I'm Undone- or not done

Tick Tick.  

That is the sound of my timer winding down to the husband’s return.  How are things?

Bathroom?  Incomplete. But getting there, tile by tile.  I will have the toilet hooked up for Steve, but I will not let him shower until the tiling is finished and the walls are primed.
Fridge?  Repaired.  First attempt was unsuccessful, but a second infusion of freon was magic.  So he can eat. I have survived fine with no fridge, since I am happy with toast, nachos and baked potatoes. I may be a full out diabetic soon, since carbs are all I eat.  

Gouged and scratched wood floors?  In progress. I am currently incarcerated in the back half of my house, with plastic sheeting attempting to contain the dust. Lost Cause.  The noise of sanding sounds like progress to me, but the dogs are not happy. We slept in the family room last night, and that was a new trick for a 10 year old Lab.  Milly called dibs on the dog bed, so I put her dog quilt on the couch and gave Mabel an executive dispensation to sleep there.  She declined.  The peeping of birds woke us all up at 5:30.  We are getting to be pretty raggedy room mates. Tacky varnish is between me and my make up and clothes.  I am glad Steve is away from the unvarnished me. 

A “to do” list will still exist when Steve returns.  There will be painting and repairing holes in drywall, but the avalanche of loud and messy home remediation will be over. I am like a little kid, and I want my “TA DA” moment, but it will be “ta da” in small letters.  Steve never craved a new tub, and he didn’t fixate on the scratched floor like I did.  He would have lived with the status quo.  It is fair that I have upended only myself.  My dad left me a bit of money, and I think of this as a gift from him.  It will help my crooked leg to relax so I can sleep.  A rested me is a nicer me, so Steve will benefit, too. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.  
On the other side of Steve’s return is my departure.  I am heading to Italy with 15 friends and family members.  We bus here and there, get early entry to museums, eat average food, drink below average wine, sleep, and start over.  My three sisters and sister in law are on board this crazy train. Italia may never be the same.  
When my Mom died, she and Dad had tickets to Italy.  It was not meant to be.  My sisters returned her traveling wardrobe, and they cried with the sales clerks at Chico’s when they filled in the reason for return as “death.” My Dad ended up going with his lady friend, my Aunt Sharon (long story) years later.  He loved it, but it was very difficult for an 80 year old gentleman.  He came home, rested for a few days, and declared that his wanderlust was cured. Europe would wait for us, he said- but we should visit before we were limited by bad knees or backs. Too late! The Joliat girls have absorbed four genetic predispositions of arthritis.  And yet, we go now, in case we are hobbled by our later days.
My new knee will be tested by the cobblestones, but I am determined to see the Rome I missed when I went to Europe for the first time 9 years ago, and lost my glasses on Day 1.  I was Mrs. Magoo.  The Sistine Chapel was blurry, the Vatican tapestries were muddy, and I had to put my nose on Pope John Paul 23’s coffin to realize he was still looking pretty good. At the second stop, in Florence, I did enjoy a clear look at Michelangelo’s David.  He was larger than life, if you get my drift.  A spare set of glasses remained a day behind me me from Rome to Florence to Venice, where at long last I was reunited with my specs, and could read a guidebook or follow a map.  Then it was time to fly home!  This trip is a “make good” for me. That is another one of my stories I am sticking to!   Steve has never been to Italy, and this is a sore subject with him. Fortunately for me, after 2.5 months in Florida and Arizona, he cannot complain about a week of Home Alone.  You know he would belly ache if he could. 
Why is he returning?  It still appears to be considerably colder than Florida.  He claims he wants to say farewell to me, and that warms my heart.  More to the point, the Blackhawks are closing their season, and the White Sox are opening theirs. I am a realist.  I told him to stay, but I am glad he made the maritally correct choice.  I can fly off without a big hug, but I think the dogs will benefit from his presence.  While Matt was a great house sitter, Mabel will never be the same after trying to retain alpha dog status with Walter Dog.  She has strained her ACL, and is really struggling with stairs and even with her first steps after lying around- which is about all a 10 year old Lab wants to do.  The fact that there is no stair carpeting to secure her foothold makes the house more traumatic for her. Steve is officially in charge of her rehab.  
Steve will be home in 6 days.  I have to move rooms worth of junk back, get the dust out of every crevice, locate my traveling clothes and pack.  No worries.  I will have my ta da.

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