Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Day 1.7 at the Depot

I walk through the local Home Depot carrying a strange sensation, one that I cannot quite pinpoint. I walk past the paint department where I have purchased many a gallon, some with names like snowy egg-shell taupe, sandy amber moon or opaque celestial fizz. This makes me smile as I remember some of the horrid combinations I have used with mixed results. Normally in my zeal to recycle, I would simply take whatever color was given to me, left over or negotiated for at a year sale and mix them until I liked the result, then slap in on the wall and repeat the process with whatever enamel gloss I had for the trim. It was always a sensual adventure walking through the cabin with its colorful personalities, some of which were in dire need of counseling. I once used three primary colors in one room that ended up looking like a kindergarten play room. Other than the aforementioned recycling motive, I always enjoyed the fact that nobody, NOBODY had an interior decorator with more bravado. Some said it was a shame he was blind, but that never mattered to me, so is Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and was Helen Keller.

I pass the tile aisle, the carpet space and the appliance rows, all bringing memories of purchases past, and I laugh remembering how great they all looked on display but never quite filling the bill once installed, laid or wired up.

I get to the lumber section and cringe at the inflated prices. Past the insulation stacked to the ceiling and hardware where we now pay for nails and screws individually. I chuckle thinking that they need to rename the vinyl coated sinkers to a more appropriate moniker, instead of a 16 penny, better a 16 buck.

I wonder for a moment how much I have spent here over the last 30 years. How many times I opened the monthly statement to find the total more than I make in a month. I think about the time it took to buy, haul, unload, measure, cut, sand, paint and assemble.

I am in the roofing section, a locale that I have spent many hours trying to figure the proper combination of underlayment, felt, tyvek, flashing, caulk, bear-shit (asphalt sealer that resembles its nickname), roll roofing, cedar shakes, aluminum and torch-down.

I grin and walk past the smiling check-out cashiers. This is weird I think, I am not pushing one of the carts loaded with expensive building materials and wondering if this might, at long last, fix the leak, stop the drafts or add function to the nightmare that comes from 30 years of adding rooms, wings, spaces, bathrooms, kitchens and media rooms without a grand scheme, a design, any formal plans and a rebellious disdain for convention. Code being something that is written and used with computing, not required by the country building department.

And it hits me.

I don't have to shudder when it rains, buy ten more one hundred dollar tarps or wonder if the black mold is causing my respiratory problems. No more.

I do not have to second guess my motives, color choices or how my bandit building will eventually be handed down, fall down or burn down.

I am not a home owner any more. I pay no property tax. I do not have to dedicate every weekend in the summer and every day in the winter to the fortification of my castle, albeit a tiny cabin in the woods.

I am walking out of Home Depot without making a purchase. I need nothing. There is nothing to add, nothing needing subtraction. That pesky roof and the bootleg septic is now the headache of the guy who cashed me out almost one year ago.

I am at once saddened by this realization and elated by its reality.

I am still trying to settle with my spirit, as I miss that cacophony of color and the warmth of the wood stove when cooking spaghetti in the darkness of winter. I miss the tree house and the funky kitchen. I never took the keys from ignition, nor locked the front door for three decades.

But I do not miss loading my truck with 2x4s and working in the rain.

It is an unmistakable emotion that I can only label as an incredible being of lightness.

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