My house has been in a state of chaos for the past three weeks. Three weeks ago today, the ceiling in our kitchen nook crashed to the ground. I was upstairs at the time and as I dashed down to see what had just happened, I was thinking, "Did my refrigerator just fall through the floor to the basement?" That's how loud it was. No, the fridge was still standing. It was just covered with plaster and dirt. There were things to be thankful for in the midst of this: my daughters were at school when the ceiling fell in, no one was injured and I was home to clean up the gargantuan mess right away. Still... it was the beginning of a period of chaos.
A contractor came the next day to stabilize the ceiling and then came back a few days later to demolish the rest of the ceiling and hang new drywall there. While he was here, we had him take care of a few other small things around our house. As with many older homes, small jobs turned in to large ones. Some things went off without a hitch (a light fixture with questionable wiring turned out to be just the fixture, not the wiring), others not so much...
In addition to having a kitchen covered with debris, then drywall dust, we had to have a new ceiling put up in the living room after discovering that the plaster was too brittle to be repaired. This required that our living room furniture reside in the dining room for 5 days. By Monday night, when everything was finished, I was exhausted.
As I put A to bed, she said to me, "Mommy, are you stressed?"
"Yes, I am. It's hard for me when our house is a mess, honey."
"Yeah, you like things neat and orderly, don't you?"
She's right. I do like things neat and orderly. Even so, I am not a neat freak. I don't mind a certain amount of clutter - we do actually live here and we have three children who seem to bring home a ream of paper each week. But not being able to eat as a family, having to clean dust from every conceivable surface and having people in my house off and on for a week was terribly exhausting. Even now, I really just want to crawl into bed and hide. But this is the first day I've had to write since the ceiling fell in three weeks ago, so I feel obligated to use my time more wisely. The question is whether I am capable of that.
It's fascinating to me that the definition of chaos is so closely linked to confusion because the external chaos of our home has left my mind a muddled mess. My soul is in turmoil and I feel incapable of rational, much less creative, thought. But if I don't try to get my mind and heart quiet again, chaos will continue to reign. So, I'll close this post, enjoy the quiet house and try to write. And I will not contemplate renovating our kitchen. Because if minor home repairs leave me this depleted, I'll be a puddle on the floor by the time I have a new kitchen...