We’re Down, but Not Out in Resort Heaven
So, we are downsized. Some friends and acquaintances think we are insane for giving up our home on three quarters of an acre in exchange for a partially double-wide, partially single-wide mobile home (trailer) in a community where we don’t own the land.
Hey, they do the lawn here. We’re happy as clams. I saw the first leaf drop the other day and laughed like a hyena. I drove by my old house and saw the tree service juggling tools at the roof line. I guffawed. The notice that it’s time to open up the irrigation system was forwarded to my new address. I crumpled it up and made a three-pointer to the circular file.
I also dropped my gym membership since this community has an exercise room with treadmills, bikes, and an elliptical machine. It’s just as easy and a lot cheaper for me not to go here as not to go there.
I admit that there were many things that had to be done in the new house to make it comfortable and attractive. Uninhabited for a year when we purchased it, the place was a true fixer-upper. Since I am not a fixer-upper, the work was mostly tasked to my spouse.
In her quest to guild the turd, Bonnie installed ceiling moldings, all new light fixtures, faucets, switch plates, and the like. What a wonderful difference! And she painted every single wall in the house, hiding the 1980s floral and speckled vinyl wall covering favored in that era.
Frankly, getting this place put together was such a job she had to enlist me for physical labor as well.
Clearly, you understand how massive the job had to be for her to resort to the nuclear option.
So she gave me a paintbrush, with instructions to finish painting some unpainted furniture for my office. ”Put on paint clothes first,” she cautioned. Like I would have any.
Paint roller in hand I went to work with the gusto of passengers diving off the Titanic. I obsessed over the top of a shelf unit until I realized nobody would see it unless dinner guests included members of the NBA.
First Law of Semi-Gloss: Only after your hands become covered with dripping paint will your nostril itch. Corollary: and then you have to pee.
Okay, so I’m not a great painter. If I’d been using red paint it would have looked like the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Bring on the splatter expert. Bonnie took one look and relieved me of my duties.
Next, she asked me if I wanted to screw, which sounded great until I discovered it meant installing new kitchen cabinet hardware. Newton’s Law: any screw you drop will immediately roll under the heaviest appliance. I spent quite some time on my hands and knees fetching like a golden retriever.
In one instance I was leaning over the stove, reaching for an errant screw, when my shirt tail caught on a knob, turning on a burner. Luckily it’s an electric stove. If it was my old propane stove I would have immolated myself. Dumbo’s Law of Averages: The chance of being watched while you work is directly proportional to how dumb the thing is you are doing.
At that point Bonnie told me to get down and find her some real lesbians to help.
We’d been in the house 23 days and to Lowes 27 times. Mostly me, searching for the one thing Bonnie forgot to get for the project already in progress. We’re there so often the hot dog man knows us by name, and we are welcome to use the employee lounge.
And we’ve made friends with Ellen from the paint department. Relationships develop quickly when a clerk has to be the arbiter between people arguing over Latte Semi-Gloss vs. Desert Beige Satin.
When our new appliances were delivered, we found that one half inch of counter top obstructed installation of the new fridge. Bonnie promptly revved up her reciprocal saw and, to the amazement of the delivery guys, sliced off the offending formica.
We met our waterloo at the Microwave. Installed with the original cabinetry, it would have hung down so far we could only have cooked flat food in frying pans. Steady diet of flatbread and fritattas, anyone?
For this project we hired pros to tune-up our kitchen. The two gentlemen were great, improvising a cabinet on its side to hang the microwave and figuring out an ingenious method of venting it out. Yes, they were here for days, and we were beginning to think of them like Eldin the painter-in-residence on the old Murphy Brown series, but they did a great job.
For a while of course, Bonnie, who was out and proud from the moment of birth I believe, was a closet case. She spent at least a week in the master bedroom closet installing various closet stretchers, closet helpers, and closet do-dads trying to buy us more space.
And by today, deadline day for Letters, we have been in the house exactly 32 days. We are pleased with the progress and pooped at the same time. Somebody on the internet coined a word that describes our condition perfectly. Exhaustipated. Too tired to give a shit.
But we love our new home. Out the corner of my eye I just spied the landscape brigade heading our way. Oy, I feel smug. Don’t exhaustipate yourselves, fellas.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir; Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach, and For Frying Out Loud—Rehoboth Beach Diaries.