“What Cost,This Renovation?”

At the beginning of all of this, when we first bought the house in the unnamed coastal B.C. town, I proposed to the man that we renovate and furnish the place completely via the Craigslist for free section.  He looked at me all askance-like and told me to blow it out my cake-hole. I murmured something about it hasn’t been done yet… meaning, of course, that nobody had a blog called We Fixed This Baby Up By Getting Things For Free On Craigslist. He murmured back a simulacrum of blow it out my cake-hole.  I humphed my way into a simulacrum of acceptance.

Fast forward ten months.  While busy ripping out rat soaked insulation from the ceiling of our soon to be library, I squinted through the cascading pink fluff and in my direct field of vision saw large wooden shelving units, two really sweet chintzy chairs, a washer, a dryer, fridge, electric stove and a wood stove – almost all of which the scoffing man had acquired for free from Craigslist.  (Ed. Note: The wood stove cost $20 and came from a neighbour, but is still included here because it feels like it came from the Craigslist free section).  I got all smug and happy and almost forgot about what was tumbling down upon my tyveked head and hepa filtered nose/mouth holes.  Not just old rat pee and possibly old rat bones, but the fibreglass itself. Is this mask really working?

Breath in, breath out. Focus on the task. jar of brains

The fibreglass plays off the sun’s rays and dances all fairy-like before my stinging eyes.

Breath in, breath out.

Oh my god, it’s a real fairy.

Pink and glinty.

No. That’s just the fiberglass.

Breath in, breath out.

What is that?

It looks like a jar of brains.

It is! It is a jar of brains.

Future shiny wood floors vs. jar of brains.

Open concept kitchen vs. Hantivirus.

Vaulted ceiling vs. asbestos in its many guises.

Breath in (all panicky-like). Pass out (all pass-out-like.)

When the man shovelled my body out from under the fiberglass avalanche and cleared the shards of blown glass from my dewy eyes we looked at each other for one moment of deep regard.  The unflinching stare we shared spoke volumes about our inability to rise above my real and imagined fears of the contamination of our bodies in the do-over of this house.  The look was cut short by his command to pick myself up and finish off the job of bagging up the mountain of fiberglass.  I asked for a glass of water, received it and turned to my task.  I could have crumbled weeping when I realized that the pink shit I saw in front of me was less than 5% of the pink shit that I would eventually have to deal with, if indeed, I was not able to let go of the idea that the insulation in the rest of the house was acceptable as is where is.  Rat-jostled insulation gently blanketing my house, my family, protecting and comforting, all Currier and Ives.

Shiver. Shiver. Shiver.


P.S. The “clearing my dewy eye” bit is what is called “made up.” He doesn’t look at me like that anymore.


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