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As the Beach Boys so memorably sang, “Help me, Rhonda.”

I’m sitting in my overcoat, which is covered with plaster dust, as are my hands and everything else, except this bottle of Argentinian Cab Sauv I just opened. The furnace had to be turned off today because of the major demolition going on upstairs. It’s upsetting, yes, to hear my house shattering, even though I know the destruction is voluntary, I brought it on myself, in the interests of making things better.

The second floor hall

My bedroom

But the termite destruction I did not bring on myself. As you may know, there was a huge infestation 7 years ago, which required tens of thousands of dollars and a second mortgage to rip off and rebuild the entire back of my house. And then they came back last year, and instead of doing a full treatment, my thrifty self opted for a partial treatment, which he assured me would be enough, which, it turns out, was a mistake. Because the termite guys came today, and what has to be done is major. Major major major. Drilling holes throughout the basement, cutting into ceilings, three different treatments have to happen, and not just to me but to my neighbours on either side.

Help, help me Rhonda.

As the guys were poking into the termite dust, I was receiving messages from Ottawa, where the move from my aunt’s was supposed to be happening – they couldn’t get in, the phone wasn’t responding. I was trying to make sure all went well in Ottawa while listening to termite horror, and the pounding and smashing continued upstairs.

At this point, my stomach heaved badly. It did last night too. My body is not happy right now. And so I’m not going to drink this cheap wine, I’m going to dig out a good bottle. If there’s ever a time to open a good bottle of wine, it’s right now.

I know, first world problems, nothing to complain about here. I have a fabulous team. JM handled all the termite stuff, including going to my hysterical neighbour –

We interrupt with this news bulletin: the quote just came in from the termite guys. $4500, and they recommend that a roofer check part of my roof because they suspect there may be damage.

And a Merry Christmas to you too!

Could be worse. As cheery JM says, it’s not the foundations, it’s not beams. YAY! It’s just way more chaos, including chaos for my tenant, whose ceiling will be chopped open and furniture moved. I knew the top half of the house would be crazy, but now every single inch is in upheaval or soon will be. Unlike the unbelievably positive JM, I’m not good with upheaval, and neither is my stomach.

On the plus side, a new New Yorker just arrived, and in the midst of all this, I fulfilled a week’s old appointment to get my hair cut. Ingrid remarked on how extremely dry my hair was, and I said, no, that’s plaster dust. My stomach has continued to heave, but this nice prize-winning Australian Shiraz – a gift from one of my students – is helping settle it down, and Daniel and Daniel have provided me with an instant dinner. The furnace is back on, and soon I will be able to take my coat off. My first night in my basement bedroom was odd but okay; it’s very dark down there, but I think the centipedes have been encouraged to live elsewhere.

And the most fun – this morning JM took me to Habitat for Humanity, full of donated furniture and building materials; the money earned is used to build housing for those in need. Almost all the materials for what we’re doing, including new hardwood floors upstairs and several nice old doors, will come from there; all the shelves for my new closet will be recycled planks or flat doors. How perfect for a second-hand junkie like me – we’re not only building new things in my habitat, we’re helping humanity. If there’s one thing I like to do, it’s help humanity.

Thank you for listening. You my readers are helping me get through this. I nearly cried twice today but have not yet. I did manage to find clean clothes and my hairbrush, more or less. I got to the Y to have a shower, where I discovered that I’ve gained a kilo in a few days, despite my iffy stomach, because in times of stress, food is an anchor. As if starvation is imminent, at every opportunity, I stuff anything edible into my mouth.

Now it’s the weekend, and my wounded but doughty old house and my wounded but doughty old self will take it easy for a day or two.



2 Responses to “yikes”

  1. Unknown says:

    Beth, I've just endured 5 days of family misery. Reading your blog has lifted my spirits. I admire your pluck, thank you for sharing your days. Marlane

  2. beth says:

    Marlane, I'm sorry to hear about your misery – but happy to share mine! And to remember, as several dear friends have written to me, that this too shall pass. Yours too.

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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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