The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

I Got Nothing.

As it turned out, there was only one layer of paper of one layer of paint over lath and plaster. That seems rather remarkable for a 130-year old house.

As it turned out, there was only one layer of paper of one layer of paint over lath and plaster. That seems rather remarkable for a 130-year old house.

Try as I might I cannot cobble together a post that is worthy of your time. I cannot summon whatever it is that I need to summon. There is no news. Nothing worthy of the pixels. At least, I think there is nothing worthy.

It’s not for lack of trying. Twice now I’ve started a post about the wallpapering project. Twice I’ve abandoned same. I get part way through trying to tell you about how I asked him to cover the furnishings if he was going to use a sander; how, when he asked me to help him with the sanding (my job was to hold the vacuum hose to suck up the flying plaster dust) I came into the house and the air was choked with that very same plaster dust, and he had not protected anything… I fought back tears and I swallowed my anger and I …

No wait. That’s not accurate. I was only mildly dismayed. That’s all. I wasn’t angry. I didn’t cry. I was perturbed, nothing more.

What the hell? This is where, if I was sitting next to myself, I’d say, “Who are you and what have you done with Maggie?”

These last several weeks, I have been “weatherless” as John Barth wrote. I got nothing. Does it mean that I have grown emotionally and have learned to avoid anger? Or does it mean what John Barth meant: I am listless, unmotivated, not going anywhere?

Or worse?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Guess I’m committed. ” So he* said when he ripped the wallpaper from above the door. In other words, “Let the wallpapering begin.” If he takes any more shortcuts like he did with the sanding, one of us will surely be committed somewhere. That is, if I get my groove back.

*you will note he blends into the walls. Camo fleece-wear courtesy Canadian Tire.

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Categories: Husband, Relationships

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76 replies

  1. wow. Only mildly dismayed? Who are you and what have you done with Maggie?? Yeah, I could say I would be dismayed. It would not be mildly, though.
    So good to hear from you, Maggie! Miss you.

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  2. OMG. It is uncanny how in that photo at first glance he does seem to match the floral wall paper print. Not sure how he would feel about that but in a pinch, it could be useful…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh my, I can relate to the horrors of a DIY house project! We are AGAIN in the middle of our own. I find that anger and tears don’t get me anywhere and only make me feel worse. I just try to think about how nice it will be when we are finished. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my, you have my sympathy. I hope your project goes as smoothly as possible. Thanks for the advice, Jan. When the job is done, it will be done well. He’s that kind of guy. He’s also the kind of guy that doesn’t care for input from his wife. In other words: normal. [grumble]

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think there’s a simple explanation: The zombies ate the angry part of your brain (very spicy and full of “peas ‘n vinegar” and were too full to finish so there were dismayed left-overs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, let’s hope it means the emotional-growth thing. The other option doesn’t sound so nice…

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  6. Hope you find your “weather” again! Good luck with the wallpapering – can’t wait to see the “after” pics! P.S. Love the PJs! 🙂

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  7. You mean he’s still alive??

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am familiar with the loss of mojo. I will come back and so will Maggie.

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  9. Hahaha. When you have nothing to say I love what you portray!

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  10. I would be pissed, so I don’t really know what to make of your non-anger, but I applaud you for it in this case. Is the camo a common form of attire, or is he having trouble letting go of the wallpaper and hoping to keep the emotion of the walls alive in his clothing?

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    • Thanks, Deb – not sure what to make of it myself. It occurs to me as I write to you that I might be falling into old patterns of swallowing the stronger emotions to avoid conflict. But that doesn’t ring true. Anyway, life goes on.

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  11. Oh Maggie, you are in a serious state when even reckless renovation cannot elicit anything more than mild concern!! Do we need to stage an intervention and guide you back? 😉

    I’m in awe of the camo fleece-wear that blends in with the wallpaper. I’ve heard of camo, but this seems to be the real deal 🙂

    … and how does a 130 year-old house have only 1 layer of wallpaper and paint when my 40 year-old-nightmare had 5 layers of increasingly troublesome wallpaper?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Maggie, from what I hear “wallpaper projects'” are a nightmare! I think you your brain is numb-struck with it all, and can’t muster up anything more than mild-concern! Yikes! Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  13. He does seem to blend in pretty well. Of all the DIY projects I’ve done, wallpapering is my least favorite. We had some rooms with only one layer of paper (I’m assuming they removed when they repapered) and we had one room with multiple layers of paper with paint over it. Hopefully you will get your Maggie back.

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  14. It is too bad Rainer isn’t a watchmaker. Then I would have found a use for that unmasked plaster dust.
    See? You didn’t need to get angry. I just did it for you. I do hope you at least compromised on the cleaning up those two times, and had him do it two out of two times, while you did your share and watched.

    Grrrr. I have extremely unhappy memories of bags and bags and bags of plaster dust, and of emptying cupboards and drawers in order to wipe everything down, while pregnant, and then, having a friend come over to help finish putting up wallboard in the nursery, only to have my then-husband tell him instead: “We’re demolishing the central stairwell.” Plaster dust again everywhere.

