Our colourful wall hanging is currently including a little piece in the bottom left hand corner depicting a pipe pouring water through a concrete basement wall and behind the drywall/plasterboard, in order to be merrily soaked up by the sub-floor particle board. Just to the right of it is a very detailed section which shows a whole series of emails and phone calls, as well as strange people (and some of them are really strange) wandering through the house with tools and clipboards and cell phones pushed against their ears with their shoulders.
It's a work in process, and there are blank spaces yet to be filled, but right now I'm stitching in a block which has some new strange people in my bedroom, some of them are here to pack up some small things, and some of them are here to take away our bedroom furniture. The empty space will soon (I hope) be filled in with floors being ripped up, everything being allowed to dry out for a while, and finally being completed with a brand new floor being laid.
Fortunately, over the years, the tapestry of my life has - with exposure to the elements - become tear-resistant because there have been a few occasions when I've wanted to get a little bitey with it, and to rip lumps out of it. This is one of those moments.
The disruption could, of course be much worse - the young folk are not being disturbed at all and we have only lost our bedroom to our minor calamity, so the house is almost completely fully functional. As things stand, we will not be sleeping in our own bed for three weeks at the least, but we have a hotel room locally, only five minutes away. What stresses me (and I'm using the word deliberately and not in the teenage sense, whereby the slightest bit of concern about any tiny little wrinkle is described as 'stressing' - or even worse: 'stressAng') is the whole business of having strange people in my house - and just to pile on the pain, in our BEDROOM.
I've always been a little neurotic about my house. I think it stems from my childhood, when the vast majority of my school friends lived in much nicer houses and had much nicer things. As a kid therefore, I grew to feel ashamed of my home, and I've never quite got over it. On one occasion I even made up a ridiculous excuse for not allowing a friend into the house (he just dropped by while passing) because I was terrified that the house was just too untidy to be seen. It's hard to overstate the level of stress this arouses in me. I know that it's disproportionate, but the darned thing overtakes me like an incoming wave on a beach, and leaves me feeling helpless and powerless in its grip.
Right now, I'm tapping away nervously at the dining table while the voices coming from the basement reach out to taunt me. Every sound, every sentence is like a small electric shock, each one kicking the stress needle over towards the red zone. I haven't hit the red zone yet and I have no intention of so doing, but it's mighty uncomfortable sitting up here while people I have never met before rummage through some of our belongings down in the basement. As if to demonstrate this, my right leg has begun vibrating as if an invisible dog is dry-humping it. A BIG invisible dog. Occasionally, the left one joins in, but (because, courtesy of 25 years of rugby I still have reasonably large thighs) that only makes my nuts hurt after a couple of minutes, so one or both subside after a short while - only to start up again a few minutes later when I hear a voice say something like: "Did you make a note of the damage on that chair?"
This brief chapter of our lives will pass us by soon enough, and my irrational fears and my vibrating legs will disappear into a 'Do Not Use' section of my memory. Life will go on, and the stuff which is really important - the people stuff, the loved ones stuff (some of which is going on regardless and in parallel to this minor crisis) will take precedence. I know this, both emotionally and cognitively, but as yet I have yet to find the strategies in my mind to help me cope with this kind of intrusion without feeling just a little overwrought. Maybe I could start a crowdfunding exercise for my therapy sessions?