Progress report: 15%/24%

This is a test of my project management skills. If I am correct, we have 85 days of tiling to go. (We have done 13 days, two of them with serious professionals laying tile and I think it’ll be 100 days of work.) I’ve done 47 hours of painting (with help) out of the 200 I estimate needing for the house.

It’s coming along. I’m weary because last week I felt the fanatical need to get through a stage of the project and I spent several nights working till 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 in the morning. When you start working at 8:30 in the morning that’s a long day. But that was scraping all the stupid little tiles so I could hurry up and finish gridding the sections for the shower. Now all the teeny tiny tiles have been scraped and I’m up to spacing and tiling sections. Ok, I’ve been spacing and tiling sections for a couple weeks now.

Hey folks: remember that taping we did of tiny tiles to the carboard boxes? That was maybe kinda a little stupid. Because now getting it off there and spaced and into configuration for the mosaic tape is kinda a pain in the ass. So we put a lot of labor into making my life harder later. Hahahahahaha. Cheers.

I didn’t know.

Oh well!

I’ve learned a lot from this process. A lot I may never use again.

The playroom is back in service! This is a huge deal. I’m super excited. We finished the painting in there (though I noticed after I said that and moved toys that I forgot to edge one side of the door framing. Whoops) and moved toys and the kids promptly threw everything on the floor and exclaimed with glee that they would not be picking anything up. Ok then.

We are now in negotiation about what screen rules look like going forward. I sorta anticipate a decline in youtube in the house because nope you don’t get to make a huge mess then go watch obnoxious rude assholes. Nope. I’m that flavor of asshole. If you want to watch shit I hate… you get to do all your chores first. That includes making it so I can do basic cleaning like vacuuming in the whole house. Because the bug problem didn’t improve with the remodel. We still have ants in the new area. Sigh. We live on a swamp. We can’t escape bugs. It isn’t about me being fussy and particular… it’s just life. We have to clean if we don’t want infestations. Believe me in the last year I’ve pushed these limits to see how gross we can let the house get without problems. It’s pretty bad. Just sayin’.

The living room isn’t clean and tidy but it only has stuff in it that belong in the living room. I’m thrilled. The kid bedroom isn’t clean and tidy but it mostly only has stuff in there that belongs. My bedroom… still has lingering bathroom stuff because the last cabinets haven’t arrived yet.

The garage is the last hold out of troublesome storage. We can’t have an Easter party until the garage is in service again so I feel like I’m racing the clock. I don’t want to miss the third year in a row because of a fucking remodel. That’s ridiculous. I’m ready to move on with my life. Seriously.

The tree of life is on my spacing board. That center area of the tree trunk is what I’m spacing/taping right now. So that’s kind of exciting. The other 2/3 of the shower are nearly done. There is less than 1′ sq of tile left to add to those to walls. They will be finished today. Then they want to start the tree so that the whole shower can be finished before they move on to another area of the bathroom. Personally I think things would move faster if they worked on multiple walls at once because we can only add 3-5″ of tile up a wall on a given day. Any more than that and it gets heavy and starts sliding down the wall and squishing the spacing out. That’s not good. So I feel like multiple walls would give more area to cover. So far no one agrees with me.

But it’s coming along. I love it a lot. The waterfall is finished. It didn’t turn out exactly like I designed to start with for a variety of reasons. I like it. There are more random pieces here and there than I intended so it looks kind of chunky in places. I like looking at it and coming up with reasons in my head why a natural environment would have a random area be different. That’s a lot of fun for me.

The wall I’m working on for the bathtub area (I’ve finished one quadrant of one of the three walls) has a volcano. I figured it out after I’d done most of the spacing out. I looked at it and turned my head and was like, “Hey! I know why there are a bunch of bright colorful rocks at the base of this mountain!” I don’t think it’s been active recently, but there are still neat mineral pockets.

It’s kinda a funny process.

