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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Day 9 - The Lindens Come Home

It was a beautiful spring day, with all the chaos of life glommed on to 2016 Dayton. Sod was piled high in excess and construction debris was everywhere. Kelly was firing up the new sprinklers and the drip line heads were rocketing off into the street from the excessive water pressure. The toilet was still backing up into the bathtub. The new front door had gone in crooked and there was no time to get the knob on it. The staples refused to hold down the palapa cover over the deck, which still lacked the new stairs and some of the railing. But there was a happy buzz in the air, and when Lynne took a break from tiling the front walk to go get In-N-Out for everyone, we stopped, took a step back, and gazed at the place from the curbside. It was actually coming together!

We worked all day. No one stopped to clean. The kitchen tile was being sealed, the garden boxes were being planted, mulch was tossed around, and another coat of polyurethane was slapped on the newly stained floor. At one point someone yelled out, "Matt and Holly will be here in five!" to which someone else responded, "Five o'clock?" and the reply came back: "No, five minutes!" I think we all dropped our hammers.

The crew ceased all projects and hurriedly moved furniture back into place. Some of the trash was picked up, and tools were moved into the unfinished Family Room, which had become the contractor's bane with all its problems. The catalyst of the whole affair, and there it was at the end of the week, little more than studs and drywall. Our vision for a luxurious Family Room had been reduced to mere tool storage.

But from the street the place looked pretty good. We dragged a rock from out back and bolted some nice new numbers to it. With the new sod and landscaping, and then the replaced headers and painted stucco and tiled walk and new door and window shutters, it actually looked pretty nice! I'm not sure what Matt & Holly expected when they took off the blindfold (probably a new Family Room) but I think they were satisfied. We were all mostly proud of our work, and very proud to be a part of the whole event.

We led Matt and Holly on a tour of our work so far, and then out onto the deck and into the garden, and tears were shed. It really was beautiful, but in the end it wasn't the house that was beautiful at all. It was all the people who came out to help, arriving daily with their bottomless kindness and good cheer. Most everyone ran out of some part or tool or another and went down to the hardware store to get what they needed to finish the job. We had run out of money days ago, but here the work was getting done and no one was handing me receipts. It was like the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, (Matthew 14) where I've always suspected that in addition to the miracle of the Lord, people who were there were inspired to lend food they were quietly keeping to themselves, and then kept giving and giving. It becomes infectious.

It was a joyful twilight out on the deck, with a few bottles of wine a la "Baja Winery" (the theme of the makeover). The lights twinkled on the new gazebo and the new tile in the kitchen just sparkled at sunset. At one point, Jenn accidentally spilled her wine on it, which caused everyone to laugh: she had just sealed the grout about 5 hours before. This was the moment that defined it all for me because there was no horror in the blunder at all, it was just a good laugh with friends and family in the kitchen.

It felt like home.

(By the way, she must've done a good job: the stain came right up!)


peggy wenner said...

Matt and Holly

I am amazed by the generosity of both friends and strangers. I plan to get a digital picture of our guest room so that Holly can do a commissioned water color for it before Annabelle arrives. Much love, Aunt Peggy

HB said...

"Satisfied" doesn't even begin to describe how we felt walking up to this labor of love that went into not only our home, but our lives. We are so overwhelmed with grattitude and humbled by what's gone on, and is still going on. We open our doors to anyone from Annabelle's Circle anytime. We love you and can never thank you enough. There are really no adequate words. Thank you, thank you, thank you.