due to all the dust I ingested.

It’s not like we normally live like Pig Pen from the Peanuts, with a constant flurry of filth encircling us (seriously, why did no one ever call CPS? I’m fairly certain that child needed to be removed from whatever disgusting home he was living in), normally our house is only a healthy amount of messy (you know, the kind of messy where you’d be embarrassed if someone dropped by unexpectedly, even though, honestly, all that’s “wrong” are some dirty dishes in the sink and unopened mail on the counter). But right now it looks more like some sort of bomb went off – concrete floors, doors off the hinges, furniture all stacked up and shoved together, rubble all around and, as I mentioned earlier, lots and lots and lots of dust all over everything (so much that I’ve taken to writing little messages in all the powder. Think of it like a love note written in lipstick on a mirror … just far, far less romantic). And all the dust is also, it seems, settling into my lungs while I sleep.

But it’s all for a good cause – at the end of all this madness we’ll have gorgeous wood flooring throughout much of our home (except the bedrooms. While I agree that it looks nice in bedrooms as well there’s just something totally “homey” about having carpet under your bed. And I need – NEED – to be able to dig my toes into the carpet as I plunk my feet down onto the ground each morning. And, no, a rug won’t do – it has to be carpet. Also, notice how I used the word “need” – repeatedly even? This seems to be a recurring problem in our household – not knowing the difference between “need” and “want.” Actually, this is HUGE problem in America in general, but let me get back to my digression before I digress even further. Earlier this year, after spending an entire week in a cruise ship hot tub on a vacation we “needed” to the Mexican Riviera, we decided that, suddenly, we “needed” to shell out top dollar to fix the broken heater on our hot tub at home. Since then we have used that bad boy approximately half a dozen times. Money well spent. And, now, of course we “need” this wood flooring to replace our perfectly good carpet and tile much in the same way I “needed” to get our fully functional pool resurfaced last year instead of buying a new car – something I actually did need and ended up buying as well … and, of course, I bought a ridiculous Mustang with virtually no leg room in the back because who “needs” a backseat – or a practical car – anyway? But perhaps I should get back to how fabulous these much “needed” wood floors are).

Nonetheless, unlike in Peru – where we drank coca tea to help with the altitude sickness (coca tea, incidentally, is not the same as cocoa, which I originally thought … and hoped. No, this stuff is very bitter. Perhaps that’s because it’s made from the same leaves that produce cocaine. Which I’m fairly certain explains why it helps with altitude sickness – or, let’s be honest, any sickness really – because YOU’RE DRINKING COCAINE. And now that I have Googled it I know that, because I drank it, I could test positive for a drug test. File that under the heading “Things I wish I’d know before I went to South America.” See what I mean about Europeans being pussies in comparison?) – there is no remedy for this sort of breathing ailment. All I can do is wait for the dust to (literally) settle and then scrub every inch of everything.

Now it’s not like we’ve never lived “life under construction” before (in case you never noticed that is actually the name of this blog – go figure). After demolishing and completely renovating two bathrooms and one custom built master closet, power sanding and cutting and kicking up dust from what felt like miles of baseboards and trim, GAR constructing a new mantle for our fireplace from scratch (an accomplishment he’s incredibly proud of but, because no one realizes how much work went into it, gets little to no praise from people who visit us – hint, hint … keep this in mind next time you see him. His ego “needs” this), and pretty much living in a constant state of tearing things down and rebuilding them from the (dusty) ground up since we moved in, we’ve certainly had our fair share of debris floating about before. But this is more all encompassing – more dustier than ever before … and with more life displacement than ever before as our furniture, tv, appliances and whatnot remain unusable (or at least that’s the excuse we use for eating gluttonous takeout every night while lying in bed in our pjs watching Olympic water polo for hours on end. I stand to lose several thousand dollars while simultaneously gaining several thousand pounds by the time this refurb is over).

Even the pups are unsure where to sleep. All their normal resting spots have been covered in cold, hard wood (apparently they too enjoy fluffy carpet beneath their paws as they wake each morning). And I’m constantly hearing the pitter patter of tiny feet (no, I’m not pregnant, but dog claws make quite a clatter. We’ve had to crank the Olympic water polo up to 11 just to drown out the enhanced sound that their walking makes on our new ground). But, mostly they’re just pissed off that they’re being locked up all day during the construction when normally they have free reign of this hippie compound we carelessly allow them to wander in and out of at their leisure. And to placate them we’re taking drastic measures – we signed them up for doggy day camp. Oh yes, we’ve become THOSE people … the type of pretentious yuppies who pay for their pampered pooches to play with other privileged pets because they simply can’t be left alone for even a moment.

Or, well, that was the plan anyway. But, as it turns out, it wasn’t quite as simple as I had hoped. Apparently getting into a posh pet playgroup has quite the qualification process. It starts with trips to the vet to acquire the mandatory paperwork, test and shots; followed by an introductory “interview” process and assessment (which both pups passed with flying colors. It seems my dogs are perfectly behaved when they’re trying to impress others whereas their behavior is more along the lines of deranged, barking prison escapee when in my presence); which is then followed up by a “test” day where one dog at a time is slowly introduced to the pooches lucky enough to have already been accepted into this canine cult. At this rate my dogs might finally get a day camp visit by the time we’ve moved on to our next home project, or the one after that.

So I guess, for now, they’ll continue to suffer as their world of squeaky toys and free reign doggy door visits is turned upside down. And, thanks to being fresh out of drinkable liquid cocaine, I guess I’ll continue to suffer – and cough up some dust – a bit longer too. But it will totally be worth it. See – how pretty!

I sooooo NEEDED these floors.

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