The Money Pit

“Do you realize what you’ve done? You’ve taken a woman who loves you, one of the great women in the world and thrown her away. I lost her too, but I will get over it because I am shallow and self-centered. But you, you won’t, because you are “complex”. You will feel terrible anguish for the rest of your life. This is turning out to be a pretty good day.” – Max, The Money Pit

I’m no do-it-yourself Janissary, but I have toiled among the ranks of the home improvers. Not so much lately, like not in the last ten years or so, ever since I discovered the pleasures of bicycling instead. It used to be that I preferred do-it-yourself, over hiring a contractor, but I have mellowed with age. This year’s early spring storm damage launched me firmly into the realm of home improvement contracting. After all, I had all that insurance money to spend, but I went well beyond what the insurance company had to give. We got new gutters and had the fallen tree replaced.

I’m recalling all of this history, because last night I started watching the movie, “The Money Pit”, on Netflix. The movie stars Tom Hanks and Shelly Long and is directed by Richard Benjamin. It was funny to me then, in 1986, as a new home owner, firmly in the grasp of the home improvement bug, as it is now some twenty-five years later. All this spring, while dealing with my own contractors, I kept hearing echoes, of that movie’s contractor refrain, “two-weeks”, to the age-old question of homeowners, when they will it be done? For me, two-weeks stretched to two-months, and then some, but the job was eventually finished and I was satisfied.

This morning, in the bluish gray gloom before dawn, I began my regular commute to work. As always, I stopped at Starbucks on my way in to work. I was through the door and halfway to the sales counter when it hit me. There was some otherworldliness about the coffee shop this morning. My early morning fog prevented me from processing what was different, what was wrong. Then like a spear to the brain the recollection of the note on the front door struck me, “Please pardon our hard-hat friends”. The similar, yet vaguely different tableau before me suddenly came into sharp focus. My Starbucks had been completely remodeled, and in just one night.

The people behind the counter were the same, Aaron and the Latté Ladies were all there, just like yesterday. Even the general layout was not all that too much different. I guess that the most disorienting aspect of the change was that my Starbucks now looked more like all those others. You know the ones, the ones with drive-up windows. I have been going to this coffee shop since before it was even a Starbucks. Then it was a Café Paradiso, a local shop. Now the register is first and then the barista’s bar, quite logical. Then it was the opposite, with this sole advantage, occasionally the barista would hand me my drink, before I had made it to the register to place my order. This so delightfully infuriated the people ahead of me in line. But to remodel the kitchen in just one night is simply amazing. Even if it takes them “two-weeks” to finish the job, they are still way ahead of schedule. On the way out, I conversed with another customer. She said that at another Starbucks they had closed the store for two-day, for remodeling. Oh my, no!

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