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the confirmation hearings and I, screeching to a halt

I keep clicking on the NYTimes to see what’s happening now, as it changes minute to minute. We are watching a country tearing itself apart. I can only imagine what amusement Putin is getting out of this. For awhile the fate of the country, maybe the world, rested on the slim shoulders of Jeff Flake. Who came through, sort of. Bring on the FBI.

What a magnificent woman CBF is, to get through that experience with such grace. I don’t diss her, as some are, for being so polite. Thank God for politeness. I could not watch the disgusting spectacle later in the day. Ye gods. What a melodrama for our times.

In the meantime, my own drama. Today an engineer came to let me and Jean-Marc, the renovation project manager, know what would be needed to hold up a new apartment on the second and third floor. A lot, it turns out, because, as I’ve known since we bought this place, the original work done here was not done properly and so, much needs to be fixed. Three beams would have to be put in from the third floor to the basement, which would entail ripping out my living room walls and much of the basement. This, besides completely decimating the second floor and most of the third. I’d planned to live on the main floor through the process, but obviously this would be impossible; JM told me I should live somewhere else for perhaps six weeks, and my downstairs tenant would have to move as well, because the electricity and plumbing would sometimes be shut off.

I cried Uncle. Enough! But what choice did I have – either sell this house and move to a condo or go through this excruciating renovation? I’m just not ready to move. Yet.

And then JM blew my tiny mind. “You have a third option,” he said. “Don’t do anything.”
My jaw dropped.
“Keep living here just as you are,” he said, the words that changed my life. For now, anyway.

It’s funny how you get locked into a pattern and cannot see any more where you are or what you need. But of course. I was building the reno because I live in a big house and wanted to share my space, but not with a tenant like I’ve had before who’d use my kitchen and my shower. I don’t need rental income while I have teaching income; the reno would be so expensive, it would be years before the loan would be paid off and there’d be income anyway. It was mostly to use space that’s not being used. I was going to shield my privacy from the tenant by creating her own space.

But what if I simply do not have a tenant? Leave the room for occasional rentals and friends? For awhile, anyway?

“But,” I said to JM, “there’s a housing shortage in Toronto. I wanted to create housing for someone.”
“You don’t need to take that on,” he said. “You do enough.”

I will pay thousands to various people, including today’s engineer, for work done to no avail, but I will not have to go through that horrible experience. At least yet – I’ll give myself five years. In the meantime, new condos will be going up on Gerrard; maybe I’ll find something close by that I like, and it’ll be time for the big shift.

In the meantime – I’m right here, in my kitchen, where I belong.



2 Responses to “the confirmation hearings and I, screeching to a halt”

  1. theresa says:

    This post has a relationship with your earlier one, about what we can and can't do to deal with our future health needs (anticipating them, accepting them gracefully, challenging the parameters of our care), and how we can find a way to live in a responsible way, for ourselves and those we love. Ah, I wish for simple solutions but I don't think there are any. What you're doing now sounds very reasonable!

  2. beth says:

    Everyone I know around our age, Theresa, is grappling with these questions, if not actively, then at the back of our minds – how and where will we grow old, should we be lucky enough to grow old? There are no easy answers, as you say, but I realized in my own circumstances that I should take more time to figure out what to do with my house.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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