Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 02-08-13

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray…

That’s astray not ashtray.  As in up in flames.  As in that’s where I think some of these building materials should end up.  What building materials, you ask?  Well, I am working with a contractor and renovating our kitchen.  You may have noticed I have been in absentia lately.  That is because Gripper primer and my keyboard don’t go together well.  It looks great all over my hands and clothes, however, with just a hint of that post-apocalypse-meets-Bob Ross look I have been after for so long.  So take that, you happy little trees.  So happy.

The renovation project was born with the notion that I need to upgrade the kitchen in order to sell my house.  And so there it is.  Not only have I been away from the world because of my frequent debit card scans at the local Home Desperate, but we’ve been navigating the waters to get the house in a comfortable place to list it.  So if anyone has been planning a move to Nashville, then hit me up – for you a special price. Actually, it will be a sad day to walk away from the home – my sweat of 6 + years have gone into the garden, landscaping, and the best part – the custom paved fire pit which sits on a tee box from a hundred-year-old gold course.  (Have I sold it to you yet?)  But as I ruin my already deteriorating posture by bending and painting all day, a man has nothing to do but think.  And not get white paint on the stained deck.

What is a house?  It’s nails, a few shingles (a few less after the latest storm), and hopefully indoor plumbing.  We generally neglect the house until something goes wrong, but a new coat of paint here and some furniture shuffling there, and poof! a new house.  But what makes a house a home?  And what makes a house a great home?

Location, for one.  My Mom’s place is walking distance to the beach.  (+10).  My house has a picture of a beach. ( +.5). My Grandparents lived in a small town in Western PA, and I used to love to visit their home.  For one, it was a hundred years old (+5), and didn’t look anything like the newer home we lived in.  It also had adventure within – a dark basement(+3).  I was scared to death of the back corner where they kept the heating oil (-3).  It was only much later in my life that I actually fully walked in the curtained off area and conquered my fears (+20), and my sense of adventure continued even then.  But the town was a great opportunity for us to explore(+8), and even though the house only had a clawfoot tub (+3 or -3) (and damn that bathroom was cold in the winter (-2), I loved it.

Features of a home make it great, too.  Growing up we were spoiled – not financially, mind you, but with the things that our parents provided for us.  Dad found a fantastic pool table that came out of a 50’s pool hall, and also bought a vintage pinball machine, and had them both installed in the room over the garage.  (Remember, this was before ‘picking’ and eBay ruined all the good deals). We would listen to 8-tracks and play all night, then as we moved into another house, we had the same ‘toys’, but the stereo moved to cassettes.  I’d like to think that in the house hunting my parents sought out the additional space for us, although I know they enjoyed the area as well.  I hope that my kids can have the same sort of playroom to give them a boost at being a pinball wizard or pool shark.  Fast forward 300 years, and you should see my brothers and I at a pool hall.  The inter-brother competition is downright deadly.  Thanks Mom and Dad, for keeping us busy.

But these things don’t really make a home.  A home is where your peoples are – your wife, husband, kids, and God-forbid, maybe your in-laws. It’s where you mark the children’s heights on the inside of the pantry door and find dents in the garage from where you backed the mower just a little too fast.  It’s the place where the Christmas tree leans a little too much, and your neighbor decides to work on his car at 7AM everyday.  But the memories in a house make you smile or cry, just like an old  photo, and hopefully as you move forward in life, there are more memories, more photos that can shape your collective smiles.  This home will be special because it was the first one I purchased, but then again, the first car I purchased is probably somewhere masquerading as rebar in a shopping mall parking garage.  A home can be a cardboard box, but when you are with family, it becomes a home.  I am hoping that this ‘cardboard box’ ends up making someone smile and cry as much as this one has for us.

All this gushy talk is making my stomach turn.  Or maybe it’s the coffee.  Either way, I am still selling the house, we are (hopefully) getting into our new house of memories, and this kitchen will be lots better than it was.  It better be, dammit.  But again, as I am outside priming cabinets, my mind wanders to other places.  Like to playing music.  See, if I am outside covered in paint, that means I am not inside working on music.  That pains me.  Then I started thinking – Is there anyone out there who genuinely enjoys painting? I mean, there has to be, right?  And if you find him or her, I have some work for them…but seriously – I have some work for them. But I also started thinking of all the things I wanted to do in my studio, music-wise, and couldn’t.  Then I started thinking that nothing inspires you more than doing something you hate.  What an amazing motivating factor to do the things you love, right?.  I used to wait tables and couldn’t wait to get out of there to get home and work on other things to get me in a place to not have to wait tables.  So today, with the rain coming down, I am going to be out of the home repair business – at least for a few hours – to get back to my sanity.  But think about this – if you are working somewhere you absolutely hate – why are you doing it?  And why are you still there?  And what are you going to do to get out of it?  And have you ever tried painting?

See you on the road!



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