I was in a howling bad mood last night. For a few weekends I've been using spare time to throw junk away and pack. I've also been fixing moldings and patching cracks in the plaster and painting. Yesterday I painted the bathroom and found the process extremely frustrating. What's the point? I kept asking myself, applying the third coat of primer to the ceiling. Whoever buys this house--if anyone does--is going to gut this bathroom anyway. This is a waste of time! Every errant drop sent me into a rage, and I swore a hole through the ozone layer while trying to paint that fucking 20' high skylight over the tub. I screwed up at the border of the ceiling and wall at one point, bleeding lavender paint into pure white, and I nearly took a hammer to the plaster.
When Cha came home she asked if I was happy and I told her no. "I hate this fucking dingy old house. There's music throbbing through the wall, the front yard is littered with Busch Light cans again, and I'm trying to make it look palatable to buyers who are going to flip it into a quick rental property anyway. There's junk piled everywhere and I can't read or think or relax if there's clutter. There's always clutter." Meanwhile, she's finally started cleaning the junk out of her studio. Unfortunately, "cleaning" for Cha means hiding things in the attic, basement, and trunk of her car. It also means moving piles of things from one place to another. Now the formerly constrained catastrophe of her room is spread throughout the house. It's been worse in the past, but so much disorder makes me insane. I was moving some boxes down to the basement when one of her booby traps of mysteriously positioned objects nearly killed me. She'd stacked a bunch of wine glasses from the annual community association dinner on a plastic tray at the foot of the basement stairs and covered them with a red table cloth. Carrying a big load I didn't see them and they shattered around my ankles and I nearly fell on a rolling glass into the debris. I thought I'd stepped on a landmine, and my ankles were tangled in red fabric and I was crunching broken glass in my cheap flip-flop slippers. Whence this propensity of hers to put shoes and rolling pins and boxes and sharp objects right at the foot of staircases? I swear she's trying to collect my life insurance.
But we're making progress. Most of last night's rage I think came from the fact that I don't hate our house. I love our house, and would be happy fixing it up and staying. That option is off the table, however, because of the fraternal order of nincompoops next door and their brethren down the entire row of houses. My anger springs from the fact that I don't like being forced out of this formerly comfy niche.
All of this is upadana. I read some Raymond Carver short fiction last night and cheered up immediately. Then I noticed that our new brightly painted bathroom is much lovelier than the dank old moldering off-white cave it was before. It's a pleasure to sit in there and read The New York Review of Books.