No Holds Barred: On the Threshold

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The problem is, we didn’t even have an intermission. We went from pandemic to war in less than a week. Who can catch their breath — with or without a mask? Imagine, a month ago we were trying to score a booster — now it’s about finding gas for $5 or less. Soon it will hit $7, and nobody will get a pass on this.

The news images are the worst. Remember the daily photos of masked old people in wheelchairs rolling up their sleeves for a shot — or hanging their arms out of car windows.  Now its babies being held by bloodied parents in puffers running for their lives.  No one can bear the nightly brutal reports.  We’ve come a long way from toilet paper shortages. Now the shelves will be stocked, but it will be $15 a roll.

These are not the worst of times — they are the times we have never known before.  So how are people “transforming” their lives in the midst of all this.  The war is now our wallpaper peppered with the residue of the virus. But masks are off.  The USA map is colored “low infection rate” yellow. And though we are all trying to get back out there and “seize the day,” the sky-high gas rates will affect everything.

Gas pumps take over outside vaccine pods!

Airline ticket rates will not be “frequent flyer friendly.” Hotels already went from $300 to $1000 a night for a moderate priced Marriott single.  And though people are not fighting in the plane aisles over masks, there have been more “incidents” of passenger defecating and masturbating on the food carts.  Talk about post-pandemic pent up behavior. But this is ridiculous.

There is a feeling of “out with the old” and in with … what exactly?  Do we even know?  The millennials in particular have to start rethinking their lives. Can they even afford to work at home in the city of their choice, or should they pick up and start over while they still can physically and mentally?  Reinventing your life is drastic in these times. Older people are left whirling about their money management and being able to “playout” their time left.

A therapist friend of mine insists the tough spot we are all in right now is called “on the threshold.”  We are standing between what was left behind and not knowing what the hell is next.  This is not about a “new normal” —  it’s not about standing still. And there’s no going back.

René Magritte, On the Threshold of Liberty.

So, pick your level of transformation. And please stop using the word “journey.” Everyone is calling their “shifts” — be it in their coffee runs, their colonoscopy preparations, or their bumpy divorces — a “journey.” Let’s think of a better word.  Oprah has even maxed out on “journey.” It’s your story and it’s long and complicated and exhausting, and now terrifying. It wasn’t meant to be a free week on a Seaborne cruise. I honor the power of positive thinking and deep breathing, but that will only get you so far. The rest you have to do on your own.

I came to the realization that we are all actually “renovating” our lives.  And so, I decided as of March 21st (Spring arrival) to spend four deep-dive months actually renovating my 34-year-old house.  So now Home Depot is my new Neiman Marcus.  I have traded in my exterior fashion obsession with my home’s new interior.

Theme of the year!

But home design is a world I know nothing about.  I don’t even watch HGTV or home improvement YouTube videos. I just know I didn’t want to lift my own face — I felt my home deserved it more.  Rather than going all out on the whole house, I decided to simply repaint the interior, replace the carpets, and re-do the kitchen cabinets. No new roof, or windows, or tearing down and replacing walls.

I wanted speedy delivery on everything since home improvement has been in a Covid standstill for two years. And as I watch the Ukraine being leveled, I am more than grateful that my home’s impending DMZ has to do with a transformative improvement and not decimation.

The latest best seller coloring book — true to home popularity.

As my contractor reminded me, “You are not really a remodel, you are a remove and replace. We are getting you back to better shape, with the exact same layout.”

I realized the “remove and replace” will eventually hit my own hips and shoulders (life does trend that way with age), but please God, one asset at a time.

It was evident to me that one of Covid’s gifts was the rise of interest and focus on one’s home.  Whether it was turning your kitchen into an office or making backyards into gyms and elaborate outdoor eating spaces with fire pits. Even dumping your house in New Jersey for a smaller condo in Nashville, Austin, or of course, Miami.  Everyone is on the move to find a new home.

Home has become more than where the heart is. Now home is where your story begins — or ends. But home is the hot spot now. Last week Bed Bath & Beyond reported boffo sales after floundering and almost going bankrupt. Also, Sundance — Robert Redford’s popular clothing and jewelry store —just issued their first “Welcome Home” catalogue featuring southwest furniture and bedding.  It seems candles, carpets, and tables are outselling blouses and jeans and turquoise bracelets.

Sundance’s first new home catalogue.

My parents lived with me part time in my current house.  They both ended up dying here as well. That doesn’t spook me at all.  In fact, I look at my house as my version of a family tribute — a legacy.  My version of Graceland.  They never bothered to renovate any house they lived in; they just moved.  A fresh paint job was out of the question.

I am leaving most of the art and furniture in place. As it is. It all still speaks to me.  Interior decorating is not the point in this project.

History still stands with a little brush up.  The other day, I went out to my driveway and noticed one of my mom’s favorite brass signs she planted.

It says:


I used to only see:


Now it really speaks to me as:


Her current message to me from the vast beyond.

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