How to open an orange using a screw driver.

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Our apartment is almost finished. It took a lot of guts, a ton of energy and a great amount of bargaining with a bevy of the lesser known voodoo loas. It’s been quite a ride. We have been living in a state of transition since what feels like the beginning of time. By transition I mean complete and utter chaos. Living through a renovation is challenging enough, living in the space while you are renovating it,,,pure and absolute madness. When we decided to open the store we also committed to transforming the second floor of the house into a large apartment. The house had been apartments before in a past life. Like most old houses this one has been many things to many people. Each owner has put their own stamp on the place. From an almost abandoned state it was turned into an Inn by a lovely lady that rescued the house from certain death by wrecking ball. I am very grateful for her courage. The house is certainly grateful as well.
The second floor is a series of spacious rooms with huge windows that put you right in the center of the sugar maples that surround the house. In the summer the rooms turn green with light filtered through the foliage. When fall descends on the Midwest the light streaming through the windows turns brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange. Being up there is like staying in a tree house. A very well equipped tree house.
This renovation has played out like a giant game of Tetris. Each piece moving to allow room for the next. Then the pieces and piles of our accumulated lives are picked up and moved again to facilitate another step in the process. Painful. I will now think of any home improvement project as if I were an expectant mother elephant. I will remember that those glossy pictures in decorating magazines are only the beginning. At some point that baby elephant has to come out. That’s what living through a remodel is like. Pushing a mini van out of your who-ha. A special kind of endurance is required. Through it all this project has only resulted in one slightly serious argument brought on by wonky ancient walls that we’re never square or level. It was less of an argument and more me coaxing the guys back from the brink of insanity as they tried to install kitchen cabinets in a room that leans ever so slightly to the left.
The other moment of heated discussion was the guys talking me down from the slippery ledge of unreasonable behavior as we tackled the bathroom redo. At the last moment I decided the old claw foot tub needed desperately to live on the other side of the room. I vaguely remember saying things like ” my happiness depends on it.” and ” if you really loved me.” A truce was signed and the tub remains exactly where it was. The perfect place for it in my opinion. I’m so glad I didn’t let them move it. What a horrible idea.
Anyone who has ever moved knows that living out of boxes sucks. Plain and simple it’s the worst. When everything you own is not only boxed up but those boxes have been shuffled and reshuffled stacked and shifted countless times, you reach a point where you honestly believe you will never again locate any object smaller than a chair or a lamp. Those are piled high in every corner. The remote control… now permanently resides in another dimension. I have to pull out a Ouija Board every time I want to surf through the channels. We have eaten out of paper bags and off of disposable dishes for months. This morning after working out I climbed the steps to the nearly finished space. I stood in the kitchen and admired all of the new surfaces. The fresh paint. Each direction I looked brought a sense of accomplishment one can only find near the end of a long and exhausting adventure. The pieces are coming together. I was actually about to have a meal in the new kitchen. Just an orange. Simple sure, but remarkable absolutely remarkable. I had given up the idea of eating in comfort. The months of doing without a traditional kitchen set up have brought out our primal instincts. We have been inches from reverting to our cave dwelling raw meat eating ancestors. So standing at the counter with a softball sized orange I just plucked from a fully functioning refrigerator that happens to actually be located in our living space…. Triumph. I almost didn’t notice that the months of living with the constant lack of utensils has changed me. My survival skills have surfaced. Now when faced with a challenge even as small as making the first cut in the skin of an orange so it can be peeled. Instinctively, without even processing it, I go for any object within reach that will serve the purpose. I just cut into my breakfast using a screwdriver.

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