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The XXXX is not a work of art (12)

A company called XXX XXXXXXXXXXXX has been renovating the house by the XXXX. The house was red brick just a few months ago. Now, the brick is painted white with black trim. I know XXX XXXXXXXXXXXX is doing the work because there is a small sign posted in the turf on the corner with their logo on it. I remember the name XXX XXXXXXXXXXXX because we called them to ask about renovating our bathroom back in June. We have been talking about renovating our bathroom for more than a year. We have mold, first of all, and second, our shower offers water temperatures at random. Third, I would like to take baths.

This is our first house, and our first time trying to hire people to work on it. It is not all that straightforward to do. The folks at XXX XXXXXXXXXXXX were some of the only contractors we called who called us back. Turns out the house with the XXXXXX XXXXX belongs to one of the owners of the company. We are happy that a neighbor is going to do our bathroom. I believe both owners of XXX XXXXXXXXXXXX, including the one who lives in the house with the XXXXXX XXXXX, are not White. We are happy a non-White neighbor is going to do our bathroom.

I am increasingly shy about visiting the XXXX because I do not want to create any awkwardness with the people who are going to do our bathroom. A couple of times now I have visited the XXXXXX XXXXX before sunrise in hopes that no one will see me. In darkness or in light, when I visit the XXXX I am being present in this community as a White person, an artist, a newcomer. A human, a descendent of White settlers, a consumer in a capitalist economy. An owner of a home nearby, a gentrifier.

Our house stands on limestone foundation walls plus one enormous wooden beam that is 50 or 60 feet long and 12 inches thick. Just underneath the main floor, the beam runs down the center of the house along its length from front to back. You can see it and touch it in the basement. It is original to the house, which was built in 1885. The beam was once a XXXX. I do not know what kind. Maybe the XXXX was 60 or 80 years old before it became a beam.

A house is not a XXXX. It does not grow. This summer, we had our house appraised so that we could refinance our mortgage. We learned the house had appreciated in value by more than eight percent in one year. We got a packet of papers that explained. The paper was once a XXXX. Still, a house is not a XXXX.

The XXXX is not a work of art.