Wednesday, August 03, 2005

It's All Happening.

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.


  1. That bamboo floor sounds like it will create a need for simplicity.

    Is it time for a yard sale?

    One great thing suburbs have going for them is their spectacular yard sales. I know folks who devote months planning theirs.

  2. Meant to comment when I first read your post...

    I have some wonderful carpet-removing memories. I love the feeling of cleaning up, renewing, and rejuvinating. Love even more sweeping up and vacuuming the dirt (amazing how much is under the carpet). Hope you are enjoying the bamboo.

    Comments about pry bar are oddly familiar--my wife and I, each time we've taken out old carpet, have disagreed about the best way to get the staples up. As you might guess, I always use the pry bar and she always says it's easier to use the needle nose pliers. I don't have patience for the one staple at a time approach, gladly taking a blister or two and sore arms over endlessly nit-picking. Maybe this is more a comment on your most recent post on gender.

    hopelessly male,




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