Urban camping

Funny how, if you want to bring your home into the 21st century, you sometimes have to live like a caveman. I didn’t even realize how bad things had gotten around here until my folks flew in from Texas last week.

“Welcome! So glad y’all are here! What’s that, Dad? You want to know what the deal is with the floors upstairs? Oh, well, when we pulled up all that cat-pissy carpet, we realized that the wood underneath really wasn’t worth refinishing after all. So we’re gonna install new flooring on top of it. Someday. When we win that lottery we’re not playing. For now, it’s not so bad, right? Just a little rough, paint-chippy, never-been-finished, splintery wood that’s entrenched in demo dust and refuses to come clean. Kinda gives the place a rustic, log-cabin kinda feel, don’t you think? Ahem…. So. Can I get you some slippers, Dad?”

“What’s that, Mom? You want to know where to put your toiletries? Well, if y’all want a bathroom all to yourselves, you can set up shop in the master bath. Just don’t use the tub in there—it works, but the plumber said it’s…. wrong. I dunno, something about how the bath water might end up in the dishwasher…. Ahem. Anyway, ‘round here, we get clean 1920s-style, using the clawfoot tub in the bathroom across the hall. Just don’t use the sink in there, or it’ll leak water all over the floor, okay? Okay…. What Mom? You wanna know why we don’t use the shower in the 1960s bathroom downstairs? Well, see, the tiles are falling off, and the water leaks down through the wall. Hey, Mom, one second—let me get you a towel. I think we have one that actually DOESN’T have any crusty bits of paint on it. Somewhere.”

When you’re weary as all get-out after an entire summer in home-improvement hell, and you’re STILL stuck with half a house that you know you’re going to completely redo—someday—it’s tough bringing yourself to bother with even the smallest repair projects. Before you know it, your standard of living goes right down the outdated, yellow toilette. It’s a lifestyle that you sort of fall into, slowly, by degrees.

Dylan and I call it urban camping.

Last week, Mom and Dad helped us paint my office and Dylan’s photo studio, woodwork and all. They scraped off all the plaster and joint compound we’d left caked all over our tools. They weeded the hell out of our front and back yards, leaving it looking downright civilized out there. They took shifts and did a helluva job during our day-long floor-sanding marathon in the living room (that wood is actually worth saving!). And last but not least, they wailed on the downstairs bathroom—scraped every last drop of paint that we’d spilled; scrubbed every last, filthy surface; AND patched the missing tile, bringing our one and only shower back into working order.

When all we could do was obsess over how nice the house should be—and will be, someday—they gave Casa Vitone the kind of love that only parents can give. The kind that says, “That’s okay. We love you for who you are.” And then, they kissed it better.

Thanks, Mom and Dad. We love y’all.

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