May 012012

I’m in a much better mood, but still feeling scattered and not mentally settled enough to blog in my usual fashion.

Then another part of me says “what’s ‘your usual fashion’?  Don’t you make the call on that?”

Indeed I do.  So you want to hear what I let bug me way too much?

Maybe four years ago, I discovered the brick mold around both of my back doors had rotted.  When I first found it, it was early enough that I could have fixed it in probably, oh, three hours by digging out the rotten wood, refilling it, sanding, and painting it.

So of course, I walked by them for months, saying “I really need to get to that.”  Guess what?  I never got to it, and it got worse.  (That’s how these things are.)  It reached a point at which I was going to have to replace the brick mold.  So of course, I walked by them for months, saying “I really need to get to that.”  Guess what?  I never got to it.

Then I went into this seasonal back-and-forth.  Couldn’t fix it in the winter, because it was too cold, and the caulk and paint wouldn’t set up.  Never got to it in warmer weather, because hell, on a nice day, who wants to sit on the deck with such drudgery?

Two weekends ago, I cleared the time around soccer and was going to take care of it.  Then, during my preliminaries, I scared the shit out of myself on the net reading about hidden rot in structural members behind the brick mold, following sustained and severe neglect.  Heh.  That did it.  I asked my dad to stop by and advise me.  He did, because he’s a great dad.

Guess what?  It went well.  There was no hidden rot.  We put the new pieces in—PVC, so this’ll be the last time—and when we got to the point where just the finishing work was necessary, we discovered one of the doors wouldn’t latch.

All right.  No big deal. We’ve been jacking around with this stuff pretty good, and something’s out of kilter, but once I get everything bradded and nailed like it should be, it’ll be fine.  Bye, Dad.  Thanks for the help.

Off to get a shower, open a beer, cook dinner, and bask in the afterglow.

So I’m clean, about halfway through my second Torpedo, and feeling good.  Dinner needs to simmer, so I’ll go have a look at the door and see if I can find the problem.  I’m feeling proud of myself, frankly.  I’ve not paid enough attention, escaped any significant penalty for it, and having learned my lesson, now I’m being proactive.

And it was with this mindset that I discovered the fruits of a slow, insidious leak on the hinge side of that back door.  Freshly showered, with my comfy clothes on, with dinner on the stove, and with my favorite beer on the counter, I stepped to the back door and promptly put my fist straight through the floor to the crawlspace.  Then, I moved my fist to the right, and did it again.  What a terrible crackling noise it was as the rotten flooring collapsed under my hand and fell.

“Mood killer” doesn’t begin to cover it.

I slept poorly to not at all Saturday night.  When I did get to sleep, I kept having the same dream over and over.  It was nighttime.  I stepped down to a dock and got in a 75′ or so sportfisher.  Once I was at the controls, I was hurled into a busy channel, with a barge coming straight for me and several smaller boats from other directions, and my challenge was to get my boat out of the way.  I had this dream at least five times. I remember the sensation of my body jerking as I slammed it into full reverse to keep from being splattered on the front of the barge.

Think there is some symbolism there about dereliction of duty as head of household, loss of control, and so forth?

As a bonus, the next morning, I was acutely aware of every floorboard in the house that made noise, because of course, the floor was about to fall through there too.

Dad and Martha came for dinner last night, and it took him 90 seconds to say Bo, this is no big deal.  You can fix it in half a Saturday, and to fix it you do just what you think you should do.

So like I said, I’m in a better mood today.  There’s a dose of self-awareness, too.  I’ve made my own way for two decades now, and clearly I still place a great deal of value in my dad blessing my mistakes and telling me it’s no worse than it looks.  I appreciate that deeply, but you know, I need to get over it.  He’s not going to be around to bless my mistakes forever.

For all of the preaching I do from time to time about keeping things in perspective, I’m still not very good at it sometimes.

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 Posted by at 7:43 pm

  3 Responses to “Lessons from my rotting house”

  1. Very much enjoyed reading this, not because of what happened, but because of how your Dad helped you through it. Looks like he “held your light” this time, eh?

  2. I think it’s great that you have your dad to consult on these matters. David will be that guy for Larry, and you will be that guy for your boys. Circle of life’ in the land of honey-do and all.

    I wish my dad were still around because I am trying to figure out how to get the crust right on a creme brulee. 🙂

  3. Dave, ‘seester, he is indeed good like that! …and ‘seester, LOL!

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