When fine white powder flies. And you don’t.

Fine white powder everywhere like someone sloppy with cocaine sneezed.

Noxious fumes.

Power equipment the size of a kid’s bicycle, tools, trash cans and brooms.

Ah, the joys of home renovation!

Hey, it’s not my home! I rent.

It’s not my project to remove the ancient furnace from its wall cave and install one that’s powered, modern and doesn’t emit a bleeding-ears high pitch when it first cycles on! It’s his, the guy with the house, my roommate.

Mmmm-mmm, nuthin’ like the overpowering scent of fresh primer to cleanse the sinuses and compete with the morning coffee!

Like every home renovation project through history, it’s turning out to be (a) bigger than he’d expected and (b) harder than anticipated, pockmarked with surprise developments along the way. None of which is embraced with enthusiasm. One of the universal laws of home projects.

Like there were only two wires connecting the old heater and thermostat. And the new model has four.

That’s a problem. So my roommate’s been having to (a) get into the attic, which requires naturally going into the garage and crawling up through a not-very-big hole accessible only with a stepladder set on the washing machine.

Then (b) crawl clear across the attic — because these are low flat-roof houses  in the desert so there’s no room to walk tall like the humans evolved from our hunching apes that we are. Home renovations uniquely remind us of our primate ancestry.

To arrive at (c), still squeezed in the attic, above the heater, where he deconstructs and reconstructs this that and the other “simply” for the ultimate need to feed a four-wire wire* across the attic and down behind a wall to a  little box with dials and buttons.

*not the technical name

What a project! He’s up to the task. Extremely skilled at these things, in fact. You can see the engineering and math and problem-solving gears in his mind turning, calculating, reasoning, reorienting, reconstructing. It’s quite beautiful to observe, really.

The house, not so beautiful right now.

For the clean-up staff — that would be me — my work’s still to come. As a super-clean and tidy and detail-oriented person AND someone who’s done a lot of high-end professional cleaning (NOT proud to say that) and post-construction cleanup, I know — oh do I know! — the horrors thrills of ridding residences of fine white dust of sheetrock.

It’s airborne cocaine without the high.

It gets everywhere and into everything. It’s on the floors so you leave tracks.

It’s on the walls, a fine misty powder naked to the eye if they’re white but revealed with a swipe of a finger.

It’s in the crevices of your bookshelves, the corners of your chairs, the curves of your couches.

It’s on the knobs of your stereo equipment, the vents of the TV and the wires that connect them.

It’s on your clothes. It’s in your hair. It’s in the crevices of your ears. You just don’t know it. {bwwwwwaaaaahahahahaha}

Well, I do. My body & sensory systems are freakishly high. I’m not normal. I coulda been ET in the movie. Point being that the shower’s my best friend.

Anyhow, this reconstruction looks to be over no time soon — certainly not soon enough! Because meanwhile, it’s still winter. And though our unusually mild season here  in western Arizona, with highs  in the 60s and lows in the 30s,  pales with a good rest of the country’s (nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah …  kidding!),  that desert night chill is real. Creeps into the house and absconds with the day’s collection of the sun’s warmth like a weather thief. Leaving a house without a heating source a tad* chilly.

*I understate it.

I’m heading outta town anon (for separate matters, not to flee the noise, disruptions and odors of home improvement) so that’ll bring respite. Strangely, however, I leave with this hankering to find a theater playing “Blow.”


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