There are in Portugal a set of churches known as unfinished chapels. You’ll have to forgive me, because it’s been a long time and other than being taken there on the annual “tour” which is mandatory for every Portuguese elementary school child, I don’t remember anything about them, not even where they are.
You’ll also have to forgive me because this post will also be a bit of an unfinished chapel — a lot of thoughts thrown together. Bear with me. I should be more myself tomorrow.
I have the vague idea the churches were so elaborate, and required so much carving and gilding, that the king worked on them as treasury afforded, but died before they were completed.
I suspect my fans are starting to think of the house we’re leaving this way, and I’ll admit there have been moments there, in the middle, when I thought so myself. The dreary amount of little crappling (totally a word) stretched to infinity and I couldn’t see it ever being done.
But I remember this phase from the house in Manitou, which was smaller, and which had less to be done to it, and which I finished alone. It took close to a year and most days I came home so tired I just wanted to cry.
The tired is still here, but fortunately I did not do this house alone, as Robert (and the other guys as they could, but mostly Robert) helped me for over-full time for three months.
It occurred to me yesterday this was a lousy run up to medical school, as he fell asleep in the middle of talking to me in my office, having come back for odds and ends he forgot to take. On the other hand, the same dogged sense of what’s right and caring for those who need it led him to help me beyond his natural limits of energy, as it leads him to medschool. All I can do is hope he gets a lot of sleep between now and start of classes. (He told me, btw, he wasn’t asleep but thinking. First time I heard thinking with so much snoring.)
But it is now near the end. Even Robert, looking over the house, said “It’s all over but the shouting, isn’t it?”
In fact it would have been done a month ago, if my body hadn’t given up on me now and then and forced me to take weeks off.
In the end we had to contract a bunch of things out, because the alternative was my taking months to learn how to do them, and therefore we bled money and I will request your thoughts and prayers that the house sells fast and also that I recover fast and can write, otherwise we’ll be in a world of trouble.
What’s left, after I spend today and maybe tomorrow morning– but I think it will be done today — cleaning is the almost-fun stuff of dollhouse playing. Setting the table for high tea, with a large vase of roses, putting pictures up, getting a potted plant for the fireplace. That sort of thing.
As for the unfinished chapels of my writing — those worry me even more than the house. I know they’ll never be done. At least, barring Alzheimers (and sometimes not even then. Enid Blyton spent her last years writing novels and forgetting she’d written them. Her daughters found them all over the place, after her death) I expect to die with my fingers on the keyboard and mid-plot. (I count on you to harass younger son, the one who writes most like me, into finishing them.)
Right now they worry me because several of them, including, yes, the Dragon trilogy and Darkship Revenge, are trying to beat a pathway out of my head.
So house will be done this weekend or bust, and Sunday I’ll likely be passed out. This should have been done a little at a time over the last several days, but since the workmen were delayed, and I was really tired, we devoted our time to moving the boy out of the house, instead.
And in keeping with the scattered nature of this post: that annual bus trip in Portugal. It wasn’t a field trip but the “excursion” that each year in schooling did, on touring buses.
The excuse was to hit all the patriotic or significant sites. As an history nerd, I always fought for the inclusion of battle sites or significant Roman ruins, to my classmates’ annoyance. (They preferred to hit places known for their “historical” sweets, or go to parks.) In fact, I think it was a way of showing the country to people who, mostly (3/4 of my class) finished schooling in 4th grade and who would settle in, immediately after, to live in their little village all their lives. (Porto was 20 minutes by train from us, and brother and I attended High School there, but until late in life when my parents undertook to show her more of the country, my grandmother had been to it exactly 3 times.)
In fact my parents stopped paying for my “excursion” in fifth grade, and I stopped going/engaging in the planning. The magnet high school I attended didn’t have “excursions” since most of the people there came from families who vacationed in Switzerland and France. (I vacationed in my backyard until the boon of an Euro-rail pass and menial jobs on student working visas abroad.)
More on this later. A scattered thought in passing is that because most of the students ended schooling in 4th grade, they (we) were treated as little adults at that age (most girls and boys would be working the next year. Yeah, it was against the law, but there were ways to get around it.) So the castles had no railings to protect idiots who chose to pitch down from towers, and no one did.
Imagine my surprise going back to find railings defacing castles and Roman ruins. You see, in euro-socialist Portugal everyone goes to school through 12th grade, whether they have any interest in it or not, and few have jobs on coming out, because guaranteed employment and no firing for those already hired, no matter how incompetent, means no new employees.
On the more on that — Son who has always assumed we were reasonably well off (so did I) even if we go through tight periods like during this house selling gamble. I mean other than in the two or three tight periods in his life time, he’s never lacked for food or clothing, he’s had a computer since he was three (Dan’s company was upgrading and sold them for a song) and there was always money for books and lessons.
He’s met some of his classmates and found out he’s a pauper. Apparently most people who make it into the school come from private schools or at least private tutoring and have toured Europe as a matter of course.
I told him it’s okay as my brother and I did the same, and attended college with people whose pocket money was about the same as dad’s salary, which didn’t prevent us from being the best in class and not even from having friends. (I had a slightly harder time, because girls DO care about their labels.)
I suppose the motto of this household should be the same as Avis’ “We try harder” (Or like the t-shirts printed by the factory dad worked for, which were miss-corrected by someone with one year of English and were printed with “We Tries Harder”. Yeah. Avis weirdly didn’t take delivery and so I wore the illiterate t-shirts all through my weekends and free time in my teenage years.)
And now I’m going to try harder at doing the final cleaning on the house. And tomorrow we’ll meet with realtors and walk them through.
And Sunday I shall rest.