A Pocket Full of Change
Posted on July 1, 2013
I was sitting at the house yesterday on our new IKEA couch—it remains covered with sheets because of the renovations—and writing in Gaylias 2 for several hours. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve had a chance to do much writing because of everything that’s gone on and everything that continues to go on. However, I had as much moved around and prepped as I could for the painter and remainder of the carpet to be put down, so I had some time to kill. It felt mind-blowingly satisfying to kick back, play a little Tangerine Dream on the stereo and delve into a world I’ve missed. I also had an epiphany during the writing. I realized that I was getting more comfortable at the house and that was a good thing because, like it or not, we’re going to be moving in shortly and will be there for a while.
Moving doesn’t thrill me. It’s a pain in the ass—not in the good way, mind you—and no matter how carefully you pack or label the boxes, it’s still impossible to find that one thing you need you haven’t needed in years, but suddenly found an immediate use for. So I don’t like it. I’ve become quite comfortable in our apartment, I know where everything is, can find my way around in the dark, and have a history of happiness here. More happy than not anyway.
This isn’t to say that I don’t understand why my husband wants us to move into his father’s house. It makes sense. Why stay in an apartment having to pay rent each month when—after his father’s passing—we could stay in a house that’s already paid for? I understand the logic. I just…it didn’t…it felt very much like moving into a place that ‘was’ and would continue to represent that past than to move somewhere representing a future forged by the two of us. And I may not be articulating myself very well with that point.
Let me explain.
His father had a system for everything in the house and it’s one that’s confounded us on many occasions trying to figure it out. That system of where things go no longer works. It was his, not ours. The house was his in almost every other sense, too. The carpet was what originally went in when the place was built in the 1970s and even the paint has never been touched up or redone. The furniture was mostly all original as were all the cabinets in the kitchen. The colors, the design, the look, the feel, the sounds, the scents…were of his creation. The only things not his father’s are the memories my husband and his brother share during their time growing there and any sentimentality that grew from it.
I didn’t want to step foot into someone else’s past and live there. But my husband, being in touch with and always claiming that the Asian half of him dominates his genes, has embraced the Chinese desire to rebuild and make something new again. They do it all the time in Hong Kong and he wanted it done here, too. We talked it over and decided the kitchen would be torn out. We’d get something new, something fresh, complete with a new countertop and backsplash. And new flooring. The carpet in the house would have to go, too. The new carpet would work with the kitchen to create a new look and feel for the place. There would also be new paint.
Many things had to go before we could even start on this, though. The furniture, for one. Much of it, anyway. It was old and falling apart, so out it went. I had to pack everything else up and start clearing enough rooms so that I could hire a painter to come in a couple of different times and work his magic, then have those rooms carpeted. Once complete, I’d move everything out of the untouched rooms so they could be done next. Meanwhile, we hired a contractor to rip the kitchen out, build the cabinets we bought and install them. Before he could do that, though, an electrician and plumber had to come in and bring everything up to code.
This has been a pretty long process and we’re still about a month out from having everything completed. The countertop should be installed in about a week and the backsplash will be ordered tomorrow. We’d originally created a fairly small budget to do this and we’ve gotten a tremendous amount for our money. However, there were things we really liked that were going to cost a bit more, so we decided to embrace that. If we’re creating a home for ourselves, then why not go the extra step and create something we really, really like? Don’t laugh, but I’ve also made a point to talk to his father while we’re doing all of this, telling him how excited we are about it, how much we think he’d love it and what we have left. If he’s listening, we want him to know he’s not been forgotten.
Even though it’s not complete, the fresh coat of paint and vastly different color carpet honestly make this house feel like a completely different home. The memories are still there, there are touches of his father all around us, but we’ve taken it and us into the future. It’s a nice place to be despite the change.
But please tell me I’m not alone in still thinking it’s a pain in the ass to move.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
11 Responses to “A Pocket Full of Change”
July 1, 2013 at 8:38 am
A little (all right, a lot of) inconvenience now will be all but forgotten within a month after you move in. And things tend to be more valuable when you had to work to get them.
July 1, 2013 at 9:28 am
A little? lol Dorien, I think the hardest part is yet to come because everything from the apartment has to come over to the house and I have zero idea where we’re going to put it all. That’ll be one heck of a challenge. But, I’ll find a way to get it done. I always do.
