We've started renovating the in-law, which means that yesterday found both of us on top of stepladders (one of my least comfortable places, coming in second or third to being at the gynecologiest's with my feet up in stirrups,) scraping toxic plaster gunk off the ceiling. Apparantly it was fashionable in the 70s to spray this popcorn-textured stuff onto the ceiling--don't ask me why--and don't ask me what it's made of. I'm just praying it's not asbestos because I got almost as much of it in my hair, eyes and clothing as I did on the floor.
To do this work, we first had to re-route the garden hose into the window and spray the ceiling with water. Then up on the ladders with scrapers. We worked well together and did the whole thing in about two hours of hard labor, with no fighting or biting, just a lot of sweating and grunting. I insisted we take before and after pictures so the whole laborious process is getting documented.
Next weekend we'll spend a glamorous time doing further scraping and then priming and ultimately painting. C is in charge of the project, because of his superior skills and knowledge of construction. He's the one who's going to install a new toilet, sink and vanity in the in-law bathroom, as well as renovate the shower. I'll follow along, doing whatever I can (more and more, the more I learn how to use the tools. I can use the power drill now--sort of.)
It's not exactly a day at the beach, but it's not so bad, either. We have a good physical rapport, which allows us to work together. I'm glad we're attempting this project at our current stage of relationship. Doing it earlier we would have run into more problems because of the difference in our styles: he is careful, methodical, meticulous. I am impatient and impulsive. As soon as it was decided we'd rehab the in-law I went in there and started trying to pry nails out of the wall with my bare hands. C followed me around with the proper tools, encouraging me to use them.
But I've (mostly) stopped biting his head off when he corrects what I'm doing or suggests a better approach, and he's learned to trust that I'm a hard worker and that I'll hang in next to him when it gets gritty and nasty. So, I think we're ready for this next step into deep intimacy: home improvement.
After the work we took a ride out to Pleasanton to look at tandem bicycles. they cost an unholy amount of money, but it looks like huge fun, and it would solve the problem of C wanting to take long bike rides and me not being much of a cyclist. As long as I can have a big fat cushy woman's seat for my big fat cushy rear-end, I'm game to do it.
I have been reading plays; the latest is Doubt, by John Patrick Shanley. It's like a finely constructed mini-cathedral, the structure perfectly balanced, the argument fairly and intricately and equally balanced on all sides so you are left really not knowing who is right. The audience is left to struggle with their own doubt, which is brilliant.
Over the weekend I revised the Marie Antoinette play--finally got it right--and then added a small ten-minute play based on the Larry Craig debacle that broke last year--the men's room in the airport gay sex sting. I need a third or perhaps a fourth scandal to make this trilogy complete--I'm calling it Shame Circus, Three Arias. I've sent away for Caryl Churchill's plays--she uses avant garde structures, where the same actors reappear in different roles, and environments and times change radically within the course of the play.
Unlike Shanley's more classic structure--Doubt is the quintessential "well-made play,"--Churchill makes the aundience take great leaps. There's a lot of risk and I'm not sure how she does it, except that this stuff must cook a lot in her subconscious. I'm hoping the collections of her plays include an essay about her process. I'm having my own little mini-literature course at home this summer, completely self-directed. Dad has sent me some of the short early novels of Philip Roth, which are in a pile, waiting to be read; meanwhile, last night I started on a comllection of Tony Hoagland's essays about poetry. Hoagland is one of my favorite poets, one of the ones I would most like to study with, and his prose is lively and funny just like his poetry.