crown molding

The steady rhythm of hammering continues throughout the morning. Another joins in, syncopating the rhythm. Nails into wood, walls going up. There is sawdust and plaster strewn about the floor. 8 days, she scoffs to herself. 8 days. What a lie. The construction has been going on for at least two weeks. She can’t trust the estimates anymore, having to live in this workman’s area because staying at her mother’s fell through. So she lays upstairs on the air mattress she remembers buying for her ex-husband, puts her hand over her eyes in frustration, rejection of the day, and to block out the sun creeping in from under the shade. She will now have to make coffee for herself, and these men, as what turned into installation of crown molding turned into re-doing the entire house after structural foundation was determined to be inadequate and unsafe, pipes about to burst. The lead contractor told her whoever put this house together must’ve been on drugs. What luck that she had bought it.

Reluctantly, she gets dressed in joggers and oversized flannel and changes into sneakers. She would not duplicate the nail incident of last week. Shuffling down the stairs, she waves to the guys bringing in wooden boards, and hears the high-pitched whine of more cutting. They had set up a little workshop outside. You would think these men were rebuilding the pyramids. In the kitchen, every door and window is open, protective plastic is around all the furniture, tables and chairs. She prepares the coffee and watches it percolate. Each drop that falls, willing her to live on just one more day and endure this bullshit. The aroma of the completed pot is the only thing she has to live for. She pours herself a cup and then announces to the yard that the coffee’s ready and feel free to help yourselves. She finds a quiet spot on the porch where she oversees the work. Finishes around her her oversized flannel pocket and pulls out a lighter and a J. This has been her usual routine that started on day 9, after she realized this project would take a lot longer than she thought. Inhaling with a light cough –