Elusiveness of Normal

By Mike Johnson

A clogged drain overflowed along the outside of our basement foundation.
Water seeped in under the expensive wooden floor downstairs. Despite hours of mitigation and days of fans, the wood still warped.
It was visually OK but stepping on the bad area revealed the damage.

Of course, like all flooring you buy, our design was discontinued five minutes after purchase.

So there was no easy patch possible. The best solution was to replace the floor in that entire room with something else that looked like it had been planned.
It was such a large job that we lived with the imperfection for years.

Finally, we were over it and ordered brick tile. The room contained our basement bar so brick embellished the pub feel. Plus tile prevents future water damage.

You’d think replacing a floor would be easy. You’d be wrong.

Furniture had to be removed. A work area established for the tile guy's supplies and tools. Memorabilia and built-ins and walls and ceilings covered with plastic. Another airlock of plastic to keep dust from the rest of the house. This turned the rest of the basement into a war zone.

We lucked into a great tile guy. It still took eight workdays with a weekend off in the middle. Two days just to demo out the old floor. But the end result was beautiful. Actually better than the original floor.

Of course the expense was far greater than the original floor too.

Then it took three more days to put everything back together as it was. Despite all our prep, we still had to dust everything.

All that work, all that time and money, just to get back to “normal.”

We joke about this all the time.

Half of life is spent just getting back to normal.

House and car repairs. Paint and general maintenance. Sickness. Dental work. Eyeglasses. Exercise. Events. Trips. House guests. Arguments and reconciliations. Job change. Income levels. Expenses. Divorce. Deaths of loved ones.

In the movie, “While You Were Sleeping,” there’s a lovely father/son breakfast scene. The son (Bill Pullman) is about to tell dad (Peter Boyle, pictured) he doesn’t want to take over the family business.

Dad is relishing everything being normal.

Father: “You work hard, try to provide for the family, and then, for one minute, everything´s good. Everyone´s well. Everyone´s happy. ln that one minute, you have peace.”

Son: “Pop, this isn´t that minute.”

There goes normal again.

Normal is elusive.

So when those peaceful, normal minutes do arrive, appreciate them. Appreciate them deeply.

It took everything you have just to get to normal.


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