Outside my one of my living room windows, a worker is using a sander to strip off the old paint from my window trim.  My landlord is outside my bedroom window doing the same.  Both men occasionally take a break from the machine and scrape scrape scrape away by hand.  The house vibrates with both the mechanical and manual assaults.

Plastic tarps cover the rest of the windows. They were placed there three days ago when they treated all the wood shingles with this stinky stain/weather proofing stuff.  I’m not sure why the windows are still covered.   It is certainly not to protect me from the smell as that has permeated the house all week.

Meanwhile my car sits useless in the driveway.   The fellow who is currently sanding outside my window is also a mechanic.  He advised me not to drive it since he thinks the timing belt and some thing-a-ma-jig does something-or-the-other needs to be replaced.  Even I know bad things can happen if the timing belt goes, so I’m taking his advice and not driving it.

So, I’m trapped in my plastic-enclosed house on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in July surrounded by the sound of sanders and scrape scrape scraping and the smell of wood finish.   Did I mention it was on a Saturday?  Saturday is my day of rest. The day I sleep in. The day I putter around the house in a t-shirt and undies.  The day I can relax and read and doze.

I also feel trapped inside my own frustration and anxiety.  There is no one to blame.  Granted, I wish my landlord had kept his word and finished up yesterday.  But, I can’t blame him for taking the opportunity to get another day’s work in before he leaves on vacation.   For landlords, D and J are incredibly non-intrusive.  In my 12 years of being their tenant (at this and a previous property),  I would say there have been less than a handful of times where I have felt they were invading my space (which technically is their space).    They’re good people.

In theory, I could go out for walk.  But, there again I feel trapped.  In any direction  from my house you are faced with hills, some more daunting than others, but they’re still freakin’ hills.  I feel trapped by my out of shape body that resists hauling itself up these damn hills, and by my pride that fears being laughed at as I huff and puff and sweat profusely.

Despite the inherent anxiety of the situation, I am resisting medicating it away.   Instead I am trying to use all those things I’ve learned over the years in my Buddhist practice.  I’ve piled on the patience.  I recognize there is nothing to fix here.  No one to be angry at.  Home repairs are a pain in the ass as anyone who is fortunate enough to have a roof over their head knows.  At least they aren’t in the house.  I’m also choosing to focus (at least some of the time) on the positive.   I feel a lot of gratitude for my landlady who included me in their burrito run.   I feel damn lucky I made it home  from work yesterday safe and sound. Driving through the streets of San Francisco with a car that stalled EVERY TIME I stopped was nerve wracking and, at times, frightening. I’m grateful that the workman was able to find the problem with my car and will be back on Monday with all his tools to fix it (and yes, I’ve talked to my neighbors who used him as a mechanic and they all love his work and his prices).  And mostly I’m trying to remain mindful. I’ve noticed how my entire body vibrates when the sanders are going.  Since it’s near impossible to think when those things are going anyway, at least I can occupy myself with investigating the physical sensations and their impact on my mind.

After a bit of reprieve, during which I wrote this post, they’re back at it. And from the sound of it, they will soon be at a window outside my office.  I think I’ll go hide in the bedroom for a while and comfort the critters.

This too shall pass. This too shall pass.

4 responses »

  1. yes ~ be ware of thingamajiggies that look like timing belts ~ not sure way the stalling thing is happnin but if it helps = that aint cuza the timing belt.

    sounds like yer gettin winterized sew fur partov your meds you can imagine not having leaks.

  2. So interesting reading this post — whenever I have a worker around my house doing a repair or some such thing, it makes me anxious. It try to figure out what I would be doing if they weren’t there but can’t — so I pace around, avoide where they are, feel self consious, and above all, try to act natural! I must try your technique of just being there and observing. Thanks, Mary.

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