What a week! And it's not over yet. My nephew Joseph put it succinctly when he said how he couldn't believe that after seven years I am finally getting my bathroom redone. He had lost hope he would ever see this day. You see he lived with me for two years and even after he and my sister-in-law moved out, he'd heard me complain and drag my feet about it.
Seven years. I hadn't realized it's been seven years since my hand first went through the shower wall, spilling tiles and making a hole when I grabbed it to steady myself so I wouldn't fall. Yes - for seven years I've been practically begging friends, family, strangers for a name of a contractor I could trust, for someone who wouldn't take advantage of a single woman. Someone who doesn't see dollar signs. In the meanwhile I'd gotten myself a shower curtain to protect the back wall from further damage. I had come close to getting a contractor a couple of times. At first it was the money. Some of the quotes were outrageous, some were laughably cheap intended for me to sign on the dotted line and then I was sure the costs would slowly escalate. Then it was lack of time and suddenly seven years passed. I guess the planets must have all been aligned correctly and egged on by my son, a plan was put in motion, tiles were chosen, color palettes decided on and, miracle or miracle, a friend I hadn't spoken to in eight years got in touch with me and suddenly she had a contractor for me. He came over. I liked his laid-back style. I liked how he didn't pressure me and suddenly I had no other excuses left. Yes - I said excuses - for today I found myself crying uncontrallably as I drove out to enjoy the spring-like day as I thought of the room that was no more, that I no longer recognized. That was the idea, wasn't it? My contractor is rebuilding me a brand new, modern bathroom. That's what I hired him for. I should be happy, no? It was then that it hit me. I didn't really want the room to change. I want nothing to change. By resisting change, I could still pretend that things are as they were when I first moved into the house with my then husband and my two-year old son. I could pretend that I hadn't gotten divorced, that was son hadn't grown to become the man he is, one who is ready to take his place in the world away from me, that my ex-husband isn't dead, that he's still alive.
Of course, I'd known of this tendency of mine. Right after I had gotten divorced, I couldn't bear to throw anything out or stand to be in the house alone. I hated everything about it. I was constantly in motion, every weekend visiting friends and family. I never stayed home if I could help it. By leaving everything as it was, my anxiety level was held in check. Providence had other plans. It started when I needed to knock my back yard shed down. I had no choice and when it was done, I spilled a few tears. I couldn't bear to look at the empty spot without remembering all of the happy times we had. Now, not even two weeks later, I am undertaking another major renovation. Who knows, I might even do the kitchen next. I hate change. This is what I learned this week. I want to be in control. But I can't control time. I can't control anything. So far the renovation is turning out fine. I'm so very grateful of the contractor I have. I trust him to do the right thing by me. All of the catastrophes I had imagined and dreaded have not come to be and each day that passes by, my anxiety lessens. This is day two, tomorrow will be day three but I am still on pins and needles until the final reveal, until all of the pieces come together. At the end of it, I should have a brand new, modern bathroom. I think I might even be able to do the kitchen next.
I am holding my breath.