Thursday, February 3, 2011

In Spite of Messes

Up to my eyeballs in paint, with endless ceiling above and a mess of drop cloth below, a bit of a mean spirit had come over me. Who in their right mind would ever take on a home improvement project of this size during the holidays? Priming, painting, sawing, hammering, packing away multitudes of belongings is no way to glide into the New Year, I thought. It’s supposed to be a time of a different kind of preparation - Peace, serenity, good will and all that...bah, humbug!

Reloading the roller and slowly attacking that large, but ever-diminishing area above, my mind analyzed how I got to where I was at that moment: frustrated and angry at the load of work ahead. The answer was simple - I’d agreed, planned, bitten off a huge bite and jumped in with both feet! Now, I was seriously having second thoughts.

One thing always leads to another. Whether that is a positive or negative experience, is often dependent upon our outlook. When we agreed that our 30 year old carpeting in 3 rooms needed replacing and decided to replace the entire house-full of it, we committed ourselves to all that entailed. I had planned on repainting anyway, and it made sense to do at least some of that before the new carpeting was installed. My husband decided to tackle removing and replacing a dysfunctional sliding glass door for the same reason.

The room I tackled first was the most difficult one, with 6 small walls of rough cedar boards to prime and cover with 2 coats of a new, lighter paint. Of course, it had to be done with a brush, as a roller would not begin to cover all that rough wood. Suffice it to say that it took a looong time.

My husband picked up the new door and arranged for a couple of friends to help with the installation. Seems the door we received was not exactly the same size as the floor model that he had ever-so-carefully measured and planned for. The hole in the wall, left when the old door was removed, needed to be enlarged “slightly” with accompanied complications that I won’t go into. The road there was not particularly smooth, either.

We became tired, concerned, frustrated, edgy - we snapped at each other and said things we wish we hadn’t. We cancelled our traditional New Year’s Eve gathering that year as the whole house would be in a mess. Our minds raced, our aging bodies ached and our spirits sagged...

But wait - what was this whole thing about, anyway? Improvement, newness, progress - one of many reorganizing and decluttering times in our lives. Looking ahead, “down the road a piece”, we could envision a newer, brighter environment. Belongings gone through, sorted out, and slimmed down. Rooms cleared, cleaned, and reorganized. The satisfaction of tasks completed and whole new possibilities of where time, talents and efforts could best be used long after these projects are done.

We said our apologies, the new door finally went in, two rooms were repainted and new carpeting was on the way. We scaled down our holiday preparations, found time to spend with friends and family, and with some bare walls, shelves, and a basement full of boxes, had a wonderful Christmas anyway.

 In life, we are always putting our house in order. We can resolve to hang in, muddle through - in spite of the messes - and look forward with optimism, patience, and thankfulness. A New Year has begun.

Rid yourselves of all offenses you have committed,
and get a new heart and a new spirit.
Ezekiel 18:31


  1. Good for you for jumping right in! Just think fow clean and fresh and light it will all be when you're done.

  2. YES it is, since this all happened 5 years ago. Anyone who owns a home knows that the work is never done - We've had so many "fix-it" and remodeling projects that I've lost count, but the results are definitely worth the effort. They say any remodeling or building project tests a marriage & I'm sure that's true, but it's all about pulling together through the tough times, as well as the smooth ones. Thanks for checking in!

  3. whew!! alot of work! seems so overwhelming...but once you get started...as you know...there's no turning back! but in the end, the rewards and hard work, make it all worthwhile!

    we have repairs all the time around our home...sam is such a procrastinator...amazing all the things a strip of duct tape will fix! ha!