Chaos in the Household

I just wrote a long post and Blogger deleted it. Urgh!

The past weekend has been chaos around the house. Not necessarily bad chaos, but the chaos of home renovation, which can set your nerves on edge. Everything is out of place, filthy, and strange people keep coming over to view the property.

We own a 130-150 year old house. No one seems quite sure of the exact date when it was built. During much of the century or century and a half history, maintenance has been severely neglected. So since we purchased 3 years ago, we've been slowly working through the backlog.

This weekend started with off with the living room chimney being relined. It provided to be a more difficult and messier job than either we or the chimney crew anticipated. Hence, our entire living room and furniture was covered with dirt and soot by the end of the day. Given that condition of the house, I suggested we do a project we had been putting off for some time, the destruction of a built-in bookcase in the dining room.

The bookcase was clearly not original to the house, and I expected to find evidence of plaster and so forth behind it. Well, quite a bit of plaster dust, sawed timbers, and exposed brick later, the bookcase was out along with the entire mantel in the dining room. The mantel removal was not planned, but we truly hated it and it didn't seem to be original. It didn't match the other mantel in the living room. It took us two days of work to get it all out and piled in the backyard. My face was sore from the respirator. And at 8 pm Sunday evening (we usually go to bed at 9 pm on Sundays) we crawled off to a restaurant for a late dinner.

All of the above things are signs of health. Even a month or two ago, the thought of willfully putting our house into a state of chaos would have sent both K and myself hiding under the bed. Saturday was good. K got through it fine. But she didn't sleep well on Saturday night and Sunday was a struggle.

She is the type, who is disturbed if things are out of order. I'm not talking about just something being in the wrong place, but having the furniture moved around, dirt everywhere (not able to sit because every surface is too filthy to touch), and books piled over the house starts to get to her. She struggled on Sunday. This is also combined with a lack of downtime, because we were working on the house throughout the weekend. I tried to take on more of the work and get through it, to relieve her of the pressure of worrying about it.

On some of the bipolar blogs I read, people discuss good, productive mania. We were wishing that K had that type of mania instead of the dysphoric rage mania, which isn't good for anything. I'm speaking somewhat sarcastically, but a good surge of energy would have been useful.

It also didn't help that Monday night, instead of having a quiet opportunity to clean up the house, we had contractors over to view the basement. Finding contractors has been a challenge. Even though it is a big job, it is nasty. No one seems interested in digging up 1400 cubic feet of dirt our of our basement. Any case, we found a third contractor and he's been by twice to look at the basement and discuss possibilities with us. This is also stressful. Visualizing finished projects isn't K's strength. Talking these guys through exactly what we want and understanding what they are telling us in construction language can be a bit of a challenge.

In the end, last night we were both exhausted, but strangely wired as well. I even let K give me a sleeping pill to settle me down, which I believe is a first. That meant I was a bit slow rising this morning and she had to deal with this morning's contractor to haul trash away (from the dining room project) at 6:30 am.

We've wanted to do these projects for a while. The dining room is mostly done, but we now need the plasterer to come in and plaster all the brick, which will be another messy job. But the logistics and stress of doing them take a toll on K. Her eyes are deeper and her brow is coming out over the eyes. We haven't reached the danger zone of the furrowed brow yet; however, I realize her meds are getting stretched as to how well they work with this chaos. The additional stress of choosing someone to do the basement and make the financial decisions regarding the cost of the buildout is another burden.

These are things we want to do. We've talked about them for years and now we can make them a reality. I don't want the price of those desires to be paid for in K's health. I don't think it will happen, but we are working hard to ensure it won't.


At 12:33 PM, Blogger blondzila said...

You guys really do have a gargantuan project. I didn't realize the extent of it. And it's got to be wearing on both of you to never seem to be done with it.

As for productive mania, I get some productivity out of hypomania, and it's great. My full blown mania, however, isn't really all that productive, but it's not rage, either - it leads to deep delusional paranoia. So K's not alone in having dysphoric mania. Mixed states are a bitch.

I also have to say how fantastic you two seem together - peas in a pod, as my grandmother would've said. Yin and yang. Don't forget that.


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