Patricia Logan says:
July 1, 2013 at 8:50 am
I think it’s very good that you went along with Ralph’s need to keep the house and live in it and I think it’s very fair that since you spend most of your time working from home, that you had a goodly portion of the input on the finishes. Renovation is a PITA but I have done it too many times to count, though rarely when I lived in the place. Good that you got it mostly done before you moved in. As a side, I began Gaylias last night and having read one and a half chapters before passing out from laughter, I must say, I am glad you are writing book two. A poodle named Precious? I’m still trying to figure out why the agents had to take him along but maybe I don’t want to know. LOL. Awesome renovation. Have fun. Looking forward to more pics
July 1, 2013 at 9:31 am
I like for him to see the progress when he comes home. It makes him happy, though he does start poking around looking for any little flaws. That drives me nuts.
Regarding Gaylias, Bryl Tyne reviewed the book and said she was gasping for air due to laughter during the poodle getting fresh with Nicholas scene. I had the most fun of any books writing that one. It was more…me. lol
Jaime Samms says:
July 1, 2013 at 10:47 am
Kris, thirteen years ago, my husband and I, eight month prego at the time, decided to move back to my home town where my parents (and at the time, my grandfather) still lived. When we made the decision, my grandfather decided he was done living in his house, and that we should move in there and he would move into an apartment. For two young, soon-to-be parents, it was an ideal solution until we could get on our feet and figure out something permanent. Thirteen years ago, this happened.
I hope you never regret listening to your husbands wishes, and good on you for your insistence on making the house your home, for the two of you. It took me a lot longer to let go of the memories and make this house our home. Two years ago, when it looked like we were going to be forced to move out, I realized, this might have been my grandparent’s home thirty years ago, but it is my home now, and my memories span from my childhood to my kids growing up here, and I think I’d have to be dragged out now. For me, there is something to be said for building your future on the solid foundation of the past.
May you and your husband build your own wonderful, happy lives in this new home of yours and be able to look back in twenty years with pride on what you’ve built, and a wealth of beautiful memories together.
July 1, 2013 at 5:51 pm
That’s beautiful, Jamie. Thank you. =)
They were the original owners of the house, so I’m glad we’re keeping in ‘our’ family right now. The funny thing is that while his father would have said “No f***ing way!” to the changes we want to make (if he was still alive), I honestly think he’s really liking it. I know he still watches over his sons. I plan on telling his other son that the next time I know he’s planning on getting lucky with his girlfriend. That should do the trick quite nicely…
Joelle Casteel says:
July 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm
Well, renovation here.. I have to drag my Master kicking and screaming through it, neither of us seeming to be our regular selves. But it’s looking lovely, what your doing. It’s interesting, to have that “make something old new”- with how many times I’ve moved as an adult, I’ve lost so much each move that I don’t have a lot of old stuff hanging around. The only thing old I have is the Wurlitzer organ that my maternal grandma left me when she passed- it desperately needs tuned so it sits in what was the homeschool room when I was home educating my son in a way that I needed a whole room. What color are the cabinet?
Joelle Casteel says:
July 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm
and I must say, I’m particularly proud of the sudden tangents and different directions after you commenting on my blog post today rattled my mind so I had to struggle to remember what I’d planned to do 😀
July 1, 2013 at 5:52 pm
The cabinets are a dark smoky gray. The floor is a white and looks like tile, then the counter top will be white with a glass white subway tile for the backsplash.
Gonna look sharp!
July 1, 2013 at 5:53 pm
I always prefer to go with the first thing that pops into my mind when commenting on a post. lol
Joelle Casteel says:
July 5, 2013 at 11:16 am
lol first thing… that could be dangerous on my blog… I’m sure you’ve seen by now on fb the hilarity if me suddenly talking about lube, positions, or even the Duggars. I’m still particularly proud of my philosophical status message on the Duggars and “National Lampoons Van Wilder”
hm smoky gray… I just want to get my one painted wall in my kitchen different. most of the house is painted cream, but I have this odd turquoise-like color on one wall in the kitchen with a crazy faux finish on the cabinets like I liked when it was new. But you’d think I was suggesting we go Lorana Bobbit when I ask my Master about painting that wall and refinishing the cupboards ugh