About 6 days ago we suddenly lost it. We lost the patient capacity to wait. We have to have this house finished now. It is like when you go camping and you are fine for 4, 5 or 6 days and suddenly, irrationally, you absolutely must have a bath. You must have it right now. You are no dirtier than you were 15 minutes before but the need for the bath is suddenly overwhelming.

Kitchen and sleeping tents on wooded campsiteThat is how we feel. There was no moment or event of more or less finished spots but suddenly it was different. Maybe it was the sunlight which is pointing us toward summer. Maybe it was the fact that the grass is emerging and the mud is receding. Maybe it was nothing at all but something changed.

Today I planned to work on the garage with the secret goal of having a car in it rather than building materials. Everyone says it, that they will work on their garage. I have said it many times and even done it a few. Today I did work on it but mostly each thing in the garage I picked up led me to other tasks from the top to the bottom of the house.  I got very little done in the garage proper but I did get a lot done.

One of the things I spent time doing today was rounding up, organizing and labeling left over parts of things we have installed in the house. There is left over pop-up valve and plunger that did not fit quite right but might in be useful to keep. There are special screws, left over L braces since we used the included H braces, and manuals telling us how to flush a toilet, screw in a light bulb or warning us that a stove can get hot. I told our contractor that it was a very strange feeling after nearly two years of gathering up things to install to be gathering up the left over pieces of what we installed.

There was a certain kind of finality to tucking the left over faucet parts into a box and marking it with the model number to be stored in the place where such things go. Putting things away means that you have finished the task.

As I look around the house there are so many tasks to finish that it does not feel like we are finished. Nonetheless, we really are close. Many of the things I see that need to be finished in reality can be picked away at for the next many years. Today I was fussing over how to finish the place where the walls and the floors join in the garage. Baseboards seemed to be a bit over the top but the ragged edge of the dry wall approaching the concrete floor seems unfinished. We decided that the rubber baseboards used in commercial applications would be quick, cheap and make a nice clean finish. I do not have to have those now but the wall looks unfinished where it meets the concrete so it seems like I should.

The range arrived today, all 230 pounds of it. As the delivery people from Lowes thumped their way up our stairs with the behemoth I could see my kitchen one step closer to being the place I cooked and not the place where I built things. To punctuate that thought, when I was cleaning up the spare parts I ended up putting a box of dishes in the kitchen cabinet so they would not get broken.

I put two light bulbs in the utility room cabinet.

Slowly we march toward the inevitable “finished” point. When the plumbing is completed next week we can take that much needed metaphorical camping bath.