It’s 8:30 and I’m still in bed, wrestling with the opposing forces of my insatiable need for extra sleep, and the list of home improvement tasks that must be done before we get the house ready to sell. And I’m getting just old enough now that the latter starts to win.
That’s how life gets somehow. As a younger more impetuous lad, I would’ve slept another two hours, but now the need for money and the tinge of anxiety surrounding it get me moving.
Money and fear. Is this what life is all about?
I jackhammer the rim of crust that seals my heavy eyes together, and willfully roll out of bed, groaning with the pains of an ex-athlete past his prime, who’s been squatting in the rafters while drywalling the ceiling the day before.
I slide on my flip flops because the house is in disarray.
Bits of ceiling and wall and nail and screw litter the floor, and electrical wiring juts out of various holes that disappear into crevices that have not been seen in half a century. The new tile on the kitchen floor is covered with marks and debris, and I fear that I may now need to repair what I’ve already done.
But as the asbestos floats lazily in the air, outlined in holy magnificence by the rays of sun streaming through the new skylight, it seems for a moment that maybe things aren’t quite as desperate as they seem.
You see, both the Detroit Lions and I are rebuilding the house.
And both of us are taking our damn sweet time.
In my case, I started working on this thing over a year ago when I ripped up the kitchen floor, promising my wife a quick tile job that would update the feel and look of the space and add value for an eventual sale. I said it would all be done in two weeks.
In the case of the Lions, they’ve been struggling for over a decade, since the franchise curb appeal took a turn towards the ghetto with the exit of franchise foundation Barry Sanders.
And as I learned in my own project, things tend to collapse when you remove a weight-bearing wall.
Two houses: both torn apart, both dear to my heart, both a half century past their prime.
I’m already in a foul mood because the Lions have announced that they’ll be starting their project by updating their kitchen, too. And I know from experience that this is a mistake.
Though it’s the highest profile room in the house, if the walls (electrical, structure, roof, etc.) need fixing, it’s best to do these things first.
If not, you get a nice finished space all beat to hell while the other projects are still forthcoming.
But I’m done ranting about that. Though the kitchen in my house will need a little repair, in the end, it’ll look pretty sweet.
So I’m willing to concede that Matthew Stafford many actually pan out for the Lions, though fans who think they’ll see dividends from the kid immediately are putting way too much faith in the value of one room in the midst of a ramshackle.
Like me, the Lions now have one hell of an overpriced kitchen for a house with holes in the floor. But unlike me, they still haven’t realized that those holes need to be filled if anyone’s ever going to walk through the front door.
And I know it’s scary to start knocking down walls in an old home, because you never know exactly what you’re going to find. But when the left wall is sagging, you can bet the joist is cracked and needs to be replaced. Sorry Backus, it’s true.
And if the roof is leaking like a sieve, then you best get on that before water damage sinks any chance at a sale. Yes, defense wins games, there's no doubt about that.
So I can only hope that the Lions get to that next year, as they followed up their kitchen with a breakfast nook (Pettigrew) and left the structural damage in tact. I can only hope that by the time the whole house comes together that the tile work isn’t already outdated.
But for now, both the Lions and I will continue to rebuild our homes ass-backwards, with our heads in the sand, hoping the roof holds out just a little longer and hoping that by the time we get to THAT project, our shining kitchen is still intact.