March 30, 2011

Those Blasted Stairs

Finished just in time for this post
I pretty much require neatness. If the house is the least bit unorganized I get testy. If a picture on the wall is crooked, I straighten it.  This can create a problem because my wife is someone who thrives on multiple projects, most of which require lots of space and lots of messes for various periods of time. In our retirement-sized smaller home this can be a challenge.

So, knowing that, explain to me why we decided to have our carpeted steps to the second floor replaced with wood steps this week? This process requires us to move most of the living room furniture into the family room. We can't use the stairs for 8 hours a day so we have to bring downstairs anything we might need for the day, including different clothes, wallets, books...anything that we would possibly need all day. The project covers things with dust and creates very strong odors.

While that is going on Betty is in the middle of sanding and re-staining all the cabinets in the upstairs guest bath and re-designing her office, also upstairs. Plus, she is working on a major project for the church that has half the garage filled with wood, cement, tools, fabric, and other odds and ends.

Also I should mention because it is spring in Phoenix that means major backyard cleanups, replanting, and  trimming are underway. It means removing a broken fountain and fixing a potting bench, plus trips to the garden center for more pots and plants for the porch and Ramada.

As I write this we are restricted to a couch in the family room, half the dinette table, and the backyard. I am going bonkers. It is my worst nightmare in triplicate. It is the perfect storm of domestic upheaval. Wait, there's more. My wife just informed me her eyeglasses snapped in half!

The joys of home ownership come with its constant upkeep and remodeling. A condo is starting to look pretty good. Someone else can fix and upgrade and repair. Someone else can replant and prune, re-roof and repaint.

Oh, I have to go. The lawn service apparently cut the head off a sprinkler and part of the yard is flooding.


  1. Look on the bright side Bob. It is nice to have the health to take on so many projects at one time. I am a pretty handy guy (ran my own furniture making shop for seven years after my corporate retirement)but it would take me a couple of months to accomplish what you guys are doing in a week! But then again I don't "require neatness" so maybe I don't really understand ;-)

  2. Just be glad you aren't getting snow on Friday. Oh misery..............

  3. Good morning all,

    @rjscorner: Thanks for the bright side reminder. You are right. In order to do all this we must be physically able. And for the marriage to stand it we must be doing OK on the relationship side, too. It is just the scheduling that is suspect.

    RJ, at last count you had 39 separate blogs. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but you must have a a lot of energy and dedication to keep of them going.

    @Roberta: I grew up in Massachusetts so I am familiar with April Fool's Day snow. Kind of depressing, isn't it. Hang in there, Spring is only a month or so away.

  4. Bob,
    And you can still climb those stairs. Life is good!

  5. I can always count on Ralph to succinctly cut to the heart of the issue.

  6. Why not move to Panama for part of the year? My husband and I are seriously thinking of checking out Panama. I need more material to write about, after Belize. No more staircases, and a beach instead. doesn't that sound GOOD?

  7. Hi Sonia,

    Simple answer: family. We couldn't be that far from our daughters, grandkids, and my Dad. Otherwise, my wife and I are beach people and would live near one. That's why our month long driving trip in mid September is being replaced with 3 weeks on Maui. We miss the islands.

    AS soon as you get the Belize book published and finish all the book tours, go for Panama. You can write it off as research.

    By the way, my friend whose first book comes out in June just found out the company he works for was sold. So he is up in the air for awhile, but is interested in talking with you about the joys of getting published.

  8. How did we ever find time for a job? I hear this complaint from husbands all the time...well actually their wive tell me..."Why is this place such a mess?" A friend down the street is now living in an RV full time. Her husband is a well known Evangelist and they travel continually. She has taken up quilting...need I say more!

    If I could explain what happens in retirement I would be a genius. We women have not changed...but the 24/7 husband is astounded at what went on when they were at work. Even after 15 years of retirement, my husband is dumbfounded by what goes on here at home. It makes me laugh!

    As for your perfect storm + broken glasses....well, stuff happens! :)


  9. Hi Barb,

    Good question. When I worked and my wife was a stay-at-home while the kids were young I doubt she had much time for her own projects. Now she is making up for lost time.

    One thing we have done for almost our entire 34 years of marriage is split the chores. I have done my own laundry and taken on parts of the housecleaning since day one. I also worked out of the house for almost 15 years so when I wasn't on the road I was able to pitch in.

    The problem of the husband suddenly being "underfoot" is a real sore point with many. The smart guys realize they should follow their spouse's lead and pitch in as required.

  10. Hi Bob,

    One could find a parallel here to a theme I was reflecting on today -- the impact of personal expectations on interior peace (related themes of surrender and trust).

    Thanks for sharing your experiences of "one of those days!" ... we all can relate and share a wry smile.

  11. Rick,

    I'm glad this resonated with you today. I wasn't sure when I wrote it whether there would be much interest in my problems with a set of stairs. But, as you point out, this experience may connect with someone else's in an entirely different way.