Andrew Birden Credit: Andrew Birden

People passing our house this year have noticed that our yard has spent almost the entire summer resembling a collapsed pile of old 2x4s rather than the lawn a rational family tries to avoid mowing all summer.

It all started when we noticed that the front door had stopped opening properly.  The upper part of the door started scraping against the underside of the porch ceiling, and the door would stick open.

We learned that the crooked door meant a part of our home was sinking into the dirt and hauling the rest of the house off its foundation. The consequence was that we could either spend three times the actual value of the home to repair that portion of the building or demolish that broken bit for a fraction of the price. We elected to do the latter, treating the damaged section of the home like a cancerous tumor.

Our contractor demolished that portion of the house, and transformed our normally pristine front yard into a pile of debris, as if an inebriated King Kong had been playing pixie stix with 12-foot 2x4s, stopped mid-game because he ran out of beer, and then wandered into the forest to sleep it off.

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With the cancerous growth of the house tumor gone, the door did open normally.  Unfortunately, it opened above a three foot drop that ended in a jagged debris field.

We immediately let everyone know to use the backdoor of our house until our contractor finished the porch we had decided would replace that demolished section of the house.

You would think that I would learn quickly to use the alternate exit, but no.  Like a person who casts a vote for a candidate whose positions turn out to be the exact opposite of what he promised, I am unable to shake off the impression that maybe this time the front door will behave like a door.

Apparently, I have a cartoon character’s ability to just step off into empty space and drop out of the camera frame leaving a cup of coffee suspended in the air for a fraction of a second until it too falls to the bottom of the abyss below.

I did that a couple of times as I was heading out for work after kissing my lovely wife.

Even when I returned home from work, it was still a surprise when I walked up to the front door and discovered that the sill of the door was a foot higher than my waist.

The front door had become like Lucy Van Pelt holding the football, and I was Charlie Brown, always thinking that it would be different this time.

It took some time, but eventually I woke up. There is hope in our family that in the near future, our house will return to normal, the stupid chaos that is part of the daily routine will end, and we’ll be able to feel pride in our home once more.

The home renovation project has taught me an amazing lesson in responding to the consequences of bad choices. The lesson, of course, is recognizing that instead of trying to change your home to suit your needs, it is easier to live out of the trunk of your car.