Renovation, Reclamation, Rebirth

I give this to take with you. Nothing remains as it was. If you know this you can begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting.

                                                                                      -Judith Minty

I love where I live.  It has taken me at least  two decades to come to this realization and I am glad that it is not too late. I awaken each morning to the quiet of the day and  am guaranteed an encounter with some form of wildlife as I head out for my early morning run.  When I wake up, I love to look out my bedroom window at my vast backyard that bends towards the deep, deep woods. I often will dash outside to see the sunrise and to get a “feel” for the day.

The kitchen sink window is by far a favorite feature of mine. I call it my “perch” for a few reasons. It allowed me to observe my sons playing when they were little and to also keep a close eye on the fire pit antics during their teenage years. It’s a great place to view fireflies in the summer, wild lightning storms during hot, humid days and windy blizzards in the winter. I especially appreciate the refreshing breeze that comes in even on the hottest days of the year.

My appreciation has deepened recently and for reasons that would appear to be paradoxical.  This summer I engaged in my first independent home improvement project!  Usually, home repairs are nothing if not a pain in the neck. At times- in fact, I am having one right now- it is an emergency plumbing situation that leaves you no choice but to buck up and take care of it. This is when I dislike owning a home for sure.

The toughest part of deciding on a renovation is the fiscal investment. For me, money is always tight, tight, tight; I have no second income as back up. Like everyone else, I have the mortgage and college educational expenses that eat up a good chunk of my salary.  As a result, it has taken me years to finally bite the bullet and get something done.  In many ways, I believe that my decision was based on faith alone!

The other piece that makes a renovation difficult is deciding on whom to hire. As a single woman, I fear getting ripped off because of my gender as well as my lack of knowledge. I spent a good amount of time asking around before I decided to hire my handyman.

Anyway, I finally made the decision to repair my decrepit mudroom. The floor was in tough structural shape after it had suffered what was probably years of water damage. Only an expert could fix it. Once I knew that my room was on solid ground, I began the process of picking out paint and flooring. This, my friends, was the best part! Colors, that in the past, I would never I have chosen adorn the walls and floor. It looks so good that I want to sleep in it!  When you enter my home, you immediately get a feeling of comfort, warmth and welcome.

The mudroom is at the back of the house and serves as its main entry. Since we had limited access to it for a bit, the boys had to enter through the front. My old home has a farmer’s porch that is severely underused as it was a reminder of a time when I very sad. I would go there to cry.  When the crying was done, I avoided the porch as much as possible. One day my youngest son called to me, saying, “Hey, we should really clean this up and paint that ceiling white!”
We set to work and in less than a week, the porch is well on its way to renewal. When I sat down during a break from excavating  the moss and mildew, I began to feel a sense of peace and a clearing away of all the sorrow that I had once felt.

So despite the current plumbing glitch, I remain solid in my continued commitment to this place and space . I look forward to the  darkness of this humid night, watching the bats fly about in search of their nightly feast and  falling asleep to the hum of the crickets.

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