Home, Sweet Home

My neighbor next door is working on his house again.  This is a recurring theme.  The houses in our neighborhood were built in the 1920's, and most of them have been through a series of renovations to update kitchens and bathrooms, to replace windows, to add a second floor or addition on the back, to enclose a porch, to build or replace a deck.

My neighbor's house is in an almost constant state of renovation, with periods of activity interrupted by several months of inactivity, a cycle created by the fact that he is in the Air Force and has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan several times.  I am grateful for his service to our country and I imagine that having home projects that entail predictable, concrete steps and show visible results are therapeutic and life-giving for him.

Because I work at home, I am intimately familiar with this pattern and have to admit that the noise sometimes drives me crazy 'long about the fourth or fifth day in a row of hammering and sawing after several days of jackhammering before that.  I have to admit that I wonder why the fencing must be replaced again or the kitchen redone again or how much stuff needs to be jackhammered out of a house or how long the windows will be boarded up this time.

And yet, I'm in the transformation business.  I know that transformation - of houses, of neighborhoods, of businesses and schools, of persons - is messy.  Sometimes it's a little noisy and hard to watch/listen to.  My own personal transformation included nothing less than emotional train wrecks and lots of probably incoherent and certainly irritating babbling.

And I'm in the neighbor business.  I want us all - people of all faiths and none, people of all ethnicities and classes, people of all political persuasions - to find ways to live together, balancing our needs and desires with the needs and desires of others to create real community.

So I did what anyone would do.  I called a handyman to come over and work on MY house.  There's still a hole in the back of our garden shed from a spring storm; there's rotting wood from some old water damage from leaking gutters and a window that's had broken glass on the outside (thermo)pane since 2006.

There's a log in my own eye, when it comes to home maintenance and repair.

I don't know exactly why my neighbor spends so much time working on his house.  But my time would be better served getting my own house in good repair than stewing about his.