I have laid out and ready for the tile guy to get started: the front tiles for the bathtub/shower facing areas that are outside the water zone. Does that make sense? They are what you see from the walkway. They are going to be a fairly easy layout. Those are 4″ tiles and they will go likety-split compared to the teeny tiles. Those are mean and vicious. Also the tiles for the dividing wall between the shower and the bathroom. I’ve laid out and gridded and taped part of inside the bath tub. I’ve laid out and taped the bottom 5″ tall by about 4′ wide of the tree. That’s enough prep for at least three days of tile laying. And he still complains that I’m not going fast enough to get things ready for him.

I love my tile guy. I will remember him forever. I asked him if he will sign the wall when we are done so I never forget that he was my partner in art. He laughed and said sure. He complains a lot and I absolutely love him for it. He is particular and fussy. It’s great. He does beautiful work. The areas in my bathroom where the tile isn’t that great? Yeah those were the two days he had a helper. Ha.

Now we have a helper, a less skilled guy, and every day is turning into a lecture series for me. The guy (I’m struggling to not call this 24 year old man with a child a kid because he reads as innocent to me) found out I was a former teacher and has been quizzing me since then. “What do you think about ______?” We talk about politics a lot. We talk about the intricacies of fighting the government and who needs to do what. Yesterday we talked about religion and death and the afterlife. We talk about parenting–the tile guys kids are older than me so he has opinions.

Know what I love? A person with opinions. Tell me allllll your opinions. Provided you aren’t a white supremacist. Then I don’t want to hear them. I want to hear the other opinions.

They are schooling me on my Spanish. Which is fun.

All in all, except for wanting my garage back this is a fun process for me at this point. I’m still damaging my body, of course. Noah’s getting sort of out of patience with me having all these hobbies that damage me. He gets stuck picking up the pieces and he’s pretty tired of it. I get it. I do. But I don’t really think I’ll ever be good at being idle.

I’m exercising more. I’m doing sit ups and push ups and stretching other random floor exercises most days. I’m trying to get folks to go running with me. It’s fun. Our sleep schedule has been all over the place.

Something that I should pay more attention to and care about more: Not a single person in my house sleeps well when I work all night long. They all stay up hours and hours past bed time.

I was talking to my shrink about friendships and the concept of chosen family. I think I’m done with the concept of “best friend”. Throughout my life I’ve had a series of people I’ve thrown myself upon. I needed a lot back from my friends. I needed them to be my family because I didn’t really have one. Brittney, Grant, Anna, Alex, and I could go on but it starts hurting a lot.

I wear friends out. I am too much. I need to stop looking for my friends to fill these holes in me because doing so hurts them and makes them have to reject me entirely.

I think this is part of the reason I want more children. I’m allowed, even encouraged, to focus on my children in a way that is desperately unhealthy in every other capacity in my life. I have a lot to give and most people really don’t want to get it from me. So kids.

My kids and I live in a strange little world of our own creation. It’s a fairly happy world as we acknowledge that our larger frame is being part of a sick society we have to work to change. Noah is increasingly included now that he works from home. In the past he felt… honestly less a part of the whole thing. I really like having him around all the time. We are learning a lot about each other and giving space and allowing room for growth.

I feel like a plant that had withered down to almost nothing that is suddenly deeply watered. I grow so fast.

I need to learn how to love my friends with distance even as it is ok for me to enjoy the closeness I have with my family. I understand more why other people have always rejected me to go back to the place where they are normal and ok and their way is right. I feel like I created such a place for myself through brute force. But it wasn’t actually brute force. It was manual labor and inspiration.

I have so many people I love so much. I feel like an asshole because I want to clarify these things in my head. I’ve spent a lot of years around polyamorous folks who believe you shouldn’t categorize relationships you shouldn’t define things you should just accept. That path will lead to me losing my cotton picking mind.

That’s a phrase my mom used all the time. I feel like a racist every time I think or say it. I’m about to lose my cotton picking mind. It’s one of the phrases that feels most natural to me in avoiding cursing. (I am trying to curse less.) But the things I have in my mind I’m supposed to know the entire origin of every word and phrase in order to find out if someone like me is allowed to use it or if it is meant for someone else and I should keep my dirty white hands off it.

