So Bee Man #1 came out Friday morning and said, basically, that we have a massive hive in our wall which may require an entire side of the house being torn open to remove. And there’s no way around it really. If you don’t remove the hive, even after extracting the bees, the honey in the walls starts to go rancid and smell, which not only stinks but also attracts more bees, as well as other insects and even rodents. So let’s say you take your chances, extract the bees, and just seal up all the possible entrances where bees and other critters could get in, and tell yourself you can deal with the stench…then you still will get rancid honey seeping through your drywall. So there’s no way around this one, I don’t think. We have to wait a week for Bee Man #2 to come out and inspect the situation and give us a new estimate, since Bee Man #1 couldn’t do anything because the job was too big.
Bee Man #1 got to our house about 9 AM and was gone by 10:30, and I immediately left the house to run some errands. I was feeling pretty foul about the whole thing; cranky and depressed in general, and while driving home I started to dig into why all these home repairs have me so thrown and moody; I mean, these things happen. But I feel like such a terrible failure about it all. You should have heard this guy going on about how many bees we had, and how huge the hive must be, and oh wow, look at this huge hole you have in your wall back here (the space where the air conditioner is hooked into the wall actually, so I don’t know what the problem was – he actually wanted me to crawl back there and look at what he was talking about but it was hot as hell and there were bees flying everywhere and I was already dressed for the day and I do not go crawling around sticking my head into wall-holes, sorry), and hey look at the siding peeling off over here against the fence and OMG you sure have a lot of cool air escaping from the wall over here and blah blah blah on-and-on-you-suck-at-homeownership-cakes.
True, our house is old. True, we are not the most fastidious of homeowners in the world by a longshot. But we are not losers, although we may slack on occasion when it comes to tending to the house – only in a cosmetic sense, at least that we’ve been aware. We get the house exterminated every three months, inside and out. We clean up after ourselves. When we see a serious problem, we fix it. We just don’t sweat the carpet or the paint job or the age of our appliances. But this whole summer has worn me down and made me feel like a loser anyway. I know this stems from some other place, some lack of confidence I have in myself as a capable adult that has its roots in childhood, when I was repeatedly told that I didn’t have what it took to take care of myself in the real world. My mother and grandmother always believed I was too sensitive, too soft, to survive on my own, and they both loved to criticize me for it. Grown-ups don’t behave that way, they’d say to me on a regular basis. You’re going to have to get it together and stop being so sensitive if you’re going to be able to function as a grown-up.
I’m not blaming anyone, and my past was what it was. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t always great, and I carry some scars from ways in which I was treated. Whatever. The fact is, I was driving back to the house today, and I was hearing this voice in my head over and over saying Face it, you’re a failure as a grown-up in relation to this house business. And I realized that I always feel this way when things go wrong with the house in particular. I didn’t feel like I’d “failed as a grown-up” when I thought I’d damaged up my hair last week, for example, or when I gained weight in the two years when I didn’t work out, or all the times I’ve had problems at work, or conflict in my marriage. But when anything goes wrong with the house, I feel like an absolute failure as an adult. I’m sure there’s a lot more analysis I could get into here – the fact that my mother was a quite unhappy yet meticulous homemaker whose house was the castle she ruled with an iron (if metaphorical) fist, perhaps? But I’m not going to get into that any further here. My mother has apologized for the mistakes she made, and I know if she had it to do over again she’d raise her children differently – and that’s all I can ask for really. What’s left is for me to deal with, without laying blame. But all these years later, it’s still there. And it’s messing with me this summer, in the weirdest way.
It’s at least part of the reason why I’ve felt so strangely bored and restless all summer, I think, something I’ve mentioned here before is rather unusual for me. It’s probably partly to blame for why I haven’t played dress-up and taken pictures. There’s all this stuff wrong with the house, stuff I should have taken care of sooner, and it’s all being pointed out to me and demanding my attention, and rattling my fragile little ego-cage, and triggering my neuroses and making me stir-crazy, and a little depressed. I’m glad I at least got a little glimpse of what’s going on with me though; I think I’m onto something with the connections I’ve made today and that I can start to work through them now. I’ve been reading about people having bees in the walls for years and never realizing it, and it’s actually not all that uncommon, so that makes me feel a little better about all this. But the process of dealing with this is not going to be fun, so I’ve got to suck it up and steel myself for the onslaught of more banging and ripping and exposing the dirty little secrets encased in our walls – like any good grown-up would do (and in fact, when I was feeling down about all this tonight and Doug was gone to play guitar with friends, I actually called my mom to talk through my bee-anxiety, and she didn’t make me feel like a “bad grown-up” at all. In fact, we were laughing about it by the end).