    Your current state I imagine is the final stage of healing after your over-exertion of the prior period. Your brain was on physical overload and your psyche on psychological same. Everything went into shock. Your unconscious may just be sifting among what’s up there until a few possibilities rise to the surface, or the worst overload subsides.

    Since you’re feeling at sea, perhaps it’s time for play. Have you tried some games? That can free up the thinking of a smartie like you. Challenging play, I mean. Perhaps if you alternated some play time with some quiet list-making (Things Maggie Likes To Do for Short Periods, Things Maggie Likes To Do For Extended Periods, Things Maggie Can Tolerate For Extended Periods If Motivated, Environments Maggie Loves, Environments Maggie Can Tolerate, Things Maggie Thinks She Is Good At, Things Others Have Told Maggie She Is Good At–that sort of thing)…

    Perhaps that might give you some direction?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Babe – you mentioned that we were “unmasked”. How on earth did you know? He was wearing hearing protection, but not breathing protection, which, in my humble etc., etc., was far more important. You’ll have to elaborate on the watchmaker comment… I’m afraid I cannot appreciate it.

      As for cleanup. I returned to my garden chores and left him with the aftermath. That’s when he came to me and declared to me, “No more sanding.” Good thinking, big guy, good thinking.

      Thanks for the insight about the final healing stage. I think you are on to something. I appreciate it, very, very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I chose watchmaker only because it was one of the meticulous pursuits which would be most disrupted–utterly ruined–were minute particles of plaster dust to be distributed in the vicinity. I may also have had an image of Rainer as rather meticulous and precise in nature based partly on small remarks in your posts and partly on my own too-large assumptions (the only kind I make) based only upon his name. Beyond its areas of origin and the reputation here for folks from there, I am friends with someone from the (pre-War) Munich area who shares the name and epitomizes the characteristics.

        Which brings me to the healing: You are welcome. This morning, I read the comment after mine, and your answer. I am going to be so outrageously rude and out of line.

        Maggie, you had, understandably and properly, concern for Rainer working unmasked. You love him, you care for his health because you value him as a person, because you want him to stay happier and never suffer, because you want his company as long as possible. But you don’t think all those consciously each time you act for his benefit. It is just that, because he is cherished by you, you act for his benefit, as long as this does not overly diminish you as a person (this is where abused partners fail). As a long-ago song said “You build me up.” Our lovers should make us feel more happy and more US.

        Not less capable. Living with someone who thinks only he can do certain thing the right way… Unless one has an iron-clad ego, that can be like living with a spirit-diminishing grinding wheel, over the long-term. One needs to constantly, I think, laugh at that person and say

        “Don’t be ridiculous. You shouldn’t have gotten married, or even ever dated, if you weren’t open to partnering. It’s give and take, share and share alike. You teach, I learn, and vice-versa. Now how ’bout you teach me how to paper in your perfect, perfect way, I teach you how to teach in a patient, patient way, and I will probably wind up teaching you that it’s okay to paper in a not perfect way–’cause Buddy, you need to loosen up if this all is gonna keep workin'”.

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  15. Maggie. This sounds ominous. Does he need you there for the project? Can’t ass’t job like holding vacuum be farmed out for health reasons? Isn’t there somewhere you can unavoidably be called – like to Joanne’s ?

    I’m worried, babe.

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    • Hi Sammy. As for needing to be here for the project, no. He wants to do it himself, because I won’t do it right. He’s never seen me wallpaper, but he knows I won’t do it right. I take offense, but only a little. No one can do a project to his exacting standards. Fine. So be it. Perhaps I should find an excuse to be elsewhere, as you suggest!

      As for the weatherless state: I do tend to “awfulize.” I know that on one hand, this is a temporary phase. On the other hand, I am completely unfamiliar with not having any day-to-day obligations like work or school. So, I feel off balance. Knowing what I know about depression, I wonder if…

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Maggie, I think you’ve done well for someone with nothing to say! The photos tell a very large part of the story and your containing your anger is admirable! I do hope the renovations are completed without too much hassle…. is that possible? No…. plaster dust is horrible. I hope it is all finished soon and you weather the dust storms well. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  17. For someone who has nothing, you’ve done a lot with it. Of course, my definition of creativity is making something out of nothing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m with Babe. I think you reached maximum annoyance. Annoyance overload results in “meh”.

    Perhaps, given he blends with the wallpaper, you could accurately coat him in plaster first, then apply the jammies.

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  19. Maggie, I think it happens to us all at times. Inspiration comes so often from a place of anger, fear, frustration, but it can also come from a place of peace and contentment.

    You’ll be back, and your audience will still be here. And that’s special. ☺ Van

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  20. Wow. I can’t believe you found yet another pattern to add to the menagerie you already have! I’m telling you, you need to go for a world’s record or something…this is absolutely amazing! As for the lack of the Muse…..I know….I’m looking for her too…….but we’ll wait…..we think you’re worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heh – yeah, no wonder I find myself overstimulated sometimes, eh with all those patterns.
      I think the summer has something to do with it, you know? I’d rather be outdoors than sitting at a keyboard. Speaking of which, I think it’s time for a morning walk. thanks for you kind comments . 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. You gave me a much-needed LOL with your observation of Rainer’s camo blending him into the patterns on the wall…and a gasp of surprise in the lack of layers under the paper. Specifically – no pea-green paint layer.

