Monday, January 14, 2013

What Doesn't Work

Almost a year ago we bought a fixer-upper house. It has a terrific yard and the location can't be beat. The house itself has good bones but needs work.

At first glance, the work seemed mainly cosmetic. Okay, okay, the kitchen and baths are a gut job waiting (needing) to happen, but they function so they can wait for now. We started with the "easy" stuff like painting. Then we discovered we had wallpaper under the paint that needed to be removed. Removing it caused damage to the drywall which needed to be repaired. Now when we talk about "painting a room" we know to schedule a couple of months worth of work, not a weekend. Oh well, it will be beautiful and picture perfect when it's done.
The "surprise" of a fixer-upper is that periodically something will just no longer work. It started with the refrigerator. We have a freezer-on-top-refrigerator-on-the-bottom type. The kitchen has a center island with cook-top right in the middle of the room (not a big room either). Only a side-by-side refrigerator will work (open) in the space. So, our refrigerator door only opens about 10 inches before hitting the island. Okay, it opens 16 inches, but still. To get anything in or out of the refrigerator you have to kneel, bend and stretch. Yoga while you cook! Who needs to go to the gym? I'm frugal (cheap) so I'm not going to buy a new refrigerator until we redo (gut) the kitchen.

The next thing to not work was the laundry room light. You have to jiggle the switch juuuuust right to get it to come on. I can do laundry during the day so this can wait.
Then the garage door. Sometimes it goes all the way up. Sometimes it only goes up part of the way. And you never know when it will choose to go up. You approach the opener button with hope and eager anticipation. Sometimes you are disappointed. Sometimes it works and you're elated! Still, this can wait to be fixed.

A few days ago the garbage disposal stopped working. No jiggling of the switch, no pressing the reset button or throwing the circuit breaker off and on would make it work. This couldn't wait. My husband spent a good deal of time under the sink and back-and-forth to the hardware store. Finally, with a little finagling and replumbing under the kitchen sink, it works! And no leaks! Yay!
It's like this with writing. The first draft is your fixer-upper. And at first glance it may seem like only a few things need to be added or subtracted or changed in some way. But when you get into it, things just don't work. Some things can wait until the next revision, others can't. Some things begin and you read on with eager anticipation and hope only to be let down because it just drops off or stops working. And some things need to be replumbed, or rewritten, completely in order to work. I like revision. Because when it's all done it will be picture perfect.

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