Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stress-Induced Nightmares

This weekend we're hosting two of the 11 people from Berkeley who didn't make me stabby. Fred Dodsworth, who's been a journalist, designer, editor, publisher and rabble-rouser longer than I've been alive, and his wife Linda, a saint (you have to be to be married to Fred) who runs the Alameda County WIC program. We're drinking coffee at the Cherry Bean and talking history and Howard Zinn and house issues.

I had three nightmares last night, and I think they're all related to drywall. The house (as you can see from the picture here) doesn't have any. It has Cat-5 cable throughout, because the previous owner was going to turn it into an office building for attorneys or CPAs. It has a gas insert fireplace in almost every room, and the electrical and plumbing are mostly all roughed in.

But there's no drywall.

Someone we trust (as opposed to the first contractor we talked to, who wanted money up front just to give us a quote on the job--do I look like I just fell off the turnip truck??) told us the drywall would run about $4 a foot, which means the ceilings alone would run $20,000. Just the ceilings. Which would bring drywall for the whole interior close to $50,000.

Considering we need a complete kitchen, all of the bathroom fixtures and plan revisions, $50,000 for drywall might be pushing it.

Here, in order, are the three nightmares I had:

1. I was walking down a road and a man holding a baby out of his car window drove past and threw the baby out. He then refused to allow me to help the baby. (Definitely a Salinas metaphor.)

2. I was driving down a freeway and there was a jumbo jet, pulling another jumbo jet, taking off in front of me. The lead jet went airborn, pulling the other jet into the air behind it, and then both crashed and blew up.

3. I was walking down the hallway at my youngest son's school and stopped to talk to our friend Jay, the vice principal who has been in our kids' lives since 1999. He told me Thursday was going to be his last day at work and after that, nobody would ever see him again.

We're going to walk over to the house and show Fred and Linda around. They're suggesting we name all of the bedrooms after themes in Steinbeck novels. I told them they're welcome to stay in the Poverty and Despair Suite any time they visit.


  1. #3 would NOT be okay. Jay, don't do that!

  2. Oh, and if you mention the fireplaces again, I might have to drive down there and smack you.

  3. I shan't move. (But many days would love to just sail away to OZ and never look back...)Thank you for that being a 'nightmare,' by the way.

    I would like the 'base nature of humanity' room, please. Does the house have a cellar, by-the-by?

  4. There's a basement apartment. I see you more in the back bedroom with the fireplace. We're calling it the Joad Room. Unlike other guests, you'll be forced to work in the garden and then starved to death.

  5. What an incredible adventure. I'm thrilled for you, and yes, I know exactly how mad --as in insane-- your are to be taking this sort of project on, but you're doing the right thing. love & kisses and I own the 'Steinbeck Poverty Suite.'


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