Who would have ever thought sheetrock could be so charming?
I run my hands over panel after panel of sheetrock; taped and floated, sanded satiny smooth. I walk from room to room admiring my husband’s work, the seamless walls, the perfect texturing. Three rooms and five closets; walls intact, all standing ready for the first coat of sealer. This afternoon, we go pick out paint, something light and creamy, fresh and vibrant. I feel my heart quicken, realize my breathing has become sporadic. Why I’m as giddy as a teenager heading for her first prom. All because of sheetrock.
After two months of repair, we might be seeing the light. Two long months of demolition, treating studs, and reinforcing beams in corners. Two months of being confined to three rooms which were ‘almost’ spared from the storm but were at least livable.
In my imagination I start to place the furniture around each room. Much of it new, all of it welcomed.
Don’t get too excited, warns Patrick, there’s still floor tile to be laid which he reminds me, we haven’t even selected yet. He continues his litany of projects not started: installing and painting the crown molding, routing the baseboards before they too are sanded, primed and painted, new trim around the doors, new doors hung. All must be done before we even think of returning to that side of the house.
And don’t forget the master bathroom. He ended his diatribe on that note.
Ahh, yes the bathroom. How could I forget? It’s been a major detour in the rebuilding of this house.
It was only a couple of weeks after the storm, we were standing in the middle of our den, inspecting the warping paneling, the most telling feature of a mid-century home. We had always struggled with this room’s darkness thanks to that paneling, but on that day the room seemed to close in on me. It looked dingy, old, depressing.
Not a feeling I needed more of…not when every day I drove into our driveway I had to look at all our treasures piled six feet high, rotting out on our front lawn, waiting to be carried off. Not when I had no idea of what had managed to be saved, the video discs of our wedding? The original schematics of the house? My childhood bible? Who knows what box they might be stored in or if somehow they too were tossed out? Those first few days of clean-up remained such a blur.
As we stood in the den, I said to Patrick, “Sweetie, I don’t care anything about this mid-century look anymore or if restoring it would make the place more sellable. Let’s tear this paneling out, make our house like we want it and enjoy it for the years we stay here.”
He looked at me surprised, paused for half a second then asked, “Does that include the master bathroom?”
“The one with the pink sink?” I asked.
“Sure, let’s change it.” I replied.
I should have snapped at the innocence in his voice-but I didn’t.
The NEXT DAY—the VERY next day, he had totally demolished that bathroom. It and its floor of tiny tiles, and its coffin-sized shower and pink sink were gone…forever.
A few weeks passed and I remember walking through the house, looking at all the rooms in disrepair and wondering how that happened? How was it that we had added remodeling a bathroom? A major project on top of all the others waiting to be tackled? HOW did that happen?
Even then I had to smile, thinking about this husband of mine, so devious, yet so willing to please me.
Yes, remodeling that bathroom would be a detour and as it turned out, it required a whole bunch more work than we’d anticipated, adding a month, maybe more, to the timeline.
But still it would be ours, the way we wanted it.
As we left the house that day, off to explore the wonderful world of paint samples, I felt giddy again, lightheaded.
Suddenly I realized I was in the throes of falling in love all over again. In love? With what? Who?
Was it the house that had been such a haven to me for the past 27 years or the man who promised to show me a ‘whole new world?’
I looked over at Patrick and knew it wasn’t an either/or question because this man had become my safe haven and he was all that home would ever mean to me.