So, today I learned a new use for a pry bar (old uses: to remove the hubcap when you're changing a tire; to use as a lever to move something heavy, like a rock; to hit someone over the head--saw this last one in a movie): you can remove the staples that once attached carpet padding to the subfloor in a jiffy. That's if you put your back into it, so to speak. After a while, I was back with my flat-head screwdriver and slipjoint pliers. Staple by staple. That's because the bamboo floor is, as we speak, being installed.
Last night, my husband, son and I removed about a half-ton of old carpet and padding, baseboard, tackless carpet strips, old dirt, and the unspeakable detritus of being. It was a project that lasted into the wee hours. I expected this project to involve some soul searching, and it did: we have a lot of stuff. To speak more precisely, I have a lot of stuff. Why so much stuff? is the basic form my soul searching took. I've given quite a bit away, and there's still a lot, and the always beckoning figure of more, and more desireable, stuff. I already know something about why--I have, after all, had some therapy--but knowing why doesn't discharge that whole circuit of desire. Mattea Harvey wrote a book of poems called Sad Little Breathing Machine, and I think my book should be Sad Little Wanting Machine.
Even so, the floor going down is a thing of beauty. The floor guy Mike and his son Alex are working upstairs--all the upstairs rooms are in play, floor installation-wise, so I'm holed up here in the basement with Bruiser and my son, who are both engaged in furious napping--and it's actually a pleasure to see people who know what they're doing when they do that thing. Moreover, all the rooms are empty of most of their stuff, so the floor actually has become the embodiment of a cleaner, more contemplative, less stuff-involved life. We've all agreed that we're not putting everything back just as it was--everything is up for grabs. I tried to be ruthless as I was moving things. I'm a scavenger, and love to pick things up when I'm walking--some beautiful large-ish twigs from some sort of willow-ish tree that twist in a poetic way; a large dried sunflower stem with the head of the flower intact. I tried to throw away the branches, nothing doing. Too poetic. The sunflower head, I thought I could part with. My husband, however, wanted to save it, even when I said I was trying to be ruthless. "You can be too ruthless, I think," he said. I'm pretty sure this is an emblem of why we found one another.
I am holding on to the hope that the new floor will create a new motive force, arguing by its sheer elegant plainness for simplicity.