Today a carpenter started work in my unfinished kitchen. In a few hours the ragged edges started to come together into something that really looked like what we had originally envisioned. We ordered the last few pieces the kitchen sorely needs, a few doors, some tile for a backsplash. The floor guy came too and we talked about all those places that they needed to come back and work on, they were supposed to come back and work on them four years ago but well I guess I put that off a bit. The carpenter will return tomorrow for a few hours and then again in a few weeks when the other door and the tile have come in.
We’ve been living in an unfinished house and there is something about that which is unsettling. For a long time I didn’t notice. It didn’t bother me that the hardwoods fell short of the baseboards, or that the chair rail in the kitchen had holes in it. But lately it has started to creep up on me and I don’t think it’s really about the esthetics. I think it’s a matter of completeness. Life is always a work in progress but if there are too many ragged edges then things feel, well, frayed (to work the metaphor to death.)
So while this effort won’t finish the to-do list for this house, it will give us a few complete rooms. A friend of mine, Madelyn, suggested this, years ago when we were moving simultaneously (we were moving out of one side of their townhouse while they were moving out of their side into ours – yes, it was chaos) she told me that once she had one room completely put to rights she could make it through the rest of the move but there had to be one room that was a refuge. I think it’s a good metaphor for life. You have to have one room that is in order, one room to retreat to. I think that your home sometimes reflects the condition of your life. So I’m going for a whole floor. One floor of the house that feels put together and whole. So even if here are other places that are ragged and need work there would be one place in our home that is whole, comfortable, and complete.