July 23, 2012 by rebelwithalabelmaker
I promised you before and after pictures of the new house. I have proportionately few…
Turns out, it is hard to remember to take before pictures, so these are really "halfway through" pictures from careful angles. Also, I'm not really done, so really what we have is two halfway through pictures…
Do you see that great countertop? It was pink when I moved in. Since we are not spending a lot on renovations, I needed something that wouldn't cost much, would un-pinkify the space, and would last a year or two. Guess what's on the counter? Sticky floor tile. Twenty five dollars. Works great. I am a genius. Okay, technically friend named Mary Jane is a genius, who said "you know you can put flooring on the counter, right?" when Gary was luckily not listenning but now that it is on there, he loves it.
I am finding that I love renovating. Very satisfying. I have always wanted to do stuff like this, but it took many years to build up the confidence and know how. Truth be told, I still don't have either the confidence or the know how, but I have a massive flea infestation, which in terms of getting a person going is pretty much the same thing.
I need to be clear–they are not my fleas. They also do not come from reader who is not named Carol, who previously owned the house. The tenant in between seems to have left them behind. Unfortunately, most of my infestation-control wisdom is rather mouse-oriented. I am learning to appreciate the mice of the old house, who ran away when they saw you coming. Fleas do not do this. They say that Cocker Spaniels are the most loving of all pets, but they are mistaken.
Pet store guy: So, that's the stuff for your upholstery, but you also need something for the dog or cat.
Me: There is no dog or cat.
Pet store guy (looking at me in a creeped out kind of way): Um… usually there's a dog or cat… are you certain you don't have any pets?
Me: I will never again say I am certain I don't have any pets.
Pet store guy does not have a sense of humour. Just a sense of personal space. There was a long pause.
"They're not my fleas." I have taken to insisting, which is a nice change from "I don't know where I contracted the Hepatitis A" and "the mice are all gone" when it comes to small talk at dinner parties. Which, interestingly, we haven't been invited to many of lately.
We went to a dinner party last weekend–technically a rehearsal dinner for a wedding that I was attending. By "attending" I mean performing the ceremony. Which always includes attending. This is not a flexible rule.
It was the first wedding I have ever officiated. I am not a Minister, but the Unitarians have a program where they train and credential Lay People to do ceremonies. You can tell the Ministers apart from the Lay Chaplains because the Ministers wear robes, and the Lay Chaplains wear stoles*. Which, of course, every person at the wedding a) knows, and b) could care less about. In the end, what matters, of course, is that you dress in a way that doesn't draw attention away from the happy couple.
Matt and Shannon were the first people I got to marry. I'm a friend of their family, and they contacted me via email.
Me: I have to tell you that it would be my first wedding.
Them: We read your blog and that's how we chose you.
Me: We should be just fine, then.
Clearly, they knew what they were getting into, and it is their own fault if I brought fleas to the rehearsal dinner. In my defence, I only figured out halfway through the dinner that they were fleas. The mother of the groom made the diagnosis, which is nice for her because usually the mother of the groom doesn't have a big job at a wedding like the mother of the bride does.
It is way better to bring fleas to a barbecue than Hepatitis, because fleas are not very contagious, according to the many medical people I have contacted. All the same, I spent the weekend heavy on showering and light on hugging–which is awkward because people want to hug at weddings and you have to balance being standoffish with being infested.
I checked the Lay Chaplaincy manual, and the issue of flea contagion was not addressed. The only thing remotely related that I have heard is "don't wear a collar" and that was all lumped in with the robe/stole thing so I am pretty sure they were not referring to flea collars.
That said, it could apply to flea collars as well, because I would have to keep specifying that I was not a priest, and that it was a flea collar. And then I'd have to clarify that they were not my fleas and I'm pretty sure that all that would count as "dressing in a way that draws attention away from the Bride and Groom". Although I have to say that they were so happy and her dress was so lovely and his socks so creative that the only thing that could draw attention away from those two would have been an erupting volcano.
Also, I must say that I have never had an opinion about what officiants should wear before now. I didn't care one hoot about the stole/robe debate until I spent a few days unknowingly sitting on flea infested carpet unloading boxes. It turns out that the part of you that the fleas bite in that scenario is not a part that is easy to subtly scratch when you are, say, at the front of a wedding talking about things that endure forever and trying to remember to say "love and commitment" and not "flea infestations".
Or at least, that was what I was worried would happen, but it turns out that when the bride came sweeping down the aisle on the arm of her father whose eyes were filled with tears and then everyone started crying and the groom looked like the happiest guy in the world all I could think about was how grateful I was to be a part of their special day. And I forgot all about the fleas for the whole ceremony and most of the wonderful speeches at the reception–and it wasn't until we were most of the way home that I started itching again.
It turns out that weddings are way more effective than medicated cream–although as I understand it they are also considerably more expensive.
Anyway, nothing motivates home redecoration like a team of fleas.
Surprise! There is beautiful hardwood flooring underneath the pinky-beige carpets. I have pulled up all the carpets and 90% of the nails and staples (you would think 90% would be a passing grade, but not everyone who lives here agrees) and a guy is coming in next week to refinish the floors and it will be lovely.
Here is a picture of the carpet from the living room, as it was on the stairs (That went first. I do not vacuum stairs. I do not vaccum anything, actually. Roomba does not vacuum stairs, though, so they must go. I am not saying Roomba is lazy, of course, but I am mostly not saying it just to stay on the good side of the Cylons).
So here is a halfway through picture of the living room:
I am sorry I have no before pictures, but my mind was on other things.
This is the before picture that matters. Horrible. Much better now–we have all stopped itching almost completely:
I know, I know, not what you wanted to see, but I got complaints when I failed to post the picture of the urine sample from when I got Hepatitis A.
So, who else wants me to do their wedding?
*Disclaimer: Technically, I am neither a Lay Chaplain nor a Minister–I'm a Student Minister, which doesn't get you a license to perform anything, so I have a Lay Chaplain's licence, but am considered to be officiating as a Student Minister, not a Lay Chaplain. Just for the record, so I am not publicly declaring myself to be a Lay Chaplain (when I'm not).