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My Kitchen Is a Cleaner, Empty Box

This won't come as any surprise to anyone who's done it, but wow does everything about a home renovation take longer than expected! Over the past week, we figured some things out, added tasks to our must-do list, filled holes and gaps, did several rounds of mudding and sanding, shopped and scrounged for supplies many times, made quick substitutions when the things we wanted to buy were out of stock indefinitely, and washed the ceiling, walls, and floor several times. 

This weekend, Michigan apparently entered its new climate-change-era monsoon season, jacking up the humidity to 85+ throughout the day and night along with swamp-butt hot temperatures--a set of conditions not amenable to painting or allowing paint to dry properly. My husband spent a large portion of yesterday constructing, from scratch, a wooden frame to hold one of our window air conditioners in a kitchen window, to cool and air condition the room maybe enough that we can start priming today. There will be no ventilation, of course, but we don't want to lose the whole final week of my vacation from work waiting for the rain to stop. We bought low/zero-VOC products to be as safe as possible considering we can't even crack a window.

On top of all that, we had a couple of tornadoes blow through the area yesterday, along with a shocking amount of flooding that I've never seen around here before. Manhole covers popped out of the main streets like champagne corks, and those of us fortunate enough to have basements to evacuate into got to witness the ultimate tests of our foundations and sump pumps. While some locals huddled with their families on makeshift islands of stuff and watched the floodwaters rise around them, my family was able to handle the worst of it by quickly moving a few items and running for the shop vac. Luckily, the power didn't go out, so our sump pump kept on doing what it could while we hoovered up the water that bubbled up through the TV room floor cracks. I've never seen it do that before!

To add interest, every single member of our household and my parents' has had a wee health crisis this week. Our cat had an upsetting blood test result at her first post-lockdown checkup and needs follow-up testing soon to help determine whether she has a serious, potentially fatal, and exorbitantly expensive thyroid disease or cancer. Meanwhile, we have to dose her with two medications, one edible and one topical. My husband brought home a nasty summer cold from work (thanks, lifting of mask mandates!) that then spread to everyone else and knocked us out of commission for a while, and one of our best workers sustained a knee injury that might mark the end of participation in this entire project.

Meanwhile, there seems to be no limit to the amount of absolute f***ery terrorizing the roads that has been accelerating since lockdown and probably won't stop until everyone is wrecked or dead. People are wilding out smashing into each other and causing spectacular, traffic-jamming accidents all over the place during rush hour, which now apparently runs from noon to 6:00 p.m. and features heaping helpings of toxic rage, texting, and heavy intoxication, making supply runs treacherous. (I looked up stats on whether I'm being paranoid or are the roads actually this dangerous, and uh, that was one of the times I Googled something and received full affirmation and zero comfort on the issue. American roads were among the most dangerous in the world in 2019, only surpassed by the terror of roads in Thailand and South Africa, and everything has gone from catastrophically bad to worse with a quickness over the past couple of years.) Stay safe out there!

This past week has been frustrating, sad, and at times downright miserable. I had at least one total toddler-style meltdown. And yet, here we are, making daily progress on getting that darn kitchen put together so that someday we can cook and wash dishes at home again. This is probably the most apocalyptic-feeling vacation time I've experienced in my life, surpassing last year's peak pandemic staycation, when at least I had anxiety baking to get me through. But even so, I'm grateful to have a roof over my head and a loving family and good friends (who keep offering to help, bless you, though we don't want to pass along our cooties and there's no room for your car in our driveway at this time) and enough bodily health to push through a lot of challenges and keep getting things done while literally bailing out the muddy waters of converging acts of God at the same time.

For absolute Friday's sake, please send all the vibes for me to be able to show off at least an empty, green box in next week's installment of my thrilling "watching paint dry" kitchen renovation series. 

Hang in there, compatriots! I hope you are all finding ways to stay dry, cool, sheltered, medically cared for, and safe on the roads out there. Existence is hard right now. Anything you can do to stay well or get anything accomplished is an achievement! Maybe if I keep writing that, I'll believe it about myself too.

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