Friday, July 01, 2005

The Cleanup

It has only been two days, but it feels like two years. The time seems to have run together. I want to document all that we have done since it has been so much fun.

Yesterday my husband and my father replaced the locks and I cleaned the hardwood floors and some of the more pressing areas of filth. We made appointments to have a dumpster delivered the next day (today) and to have the two garage door openers fixed or replaced. The gentlemen from the garage door company told my husband that our openers were the oldest working openers he had ever seen. "Working" was loosely interpreted, but we did choose to have both openers replaced due to safety issues. The new openers use sensors to keep them from coming down if anything is in the way, which is necessary with a toddler who loves to push every button she sees.

I bought ceiling paint (but haven't had a chance to apply it). I called a local pool repair company to find out what would be involved in fixing the in-ground pool we were stuck with. We trimmed the tree in the front yard which had grown out into the street. Oh! And my husband bought a riding lawnmower. It seemed at first to be a bit frivolous, but every other house on the block has one. In fact, these people seem to mow their lawns every day—it is just what men *do* here.

Today we were woken up at 6:30 by the waste management facility because the driver came by to drop off our dumpster but were weren’t at the house. Jim and my father ran out of the apartment while I stayed behind to feed Ellie and bring supplies. When I arrived, the dumpster hadn’t yet been delivered, but the garage doors were well on their way to actually opening and closing on demand. We met the neighbors who came out en masse to thank us for trimming the tree in the front yard, and to tell us that they had complained to the previous owners as a group about the fetid swamp that was our pool. I spent the rest of the morning running errands, which included picking up lots of pool chemicals to try to shock the beast into a state of, if not normalcy, at least less pestilential funkitude.

In the afternoon I dumped a bunch of chemicals I didn’t understand into murky green water, and hoped that I wouldn’t catch anything on fire. I made the mistake of using a leaf rake to try to remove the bigger chunks of biological effluvium, but that merely stirred up the murk on the bottom. I realized then that it was indeed possible for the pool to look even worse than it did the day we bought it, which triggered in me a grudging respect and perhaps even affection. The pool has begun to take on a life of its own at this point, swallowing up costly chemicals and my feeble attempts at stewardship with equal derision.

I realize that things would be much simpler if I turned on the filter, but I don’t actually know how to do that. Or where the filter is located, for that matter. It could be hidden in the jungle of weeds we hacked through today in our quest to win neighborly approval through lawn care. We discovered an amazing number of items in the flora of our backyard. My father found an owl statuette. Jim found the solar cover for the pool, which at one time must have been the bee’s knees. I found the pool’s outdoor lighting system, by cutting through a lantern’s plastic insulated wire cable. Like so much about this house, the lighting system was at one time of the highest quality but is now rusted and decayed beyond saving. It is such a pity. However, it feels good to know that at one time a family loved this house very much, and took great care of it. I hope we can live up to the dreams they had for it.

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