    I think there was a cosmic law which stated “When you remove color or pattern from your walls – there MUST be a pea-green paint layer somewhere within the mix.”

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I could have written this myself, Maggie. If anyone told me that I would be okay living in the new (old) house for 3 months and counting, without having busted down some walls, I would have told them they’re crazy. Somehow though I find myself at peace with living with this horrific kitchen and bathroom until September. No use in causing that much disruption when the kids are home from university, etc. Who would’ve thought I had that level of patience and reason in me? Not I, that’s for sure.

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  23. You were only mildly upset? Perturbed, you say?
    :O
    Gasp!
    I fear that it’s the calm before the storm, you know, when you get so angry you can’t even feel properly? Or is it just that you’re so over the wallpaper crap you no longer have feelings about it? I cannot imagine.
    I shall delight in seeing the finished product 🙂
    I still have tape all over my back hallway, haha!
    Do you have matching camo fleece? Is yours pink perhaps?

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    • Mildly upset/perturbed: you know, I think it was more along the lines of an ironic, “why am I not surprised?” I must confess that blogging about it helped “clear the air” so to speak, so I was holding onto some emotion.
      For the record: I do not own camo fleece. I do not own anything pink, for that matter. Not that I have anything against pink, mind. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Oh man I split my side when I saw that camo outfit, ready for combat! You did well to remove yourself from the fallout until the dust settled (just to throw in a cliché). You have prevailed 😀 We too had our old walls painted with pea green (we called it snot green) and puke pink, which I fondly dubbed as the “Early Portuguese Period” because the prior owners were, you guessed it, Portuguese. Depending on the company I sometimes changed that to “Early Finance” to not offend (not intended). Regarding the doldrums you will get your tongue and groove back, you just need a break to recharge. Grab summer while it is here. The walls will wait for you 🙂

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    • I lived in a 1930’s farm house north of Durham – the walls were either the institutional green or pink. I have a sneaking suspicion that there wasn’t a whole lot of choice in the good old days.

      Yeah, good advice. I’m gonna give myself permission to loll.

      (ain’t that a sight for sore eyes, the camo-wear?)

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Well, Maggie, I think you’re incredibly funny when you “got nothing”. You should have nothing more often! 😉

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  26. Thank you for the laugh, Maggie. ❤

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  27. Your post about ‘nothing’ is wonderful, Maggie. Don’t worry too much… after all Seinfeld created an entire series about exactly that… Nothing. 😀

    My heart goes out to you about the dust situation tho… These days any type of dust scares the crap out of me. I can’t even clean the litter box. I’d definitely be in a hotel by now. My husband and I have an ongoing battle over lawn chemicals and insect spray. He’s fearless and uses them behind my back. I’m focused on saving the environment. Guess who wins?

    As for not getting angry… ever looked into Buddhism? The goal is to attain true happiness and peace by letting go of attachment and expectation. Sounds passive but works for me.

    Hang in there, this too shall pass… 😉

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    • Lots to consider in your post, my dear. Thank you.
      You see my point, I appreciate that. It’s not the mess as much as it’s the health hazard when I’m talking about dust. I had a friend who needed emergency care when his airways clammed shut while he was working on old walls.
      I have explored and tried to practice detachment. Something that would be worth a revisit.

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      • I hope your friend is alright. That is terrifying! I exhaled some wood rot (at least I think that’s what happened) while painting the eves last November and suddenly couldn’t breathe and was taking these huge empty attempts for air…. I made my way inside (more embarrassed than anything) and finally coughed up a lung so to speak. And then… I put on a mask… It’s a wonder how we all survive at all with the things we silly humans do!

        Liked by 1 person

  28. You call it weatherless when you got nothing? That almost sounds like emotionless – or am I wrong.

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    • Hi Cecilia – Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, exactly – weatherless = without affect or emotional response. John Barth is a sailor and his stories are filled with nautical themes. I believe it was his novel At the End of the Road where his protagonist was at sea, adrift, without wind in his sails, weatherless. Which is not exactly emotionless, but close.

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  29. I know what you mean. . . sometimes the energy spent by that white-hot anger can be so draining. I hope he sticks to his promise about the sanding. I think no work or school can be unnerving in some ways. . . but I also think it can be sort of like a fallow field and later, the time was actually a replenishing one, and new things come. The picture-and comments about it-are hilarious! 🙂 Your house looks beautiful!

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    • Dixie! Hello!
      He did some sanding the other day using the same tool – this time, he used an attachment – a hose that collected the dust directly – I did not bother to ask why he didn’t use this the first time. All rather water under the bridge – or dust on the banister, as it were.

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  1. A Chocolate Tale Of Surprise | My Life Lived Full
  2. The Properties of Silver Nitrate | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  3. I Still Got Nothing | The Zombies Ate My Brains

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