Paradise and Parenting

By Leza Warkentin

Tile Despair

I came to the conclusion the other day that despair is bad for the posture. I was standing in the floor tile shop, waiting for a quote. The entire staff of the shop was making a point of ignoring us at the time.
I can’t actually blame them for this. I also would have ignored the two kids lying on the floor making inhuman noises, except they kept calling me mommy periodically, so I was stuck. I happened to glance into an unfortunately placed mirror over a discount bathroom sink set and wondered why the slouchy guera looked so sad.
Normally, the back to school time in our lives is punctuated by a few stressful moments. Our family is currently undergoing the transition of Stay At Home Mom to Work Outside the Home Mom and already there is not one vegetable in the house.
There is almost always bedtime angst and the children’s abrupt and inexplicable distate for bathing. There are tears over the fact that their previous teachers were the BEST, and no one can be the BEST like they were the BEST. There is my sudden inability to watch a Netflix movie with my husband without falling asleep every nine minutes.
There is the dawning horror that I am in charge of preparing the kids’ lunches for the next 200 days and that my husband still doesn’t realize that this is A Thing.
With all of this going on, our family is really not ready to deal with any more sticks thrown into the spokes. Our bike may be a bit rusty, but it’s going to get us where we are going if we just keep our heads down and pedal, and that’s about all we can handle until October.
So we were not prepared for the surprise we woke up to the day before I was required to be back at school for teacher preparation work. My husband and I had wonderful dreams the night before of a cooling, lovely rain on the roof.
What we got in reality was inches of water trip-trapping its merry way from a burst pipe in our master bathroom straight into the tile on the first floor.
A large section of it had buckled, and my son communicated this to us by remarking “Cool! The floor is all bumpy now!”
You knew the tension was sky-high by the way that neither Gil nor I commented on our children’s excited inquiries about the possibility of an indoor slip and slide day.
We merely took up our brooms and mops like battle-weary crusaders whose hearts just weren’t into the pillaging and ransacking anymore.
Once we had the floor mopped up (much to the dismay of the younger family members) we called the contractor in.
Do you know there is little that exasperates me more than someone who checks out a problem you have and reacts with a chuckle and a head shake?
I left the room and came back when they had come to a price agreement that eventually changed to include the fact that the tile we had was discontinued.
And that’s what landed us in the tile shop, where I was trying to assimilate the fact that my entire life and house flooring situation was about to change, and that I would be living with concrete dust and the need to walk over my living room floor like a rock-studded river for approximately 80 days. And that I would be giving a significant chunk of my change to this very store with its indifferent staff. But you know what?
That’s ok because, I gotta say, there’s nothing like a game of tag in the ceramics section with the kiddos to take the edge off despair and vastly improve the posture.

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