The Slow-Cooked Sentence

The gritty details

Rachael Conlin Levy
Image courtesy of Mike Licht,

In a daily state of exhaustion I’ve developed new respect for the plumber, the carpenter and the painter. It’s been nonstop, physical work since the decision was made to move my family from Sparks, Nevada to Seattle. I work until I fall into bed, paint in my hair, grime under my fingernails, with teeth too tired to brush.

On Sunday, for example, I wiped out twenty-five kitchen cupboards and drawers, scrubbed behind the washer and dryer, cleaned blinds, washed windows, packed the linens, cleaned my closet and my husbands, and, at 9:30 at night waxed the kitchen floor. Today, I was up at 6 and facing another full day of physical work.

I’m not just digging holes, here. There’s a whole lot of thinking in physical work. How does one rehang a closet door? Or make a ceiling fan stop wobbling? Why is the hot water slowed to a trickle? And what the hell is for dinner tonight?

My admiration for the laborer grows with each passing hour this house doesn’t sell.

Image courtesy of digital_monkey.

We’ve been living off a fast-food diet of pizza, tacos, Chinese and burgers, though I’ve managed to make a pot of spaghetti or stew on the rare day I think about food before the kids wander past with stomachs clutched, moaning that they’re starving to death.

The strangest meal I’ve served this week: pancakes and beans.

Everyone ate it, without a peep of protest.

Mad Max
Max, not happy.

I expected two weeks of frantic house improvements to show on the kids (mainly in the form of callouses developed from daily weeding), but I hadn’t anticipated how the moving preparations would give them a new arsenal of words and weapons against each other.

First overheard was an argument between Max and Chaja over the vacuum cleaner.

Chaja had the vacuum last and she’s not putting it away.

You’re not done with it.

Don’t tell me how to clean my room!

(running to her room and slamming the door)
Well, don’t blame me if a Realtor can’t sell our house because your carpet’s dirty.

(running after her while clutching a roll of toilet paper above his head in a threatening manner)
You’re going down! You’re going down!

And secondly, was 2-year-old Ivan’s newly learned phrase.

“Give me a break!” he yelled from the top of the stairs when I asked him to help in the kitchen.

A break. That’s what we all need right now. That’s what we need from this stinking housing market.

Today, the For Sale sign is hammered in to the lawn. Wish us luck.

3 responses to “The gritty details”

  1. Kyna says:

    And to think I was proud of myself for cleaning out and organizing the tupperware drawer this morning. Hysterical post, Rach. What I want to see is a picture of that for sale sign…

  2. LUCK! Moving is crazy-making business. Hang in there!

  3. Heather G says:

    At least you can see the humor in it. A grimace now, a guffaw later. I want to see the for sale sign too. Love you. Luck, luck, luck…(I'm squeezing my eyes shut and sending good luck vibes your way.)

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