A House of One’s Own

This image shows some varnished cork bathroom ...

Image via Wikipedia

The cork flooring package claims it will be so much fun to install the stuff–just clip together the boards, really!–that you’ll be sad when the job is done.

This proved not to be the case. It took me five or six tries to get the main, uncut boards to fit together right. Then, with a fond farewell glance at my fingers, I got out Dan’s circular saw for the rest of the job. I sort of forgot the whole mitre thing, so there are a few little gaps. These make it obvious where to place the bookshelves, at any rate, and supposedly the stuff expands after installation, so maybe it’ll fill its own gaps anyway. I’m not messing with it any more. After two long days of flooring frenzy, all I’m doing today is moving the furniture and other junk back in.

This family room is pretty in the most basic way, with a nice view of the back yard. But it was never finished. The el-cheapo panelling is warped and buckles out several inches from the wall boards in some places, and the ceiling is a mosh pit of unadorned insulation, wiring, and particle board. The paint on the window frames has been ruined by years of winter plastic covering, and the window thingie to the kitchen might as well have been cut yesterday, for all we’ve ever done to it.

Dan was good at this stuff. I’m not. When we’d work on a project together we were great, but we’d have Saturday morning conversations that went like:

Me: We’ve got to get this flea-infested carpet out of here. I’m going to get to work on it this weekend.

Him: Okay. We can go out to Menard’s this afternoon and some new carpet to cover the floor.

Me: I don’t want carpet. It’ll just get fleas again, and anything we can afford will look tacky.

Him: We have to put something in. And of course we’ll have to level the yada-yada and measure the angles on the corners, and get some yada-yada for the doorframes and put some yada-yada under the flooring.

Me: I don’t have time for all that! I have to do the kids’ lesson plans this weekend!

Then I’d go do the lesson plans, he’d open the first bottle of whisky for the morning, and nothing would ever get done.

Now I’m doing it my way. The Imprefectionist way. I’m going to buzz out little bits of the warped wall and wallpaper the room with cheap posters. I’m going to cover the ceiling with Indian bedspreads. I’m considering cushions and beanbags instead of chairs.

Because it’s my house now, all paid for and everything. I don’t have to care about resale value. I couldn’t afford to sell it if I wanted to; living anywhere else would cost much more than just staying put.


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