As the months have gone by I have come to realize that a “maybe divorce” is analogous to the dismantling of a house. Most “maybe divorces” appear to me to work in this way:

1.You take down the house slowly brick-by-brick until you reach the foundation and realize that no amount of structural engineering can save it. You then buy two very civilized but individual abodes one stuffed with everything from the marriage and the other devoid of all that it stood for.

2. You blow up the entire structure leaving a giant gaping smoldering hole in the ground with both parties going their separate ways clutching whatever they could find in the ruins. Little is wanted or salvageable.

3. Or you renovate over time; adding on a little here or taking way something there, until something new materializes that you recreated together.

Our “maybe divorce” appears to be going the renovation route which is in some ways not surprising. After all, we have built two houses and a winery during our time together. Our shared history includes a hand-dug out basement using just shovels, our bare hands and a wheelbarrow crafted just like smugglers tunneling underneath the US boarder.We are good at sawing, hammering, planting and building huge retaining walls to hold back all the dirt. We excel at seeing one thing and turning it into another. Our life together has been one big “honey-do” list. And then, just as a project came to fruition, we would always move for the sake of B’s career. All the time and effort down the drain but at the same time offering a chance to start over and reinvent our lives.

Today we live in a tract home. It’s identical to so many others on our street. Nothing outside gives an impression of who lives under the eaves. Being architecturally unique is no longer part of who we are and I miss that. Our renovation seems anti-climatic as we chip away at the old broken tile that covers the surface of our lives and pull up the carpet hoping against hope that there is an undiscovered wood floor residing beneath. And while we find some cool relics from the past as we dig around, the treasure we seek seems to be so well hidden that sometimes it seems as if we may never find it despite our best intentions.

Of course, all this renovation comes with a price. The foundation we once thought stable needs shoring up. We fight among ourselves over what we keep and what we let go. The professional “fixers”charge by the hour and cost overruns are the norm. Load bearing walls stay high while other less-necessary walls come down only to go up in some different form again. And the construction dust/debris covers every surface of our lives as we work within the confines of the boundaries of the house to create something that has a better flow. And so it goes.

Yet, recently it came to my attention that with all the care we are putting into our new creation we did forget one tiny but important detail.  We forgot to ask the real question…the most important one…is this the right house in the right location in first place?

I suspect only time and the heart will tell.




One thought on “Renovation

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