Well, I have this to say: when you purchase a house that was built in 1950 and doesn’t seem to have been updated much since, there is a lot to do. Not that we are going all hog wild, taking out second mortgages and stuff (like I even know what that means) and doing “the works” but there are a few things that we can’t avoid doing. Like the floors. Whoever got this house “market ready” sanded off the old finish on the wood floors, probably because it looked like hell, then they left it “raw” because why bother paying to refinish it? Let the buyer (a.k.a. me) handle that.
Normal people would probably get the house ready to live in, refinish the floors, paint, clean and all that, before moving in with their family. We are not normal. Also known as: we are poor/cheap and didn’t want to pay another month’s rent at the apartment so we just immediately started living here. It’s been nearly two months since we moved in and we have finally gotten the floors redone (I’m sure you can probably imagine the hassle of trying to be out of the house two days in a row by 8 am with all three kids and staying gone while the floors were being tended to and then coming home at the end of the day trying to convince the childs that the new floor is not a skating rink or a gym and to STAY THE FREAK OFF OF IT! Ahem. Needless to say, it’s been a trying experience).
What, though, does any of this have to do with introspection? Well, I was just getting to that part. You see, we live in a college town. So, yay, football and all of that, and loads of pedestrian traffic up the whazoo which I should be happy about because saving the planet and low carbon emissions and stuff but MOVE! Anyways, smartphone zombies aside, the neighborhood we moved into I don’t have the right credentials for. It seems like everyone on our block holds at least a master’s degree, many with ph.ds (did I dot that right? I don’t think I dotted that right). Then here’s me: stay home mother with not a single letter after my name and nary a paycheck in my pocket and ever a baggy t shirt as my uniform. Ok, that’s fine. You all do your thing and I’ll be over here doing my thang with my three loud and mostly naked wild children and we can live in relative harmony. That’s cool. Yet, I can’t help but feel a little like I don’t fit in, can’t relate to my neighbors.
An interesting thing. As I insinuated, we’ve had loads of service people to the house in the last two months for various issues and house oddities. I find myself drawn in a strange way to these people. As they enter the home in shabby work clothes, I feel less self-conscious. When they look me in the eye and speak humbly about my plumbing or stove, my guard drops and I find myself opening up in lighthearted conversation with these people feeling like these are my people. The working class. Blue collar. Skilled laborers.
My dad was a carpenter. Really he was a jack of all trades and his skills ranged from electrical to cabinetry to auto maintenance. Any kind of fixitry, any home improvement subjects, he had at least a base line knowledge of. The kind of home I was raised in was such that a table saw could often be heard in the background as my brothers and I played in our yard. My dad worked strange hours, sometimes being gone for many days on end and other times being home a lot in our garage, his workshop, until late into the nights. His clothes were always dirty and often covered with sawdust. No one had any airs to stand on.
This strange 9-5 schedule I’m not used to. These nicely dressed and well-kempt people that surround me seem unnecessarily stiff and serious and often full of their own importance. Straight talk has been replaced by office jargon. Honest work seems to take a back seat to building up an image and making connections with colleagues.
It’s an odd world, a sea of white collars as far as the eye can see. Some might argue a necessary and useful one but still. I can’t help but feel a bit lost and a bit of longing for something else.