Monday, January 12, 2015

Do It Yourself

Okay, first off, I didn't do any of what I'm about to describe by myself.  I owe Jeff and our friend Bowen a whole heck of a lot.  Mandy worked hard too.  And my parents, grandmother, and in-laws helped by taking the kids at strategic junctures along the way.  We couldn't have remodeled our bathroom without all of their help.
Having said all that, we're going to dedicate it as the Jeaph Mowsur Memorial Bathroom.  Without his help we'd still be living with a seriously leaking tub and the stress of rot and decay under our showering feet.
Not quite ten years ago we had some extraneous cash and did quite a bit of remodeling on our house.  My grandparents built the place probably fifty years ago, my parents bought it from them twenty five or so years ago, and Mandy and I bought the house twelve years ago this month. 
When we moved to Colorado we tried to sell it, but that was 2008 and we got stuck with it.  My parents moved in because they were going through a tough time, so when we moved back from Colorado two years ago they offered to find another place so we could move back in.  At first we refused the offer.  When we moved away we made some absolute statements.
First that we'd never move back to Kentucky, and if we DID move back we'd never live in Stanton again, but if we DID live in Stanton we'd never live in our old house again.
I'm here to tell you friends...never say never.
We finally conceded and took my parents up on the offer.  In self-disgust with a hint of despair we moved back in.
The house had gone downhill.  The tub had started leaking shortly after we'd installed it.  There was no way I was taking it out to get our money back or a new tub.  We installed it in a gutted room.  There was no feasible way to extract it and install another.  The bathroom had literally been built around it.
Every time someone took a shower there was a huge puddle on the basement floor afterward.  To my shame I ignored it for close to ten years.  Finally I couldn't take it anymore.
Right after Christmas I’d had enough.  It was time to fix the rot in the soul of our house.  Two years back and I had put off so many things I needed to do.  Maybe I was holding out for the apocalypse or my first best seller.  But the magical solutions to our home owning woes never materialized.
For two weekends I put off almost all recreation.  This past week I took off from running hoping to line out my hip.  It's still a bit sore, but I'm going to try an easy run tomorrow.
Anyway, our shower is tiled.  I put the grout on last night.  We still plan on trimming out the rest of the bathroom and have some other minor things to get it all the way we want it.  And then on to the next home improvement project.
Daily life offers a different kind of endurance opportunity than those contrived adventures I send myself on.  Sometimes for me the mundane is more difficult than the novel and extreme.  Both sides of the coin are complimentary to the other though. 
It feels like a switch has flipped in my brain.  I’m tired of sitting back and trying to squint and not see the decay right in front of my eyes.  Up til now it has been kind of a survival tactic.  Maybe mentally I just wasn’t ready to take it all back on.  I know my brain feels somewhat tired this morning after a solid week of living with this remodel.  But it’s a good tired.  Right?  We know how that feels in body.  Do we recognize it when it affects our mind in a positive way?
The only way to build any kind of endurance is through incremental positive exercise of the muscle involved.  Or brain.
I’ve not delved into it too much, but the last year of living in Colorado, and the move back to Kentucky, followed by the first year of trying to settle in…well, it was traumatic.  It was traumatic for all of us.  And I know we all tried to pretend everything was fine because…why wouldn’t it be?  In the eyes of everyone around us we should be living the high life.  Perceptions are rarely accurate.  And in the case of the Chainring clan that is definitely the case.
Oh, we’re resilient.  We’re on pretty stable footing these days.  And for the most part the past fifteen years have been nothing less than an incredible and humbling journey and the fulfillment of dreams.
It feels so amazingly good to have begun mending what has been wounded for so long.  And like I said, it took the help of some pretty amazing friends.

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