Sunday, May 06, 2007

What light through yonder window breaks?

My daughter comes into our bedroom almost every morning at 6 a.m., stands by MY side of the bed and claps her hands twice.

I startle awake. Gone are the days when she’d stand there and stare at me until my eyes would open without the added joy of my heart jumping into my throat.

Now she’s become The Clapper.

Of course, it won't surprise me in the least if one of these mornings her usual routine causes the lights to blaze, the television to roar to life and the coffee maker to start perking. It's just the way the house is wired now that my husband — a gadget and techno-geek — has been doing home repairs.

Slowly, (emphasis on S-L-O-W) my husband is transforming our barn into a home. In the years we've lived in this rambling abode, he's rebuilt rotted decks, replaced some old doors and windows, reconstructed entire rooms, installed wood floors and new kitchen cabinets. He's even framed out an area for a luxury spa bathroom and purchased the decadent air-jet tub, where, once installed, I plan on moving all of my Earthly possessions.

Although the overall appearance is one of little progress since none of the projects started HAS in fact BEEN completed hitherto, the list of changes made during the last seven years is nothing short of impressive nevertheless.

Of course I tell him the work he does is appreciated, but I'm careful not to gush. After all, I do want moldings someday so I can't have him resting on his laurels. I also like to reserve the right to gloat on his jack-of-all-trades shortcomings just for kicks.

For instance take the aforementioned lighting. In most homes you don’t have to think about turning on the bathroom or bedroom lights. You flip a switch and the room comes into focus under the glare of energy-saving compact florescent luminosity.

Not in our house. Some folks find programming their VCR impossible? I have trouble working our lights.

Whenever we have guests I practically have to hand them a manual on how to work the lights:

"Ok. If you need to use the bathroom, remember to turn on the track lights in the dining room first. They are on the same circuit and the bathroom lights won’t turn on without the dining room lights on. … And if you turn on the hall lights and they go off by themselves don't worry, it's nothing. Just turn them back on, making sure the switch that is all the way to the left is turned on first. Oh. ... and the light over the bed works on a remote control. If you can't get it to come on you'll have to go to the main panel on the wall and see that the switch is pressed DOWN then press the sensor to the right seven times until the little green lights on the left side of the switch glow."

Even my husband's bedside table has a contraption that allows his lowly lamp to be transformed into a resplendent "natural alarm clock," which, unfortunately, I haven't learned how to operate. I often curse his name as I struggle to turn the thing off a half hour after the light fooled him into thinking being awakened at 4 a.m. is actually "natural."

After I pull myself out of bed and grope around for the plug and end my suffering, all I can think about is Shakespeare ... "so this is what he meant by 'But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?' I bet some grumpy wife threw her husband's 'natural light' alarm clock out of the window when she couldn't figure out how to turn it off.


slouching mom said...

I LOVE the image of your daughter as The Clapper.

Still laughing.

When she claps twice, is she just letting you know that she's awake? Or does she want you to make breakfast?

toyfoto said...

It's usually that she wants to be lifted into bed with me, followed by about three minutes of cuddly "pretend to sleep" drama and then "Get UP!"

MommasWorld said...

Your story reminded me about ManSon as a toddler. Saturday and Sunday mornings (my days to sleep in until 8am) he would rush into my room at 6:30 am shouting “The Sun is UP! The Sun is UP!”. It makes me smile now but at the time I was thinking yikes, let mommy sleep a little bit. Be grateful you only hear two claps.

I admire your attitude towards the home improvements. I would be out of my mind if I had to live with unfinished projects. I am terrible that way and wish I could be more accepting and understanding, like you.

toyfoto said...

My "understanding" is COMPLETELY self-serving. My husband is a packrat - possibly of the order that is documented in the DSM-V - and in my experience, if something in the house is not finished he won't filled it up with junk.

As it is now the closets are getting shelves ... which means chaos will soon follow. *sigh.