About a week ago I read the final book in Naomi Novik’s Scholomance trilogy, and found it … far more satisfying than most of the other books I’ve read recently, even ones that are arguably quite good. After some reflection, I decided this was because the narrating character, El, has an emotional range that begins at grumpy and escalates to rage incarnate. (Novik makes a joke of it, late in the book: there is one point when El is emotionally overwhelmed and she sits there for a few minutes “until one single feeling came up to the surface above all the rest, and if you can’t guess which one it was, presumably you’ve only just started reading at this particular point in the story.” I LOL’d.)
This only works because El also has an extremely strict moral code, and she’s working very hard to do the right thing at all times: she is literally ‘good and angry’. (In the vernacular of my childhood that phrase was used as a signifier of slow-burning intensity, like “After he’d done that three times, I finally got good and angry.”)
I also am pretty much rage incarnate at this point, and yes that intensity has indeed been building for a long-ass time. Years in some cases, decades in others. Like El, I am still working intently to conduct myself in a moral fashion. Unlike El, I do not have literal world-ending powers of destruction, which makes my experience rather less satisfying than hers. No, in fact I seem to be entirely powerless to change any of the things that I am angry about, even on an individual level, much less a global one. Which is exactly why watching El set some shit right was so attractive.
My ability to keep my own anger under control is no longer as firm as I would wish. For two whole days of last week I could do nothing but sob (I cry when I’m angry) and rant about various slow-moving ninety-car pileups. I did manage not to attack anyone in my rage, and I was more grateful than usual for Jak, who listened to my ranting for several hours. After two days I was able to stop spilling over, but my rage reservoir is still so full that nothing but surface tension is keeping it in place.
This is not a great way to live, but I am not seeing any alternatives.
The kitchen work essentially finished last week, but we are still under construction; yesterday a different team started on the walls in the great room (which is adjacent to the kitchen and is part of this renovation phase). This is simply a replastering and painting, and should be completed sometime next week, at which point we should be done with workers inside our house for … many months. I don’t yet know when we’ll have enough money / emotional resilience to start phase two of the renovations, but it definitely won’t be soon.
I’m working on a pair of kitchen before-and-after posts. The curse of detail orientation means I am still hyper-aware of all the things that are Not Right, but I expect that as I find workarounds for some things and get accustomed to seeing the rest, I will stop being frustrated by them. Even with those issues front-of-mind, the quality-of-life improvement between last year and now is staggering (never mind the past nine months). So much better. So much.
In the meantime, I will leave you with a picture of a cat. We need to discourage claw-stropping on the new furniture that will be arriving over the next few weeks, and I was very unhappy with the expense-to-quality ratio of mass-manufactured cat trees. So I roped (haha) Jak into helping me build our own scratching post. It’s been a hit.