the rabbit hole

Construction nightmare: a common term thrown about on cable TV (often referring to leaky installations, cracking sheetrock, perhaps mere weeks of nonaction). In our case, it does not exaggerate.

Many years before Superstorm Sandy hit, I had in my sleep endured nightmares: walls closing in as I tread water, eyelids meeting inexplicable resistance when I needed to see the monster before me, the slow-run toward safety through gelatinous space. I’d even encountered in my dreams the man who would hurt me—but I appealed to his humanity. In my dreams, that changed his heart. In real life, I had no influence.

My construction nightmare has been a gnarly compilation of those nightmares’ greatest hits. Make that our construction nightmare. For the difference between my dream hellishness and these waking horrors is that in the daytime, Steve slow-runs with me.

We are still slow-moving out of our last displacement home, a basement 2-bedroom that should have been a great improvement on the basement studio we’d suffered the year before. It actually fit a bed! But last July began the new nightmare I could not shake no matter how many tricks I tried: loud music, rattling oven vent, roaring industrial dehumidifier. Loud music AND rattling oven vent AND roaring dehumidifier (right: another nightmare). No amount of decibals could mask the ragged mewling accompanied by inexplicably sudden climaxes of howling desperation from the apparent hell upstairs, where Bailey tortured himself in a comfortable upper-floor home surrounded by pleasant tchotchkes and wide swaths of light he could loll around in were he so inclined.

For half a year I lived this little dog’s nightmare with him. As if I didn’t have my own to scare me. Which reminds me.

The worst of our construction nightmare raised its monster’s head the very second our state housing assistance was up. In fact, I think it winked its one ugly eye at the state. It was like, yeah, New York, we got these poor lambs, didn’t we? Yeah.

So we’re home (yay! weird half-celebration), because we can’t pay mortgage and rent too.  But our contractor skipped out–and we’ve been shorted 18 doors, a kitchen, two bathrooms, and a house full of details. We’ve been granted several off-center windows, an off-center tub frame, a shower floor pitched to last Sunday, floor tile cut with a grinder, stairs built to kill, a deck with off dimensions that does not drain, and doorframes that would tempt Alice in Wonderland.

Plus some.

(this is how he left our garage)

(and I cleaned it up before this shot)

DSC04559

So here we are, down another rabbit hole. But I think we can climb out with the help of our new, skilled, organized, proactive, overly sane contractor. We see the light this time. Here in our hodgepodge house, together, we can’t not see it. Money goes, time goes, but light pours in through the windows. So we are slow-running through a sticky goo that glows. Not so bad: in fact, I think there’s an app for that.

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