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Kansas City MO 64131






Cindy Maddera


There were six of them. It started with a slight sag and then slowly developed into a minor hang. They sort of formed a tent shape on the side of the wall, the gap between them and the wall increasing little by little every day until "plink", coming off the wall completely. Those six tiles just couldn't hold onto the damp crumbling bit of backer board any longer. I knew it was coming. Every day I'd step in to the shower and look at those six tiles with dread. Michael was in the shower when it actually happened, which we were both happy for. If I'd been the one to witness the carnage of it, I think I would have collapsed in the tub with the tiles. We've spent the weekend discussing things, with Michael doing his best to ease the knots that have formed in my gut. We've been scrounging and struggling to figure out a way to buy a certain house that will need a little love and attention and figuring out how to put some love and attention into this house all at the same time. This house needs more love and attention than I want to admit. There's a crack in the floor behind the toilet. The sink handles broke and I bought the closest replacement handles I could find, but turning the knobs so that the water shuts off has become our in home Mensa test. Then there's the window. The window. I hate that window with a passion. It's a wood framed window in a bath/shower. The mold and gross has permeated into the wood so that no amount of cleaning will get rid of the yuck. It just needs to go (to Hell, using fire). As much as I want to believe in fairies, I have to be realistic that no amount of magic fairy dust exists to fix those tiles or that window. We've decided to stop worrying about buying that other house. Instead we've gone from six measly tiles falling off the wall to calling consults for a total bathroom remodel. And why stop there?!? Why not just go ahead and take out a home equity loan and redo the kitchen, repave the driveway, put in a new garage door and finish dry-walling the garage? Our thinking is that we could spend some money now doing renovations that would make this house a little bit more easy to rent for $750-$800 a month without worrying about having to fix a whole lot of things.

We are leaving Sunday for a road trip vacation across the Dakotas with Talaura. I've done very little preparation for this trip. Today I went to see the doctor about this maybe spider bite that started out the size of a pencil erasure but has now spread out to cover over half my bicep. They made me step on the scale which proved to be an excellent numerical representation of how horrible I feel in my own skin these days. I've been put on a three week regimen of doxycycline for the maybe spider bite which causes the hypochondriac in me to flip the fuck out because it's also a malaria drug. The house has reached that level of clutter and dust that makes me twitchy and Michael is scheduling bathroom remodel estimates this week. All of it makes me want to curl up into a fetal position inside my closet or some dark hole. Adding major bathroom renovations to this list has made me feel panicky, yet at the same time I've been sketching plans on the backs of my grocery lists. I crave the change, but fear the inconvenience and mess that is going to be caused by this change. We only have the one bathroom. Michael said he'd set up a temporary shower in the basement. I envision a tarp and an old shower head and every scary basement scene from every horror flick ever. Showering in the basement is like inviting murder. I think it looks like I'll be showering at work.

But seriously, all the renovation talk and sticking around in this house has got me thinking. What's wrong with this house that we can't be comfortable in it? Why can't we make this house work for us? Yes, there is an issue with space, but I know families of four who live in the same amount of square footage and get by quite comfortably. My house is a million dollar apartment in New York. Except here, I paid practically nothing for it and we could have it paid off in seven years. This doesn't necessarily mean I want this to be our forever house, but there's no reason why we can't make this house work for us now. A lot of this is going to require some cleaning out. Possibly the kind of cleaning out that requires a dumpster. There's a full basement that is unfinished, but since the sewage has backed up twice in that basement since I've lived there, it will most likely remain unfinished. To some extent. That's not to say that there are not things that could be done to the basement to make it a more usable space as opposed to it's current function of place to dump unwanted things and garbage.

For now, I'm trying to set it all aside, enjoy this vacation and then come home to some roll-up-our-sleeves serious work. But I'll tell you what. Want to set an OCD person like me over the edge? Just knock six tiles off their shower wall, sit back and open a beverage and watch the crazy ensue. Highly entertaining.