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Jan Gossart: Christ on the Cold Stone (1527)
"I'll be contributing by ColdFooting every damned inch of the way."

It all seemed like a great idea at first, last March, before we'd attempted to move back into The Villa Vatta Schmaltz after a twelve year absence. We mustered an I Know, We Could Put On A Show!-quality bright idea and set our expectations on refinishing 3/4 of the floors and repainting even more of the walls. We tried to be prudent with our move-in, leaving many boxes packed and many in areas not slated for renovation, but still, we unpacked plenty that will need relocating as our renovating proceeds at a pace considerably faster than the average snail's, but of course more slowly than we'd earlier imagined. What might have been slight inconvenience appears likely to become our lifestyle until we're in the shadow of Christmas. I'm guardedly confident that I might finally unpack my books by the new year, which will almost mark a year since I started boxing them up for that big, final move. The year's been spent somewhere between there and here.

The floor contractor came yesterday to survey the upcoming job. He entered a foyer partially prepared for painting to the smell of prime coat finally spreading on the long-sanded bannister.
I'd pruned the once wall-to-wall carpet back a few inches from the walls the length of the stairs and upstairs hall and removed the underlying tacking strip. Joel our flooring contractor confirmed that we would need to remove the upstairs hall baseboards, as well as those in every other room. They're best refinished on saw horses, anyway, but there will be so many! Where will I store the inventory of unfinished and finished boards? I have clearly bitten off more than I ever intended to chew. I see my near future stretching into a further and more distant one and the knee's already gone out on my back-up Handyman Dave pants, after losing both a knee and the seat out of my primary pair. I know for certain where we're going from here.

I have never claimed to be courageous. I can muster a decent caviler when proposing, but tend to back off just before engaging, hoping nobody important will notice my reluctance. I am not a valiant person. I hold a long history of ColdFooting my way forward, figuring a quarter or half step represents progress if not precisely success. I inch my way forward. I almost always second-guess myself and would opt out altogether if that option's still open, sending my regrets rather than gracing someplace with my actual presence. I anticipate much more warmly than I ever actually execute. I grit my teeth and whimper forward or I won't move forward at all. I figure that it doesn't really matter if I'm whimpering or cheering when I cross a finish line. Grimacing works fine.

I think it at best unseemly when we expect ourselves to act as though we are courageous when we're not feeling it. This act mostly comes across as decidedly inauthentic rather than as brave. I dread my future, and I try to do my dreading honestly. I can pretend for only short spells when I know that everything's heading for Hell. I'm likely to start shopping for hand baskets as a delaying tactic then, so as to be better prepared for whatever's coming, or so I imagine. We know what's coming next. Joel confirmed a minimum of four weeks extended upon what we're already in the middle of with repainting, which will not likely be finished before he can begin, three or fours weeks hence. All of our impending August and into at least the middle of September, most probably more, we'll be treading up and down unfinished stairs and trundling between the house and the pop-up paint shop by the garage, regardless of the weather. My books will get shuffled from room to room, just ahead of the transforming machine we've unleashed on this place. I'll probably develop a few fresh callouses.

If there were a seatbelt on this seat, I would have already buckled up. I try to imagine this place all put back together and can't quite get there yet. I know the train's already left the station and I'm overusing trite metaphors, but what else do I have? Should we survive this time, we'll possess an epic story of prescient transformation. We might even appear as though we were wise to move into disruption central rather than simply back home. We might have even developed some character by then, having made ourselves veterans of a legendary struggle. We'll warmly remember when, embellishing the ease of it a bit. As winter settles in, the fine plaster dust which has been settling over us—in spite of what I might call valiant attempts at cleaning up—might have gone for good. I might once again peruse my library and even find time to re-read something special. Until then, The Muse and I will be experiencing extreme HomeMaking. I'll be contributing by ColdFooting every damned inch of the way. Wish us well! We've sent ourselves to refurbishing Hell, hoping we will one day come back better.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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