We’d been scrambling to finish up in time to host the 200 Year Anniversary Party. Friends invited us to their “cabin” in Idaho on beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene for five days over Labor Day weekend and although I have a strict rule that no one works in the house while we’re gone (see More Than Just Broken Glass) we were running out of time. Contractor Don installed the new sliders and windows upstairs while we vacationed.
Cabinet installation stalled for months and everyone blamed the painter so it must be true. The kitchen doors were manufactured, installed and sent to the painter for his high gloss finish and they look like lacquer for a fraction of the cost but the bathroom doors remained in place, lost, forgotten and naked. No matter how much I begged, the artist remained unresponsive to Contactor Don and Cabinetmaker Steve’s messages. When you’re the best in town, everyone waits.
I had pretty much resolved myself to the fact that my beautiful new bathroom would be marred by unshuttered cupboards as they had finally been whisked to the paint shop but no promise of completion had been made.
Friday arrived as well as seventeen people frantically scurrying like busy church mice. Contractor Don put up his hands in mock fright when he saw me. “I don’t know if I should kiss you or strangle you!” I told him as we hugged hello. Two carpenters, two electricians, one heater technician, two hardware installers, two painters, one contractor, one A/V guy, two gardeners, two metal workers, Lewis and one housekeeper madly attempting to clean up after each of them. The freshly coated cabinetry was astonishingly installed and Alec the A/V guy finally left around 8:00.
Saturday arrived, the oppressive heat we’d been experiencing subsided, an amazing cotton candy sky put on a show as if on special order and The Party to celebrate my parent’s 50th anniversary as well as three other couples 50th was a success. Oh, and everyone loved the house.
My dad went to college with a group of friends that has remained close over this last fifty-five plus years. These people are my family. We have celebrated more events that I could possibly count and grieved together on a few rare but devastating occasions. We have camped, house boated, water and snow skied, resorted and cruised together for decades and each trip is anticipated as the Great Adventure that it is. The stories, it is all about the stories. The craziness was factual, the lore perpetual. I never, ever grow tired of hearing the stories.
Fifty years together is an amazing accomplishment. We have not yet hit the twenty year mark and for many years I wondered what the fuss was all about as to how hard marriage was as ours had always been easy. The last few years have been hard; my jobs has become insane and the remodel stress has been real and tangible. The constant differing of opinions and communication styles and varying alignments has changed the “us against the world” to sometimes “me or him siding with a construction vendor and against the other” and it is wearing and destructive. We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and when we look around our beautiful new home we are proud and grateful but anxious to get back to the way things were; they were pretty damn good. They’re still wonderful but there are a few sharp barbs here and there that need time to soften. We had the opportunity to celebrate with four couples that have made it to that fifty year mark and I look forward to our twilight years as well, together.
You always hear that if you can make it through a remodel you can make it through anything and in a lot of ways it is true. Hopefully it will return to some normalcy soon and we can enjoy the house that has taken a lot of work.
The party was a success and of course everyone liked the house. Sometimes things never get done until the last minute. It was a busy push the last few days and Janelle was a basketcase worrying about every detail but in the end it all turned out fine. Now that it’s getting cleaner as less and less dust is left behind, Janelle will stay busy following me around with a towel, broom and closing doors behind me so good luck.
Do you have an extended family?