Dealing with reality (or not)
The house still looks like a building site, a slightly cleaner building site, but a building site nonetheless. I have, however, managed to find some islands of sanity in amongst it all and that is 1) the kitchen, which I am doing my damndest to keep clean, tidy and free from dust and 2) my bedroom, which is a little bit of a haven, beautifully warm and bright. A controller (I shy away from using the words ‘control freak’) by nature, keeping those little islands for myself gives me the, somewhat false, sense of being able to control this house and project.
Between the kitchen and my bedroom is some grotty old carpet on the stairs (don’t worry future guests, it’s being replaced), a beautiful mosaic floor which is covered in dust and paint, some giant bits of fireproof plasterboard (that I literally cannot move they are so heavy) and lots and lots of wood. The rest of the house is free from carpet; underlay and floorboards on show for all to see. If my levels of rationality are an indicator I suspect I am definitely getting used to things because, in actuality, the house doesn’t look that much better than it did a few weeks ago: Panic and fear are subsiding into acceptance, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (it’s a chink, but it’s definitely there).
My mental health has been infinitely enhanced by the fact that Danny has ‘allowed’ me to bring in a painter and decorator (thank you Danny… so so much). Knowing that the house is slowly improving without any need for me to actually climb up a ladder with a paint brush and cloth is incredibly calming. There is painting to be done (lots of it) but someone else, who knows what they are doing, is doing it. There is tiling and woodwork to be done but someone else is turning up on Sunday to do that. There are curtains to be made but Danny’s mum is here to make them. All in all we’ve pretty much got it covered, leaving me to do what I do best… admin, planning, cleaning, marketing and organising.
Talking of admin (insert tenuous link) last week our card machine turned up. I stared at it for 3 days, admiring the way it glowed, before building up the courage to actually run someone’s card details through. It was strange, it just felt too real to be taking money off people. Not that I have any doubt (now) that the place is going to be ready, it’s just that there’s something very final about taking money off people for a breakfast you haven’t yet cooked, a bed you haven’t yet provided and a room you haven’t yet carpeted. As I typed in card numbers, expiration dates and addresses the reality of this being our business, our job, just hit home that little bit more.
You’d think I’d have got used to it by now, yet even when dropping my sister off at the airport yesterday I still couldn’t quite believe that I don’t have a return ticket. I’m so far past the point of no return that I can’t even see the line that I crossed so I wonder when it will really hit home. After the first year maybe? Maybe even after that?
A ‘staunch’ Londoner, if there is even such a thing, I can’t quite believe that I’ve left. Exchanging 24 hour opening for views of the ocean; crowded tube journeys for train journeys along the coast; an office job for a job where sitting down will be a luxury; and a social network for a life of semi (at the moment) isolation.
If I were to try affirmations (and I really should) I would say: “Get over it Lee Rotbart. You’re here. You’re where you want to be. You look out the window and see ocean, you leave the house and breathe in fresh air. Stop your moaning and start your ‘doing’. The house will get done, the curtains will get made, the painting will be finished and (hopefully by this time next week) all the wood and plasterboard will be gone from the hallway. Don’t dream of the life you want, live the dream you’ve created.”