Friday, July 22, 2011

Hotel open for business during remodeling

I mentioned recently that Long Suffering Spouse is painting the house this summer.

The whole house.

That includes the kids' rooms -- areas into which we have dared not venture for more than a minute at a time for some 15 years (just long enough to roust a sleeping kid for school or close a window during a sudden cloudburst).

Although it might not seem so dangerous to enter a room in one's own home, particularly now that three of our children live off the premises, you'll have to take my word for it just how crazy-foolish-bold the notion really is. See, two of the three bedrooms have been continuously occupied by one teenager or another since 1996 -- and still are. (Well, Younger Daughter's now 21 -- but don't get picky with me, I'm on a roll here.)

The third bedroom, unoccupied since only January 2010, was immediately turned into a storage depot containing treasures and trash from all five kids. We not only don't go in that room, except for the path to one window we've somehow maintained, we can't get in that room.

Once Long Suffering Spouse undertakes a task, it will be done. There's no denying or delaying it. I've been virtually no help at all, of course, but last weekend even I was polishing silver and washing knick-knacks as we labored to put the dining room back together.

"Just wait until one of them buys a house," Long Suffering Spouse muttered darkly, every five minutes or so. When my folks passed, we kept a lot of their stuff in hopes that we could pass it along to our kids. But none of the passes have yet been completed.

"Don't give the plan away," I counseled. "At Christmas, wrap some of this stuff up in a box, put a big, gaudy bow on it and put it in their house and under their tree."

Anyway, the living room is done, the dining room is done, the upstairs and downstairs halls are done, the kitchen is done and Long Suffering Spouse is working in earnest in the bedroom that was used by all of our boys at one time.

"There's more nail holes than plaster in here," she told me. Well, each one has had their plaques and their posters and their old football and baseball jerseys and each one has had distinct ideas about how best to display these items.

Plans to paint the den and the addition are, however, temporarily on hold because Older Daughter and her husband Hank are coming up from Indianapolis this weekend for a wedding. Naturally, they'll be staying our house.

"Where's the wedding?" I asked. A nearby church was named.

"And the reception?" In a nearby suburb, I was told.

"You know," I said, "there's about 70,000 hotel rooms between here and there. And our house is all torn up with your mother's painting."

"We're staying at a hotel Saturday night," Older Daughter said. "But Friday night we want to be at home."

By "we" I am pretty darn certain Older Daughter means only herself. Hank is understandably not as comfortable under our roof as he might be elsewhere -- despite the luxurious accommodations we have provided for them on past visits. (See, Curmudgeon acquires a futon to solve a family dilemma.)

You know... they're both working now. They have more disposable income these days than I do. And, because of our proximity to O'Hare International Airport, there really are thousands and thousands of hotel rooms within a very few miles. If she and Hank want to come over and visit -- great -- but staying overnight is disruptive. They come in late. They get up late. There are curling irons and extra soaps and lotions and shampoos to work around in the bathroom. And we try to be good hosts -- but the last time Hank was over he wanted to watch Wimbledon. (He is such an Anglophile. Older Daughter told us he actually got up early to watch the Royal Wedding live. Oy!) Before that, he wanted to watch the Indianapolis 500. OK, the latter I could understand, given that he is a native of the place -- but these are not things we would usually watch.

Anyway, I'll start in to whining in this vein for awhile and Long Suffering Spouse will nod sympathetically -- and then shut me down. "She wants to spend time in her own house," she'll say. "It's still her house to her." Then Long Suffering Spouse will get a bit misty and I'll apologize for being a grump and matters will be settled. We'll have guests Friday night.

Meanwhile, Middle Son stopped by the house the other night for a meal and to accompany my wife to Costco. He goes with her every couple of months so he can stock up on stuff for his apartment. He pays his way; he drives my wife to and from; he's generally cheery. And he won't change channels on me if I'm watching the Sox game either. (Of course, if I'm watching a musical, he'll object vociferously....)

Anyway, Middle Son's visit/Costco run went smoothly this week. He declined my invitation to come by the house and paint. But then he said, "Stan's block party is Saturday."

Stan was on Middle Son's baseball team in high school and college. They roomed together, for a time, in college as well. Stan does not live with Middle Son these days -- but a few months back he threw a party at Middle Son's apartment. Fortunately, he invited Middle Son.

Stan is a character.

And Stan's annual block parties are legendary. Of course, Stan has nothing to do with the planning or the preparation or the bills for these block parties. But Stan's uncle does and the uncle and a few like-minded neighbors have somehow convinced the more straitlaced property owners on the block to go along with this once-a-year blowout. Stan lives with his uncle.

"So, yeah," Middle Son continued, "Stan's block party is Saturday and I'm going. I may need a place to crash Saturday night." Our house is within reasonable stumbling distance. And this is not a party one drives home from.

So, apparently, we're going to have a houseguest on Saturday night, too.

Oh -- and we're having company Monday, too. Remember Penny? Penny was Long Suffering Spouse's college roommate. Penny and her husband, a retired Marine lawyer, live in Virginia, but they're in the Midwest this month visiting friends and family.

I'm leaving work early today. Long Suffering Spouse is going to need a lot of help getting ready for this weekend. But I don't think a lot of painting will get done.


bekahjane said...

always entertained by the normalcy in the bustle of life and kids and house decor.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

oy is right curmy, i'd rather have teeth pulled than have houseguests... buggers!

smiles, bee