I understand how POC can get to the point of internalizing self-hatred because they are internalizing things that are projected by society. I spend a lot of time reading about the atrocities of white people.

I think it is funny when I’m ranting about how white people suck that there is often a fucking white guy who has to tell me “Uhhhh, I hate to break it to you… but your white.” (Misspelling is usually included in their message. *I* know the difference.) HOLY SHIT! REALLY!! WHY HASN’T ANYONE ELSE EVER TOLD ME?!?!!?! Oh wait. This is the 90,432 time someone has. Never mind.

It is as if people believe that being white means I am not allowed to critique whiteness or the actions of people who are white.

I think you better have another think coming.

What countries have white people ruined? Define ruin. The Native Americans have a strong argument. Let’s look at South Africa. Let’s look at… you know what… let’s not.

You haven’t read any books about history and you don’t care. So I’m not going to waste my breath or typing spoons on that kind of lecture today.

Something that is hard for me is, lots of times people I learn from–specifically women of color–say things about white people and I desperately want to believe I am an exception. I want to #NotAllWhitePeople them. I don’t. I sit on my damn fingers. Sometimes I type a response then I delete it without sending it.

It doesn’t matter if there are exceptions. There is a larger pattern and they are right to complain about it and centering myself as the exception only illustrates their point that they are being ignored and erased. If I want to be an exception to invalidating their reality… I need to not fucking argue. I need to accept and listen and shut my god damn mouth.

Recently a white man I had previously respected said, “I have a voice and I want to use it” in a conversation about how it is unfair that women of color want to have conversations he isn’t invited into. Bitch you are a college professor. You have a lot of rooms where your voice is wanted and the voice of marginalized women of color is not. How dare you come into spaces where they finally get to have a voice and complain that your voice is not being heard. GET OVER YOURSELF.

I was feeling bad about losing contact with a corner of a social group. Now I remember why I stopped talking to them.

Clearly I like having a voice as much or more as any other person. There are a whole lot of spaces where the only way my participation is welcome is if I am silent.

I accept that deal in a lot of places when I go out into the world. Even when I go out on to the internet. I don’t get to control the narrative everywhere.

Just in my house and in my blog. I don’t get control of god damn anything else.

Even in my house I’m in a long term negotiation with the other people who live here. I am not a fascist dictator setting terms. I am very clear at all times that my goal is long-term relationships with psychologically healthy adults; I have to carefully negotiate the terms of my house. My family is full of strong opinions and desire for control. I don’t get to run the whole show. Noah now even has a man cave in the garage. See, I give up space as negotiated.

*I* don’t have dedicated space in this house. There isn’t enough room. But I’m carving it out for other people. I kinda fit in around the cracks. Maybe it’s my damn bath tub. Ha.

Setting up this bathroom feels like creating worship space. I’m going to spend a lot of time in this room thinking about my life and my choices and my future. I want the setting to be right.

Set and setting. My time in the theatre shaped my thinking quite a bit. I didn’t understand how I was shaping my brain as a young person. Now that I’m in my 30’s and I have perspective it is interesting to me how I sought out experiences and sensory experiences and chances to do things.

Oh, the other thing I’m talking about a lot with the tile guys is travel. They are both from small villages in Mexico and they came here a long time ago and they’ve never been anywhere else at all.

Oh let me tell you about the country and the world. They have questions about climate and plants and culture. I have my skewed opinions. Ha.

I didn’t know I knew so many things. I know a lot of people who are far more educated than me. They had rich parents and started their educations at more like the ages when my children are starting theirs.

Privilege. Experiences. Options. What do these things mean? What does it mean to want a better future for your children? Why is it so important to me that each of my children travel out of the country before they are a year old.

Most Americans never leave the country. More than 60% of Americans never have a passport.

More than half the country has less than $1,000 in savings.

My kids are privileged mother fuckers. Ok, so I haven’t stopped swearing entirely.

What is that going to mean? How do I create little people who are not entitled to go along with the good luck of being privileged? This is so complicated.

And I’m not going to figure it out today. Noah asked me if I want to go running. Yup. I do.