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El Chris and The Patient Wife had to take some precautions when sanding their hardwood floor.

The other day, my sister, Girl with Blog, was reading her daily e-mail from The Writer’s Almanac. She sent me the poem that made her think of me and The Patient Wife. I couldn’t agree more. The Patient Wife and I, along with Mr and Mrs ‘Hoda, Mr Corn, and a host of others, ripped out walls, sanded floors, smashed up plaster, and shredded carpet when we bought our house. We drank wine and whiskey out of paper cups. We ordered delicious, unhealthy food. We were woefully unprepared and undertrained. We tore at our hair, we bit our fingernails, and we drank a LOT of whiskey. As you can see above, we even had to wear breathing masks to keep things safe. But we came through and made this old house beautiful again. Here’s the poem.

Cleaning House

by Scott Owens

Pulling the house down piece by piece,
we see each other at our worst
before we’ve even had our first date,
my face itching with black insulation,
yours covered with white dust of sheetrock.

We scrape off paint and paper, buff out
spots, old glue, unexplained
stains, remove tacky paneling
revealing forgotten charm, original
beadboard, hard woods, solid ceilings.

We’re woefully unprepared, untrained,
undertooled, cutting off pipes
with hacksaws, filling holes with toothpicks,
brillo pads, good wood pulled
up from where it wouldn’t be seen.

An odd sort of courting really,
hammer and nails instead of flowers,
microwaved Hot Pockets for meals,
red wine in paper cups, all glasses
still mysteriously packed away.

Ripping out rotted casements of windows,
hollow doors, seven layers of floor,
we sweat together, swear together,
bend in unison towards the necessary
destruction that always precedes renewal.

“Cleaning House” by Scott Owens from Eye of the Beholder.

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