15 August, 2007

Pass the Hammer! Please...

Our dining room floor is done...

After three nights, two full days, and 6 trips to Home Depot and Menards...

After a smashed up toe, punctured fingers, and several black paint stains on multiple extremities (which are still there 5 showers and 3 days later)...

So here is the story. Kevin and I had our first free weekend in weeks. With vacations and our constantly demanding work schedules it is rare for us to have a completely free weekend. We agreed weeks ago that we weren't scheduling with ANYONE for this weekend. We turned down dinners, celebrations, and tickets amongst friendly protests, but we did it. We maintained a free weekend.

So Friday, we went for our traditional Friday lunch out and began mapping out our plans. On the table was the State Fair in Milwaukee, a nice italian dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant we've been trying to get to for 9 months, a boat trip on the Fox River, a trip to the farmer's market, and a few odds and ends around the house.

And then, out of my mouth, came the bombshell...

"Well, we could consider doing the dining room floor this weekend..." I mumbled quitely chewing on the straw in my diet coke.

So ensued the marathon home improvement project. It needed to be done. The carpet was okay with the exception of a turkey roaster size melt spot in one corner (who knew it would melt? I didn't have anywhere to put it! I wasn't the one who put the empty roaster in the oven for storage in the first place!), but the carpet was older and ratting and not without it's drawbacks. We have done quite a bit to redo our dining room already and it was starting to look out of place. We wanted something more formal and more functional, especially with the potential of little Cheerio slobbering and smushing monkeys in the next few years.

So, weeks ago we had purchased laminate hardwood flooring to replace the berber carpet in our dining room. It was a traumatic experience having picked a color and returning to discover it was sold out and then finding out that they wanted to charge us $100 to ship $200 worth of materials. On a random trip for tortilla chips, diet coke and nacho cheese for our vacation (We were at Sam's club), we found the color once again and snatched is up like a hawk to a field mouse.

And then it sat. It took up residence on our dining room wall and became victim to the busy schedule. It's only consolation was the random, longing glance we would send it's way as we scarfed down whatever dinner we had the energy and time to put together that evening.

Until this weekend. Friday after work, I emptied the room of it's furniture. Kevin and I pulled up the carpet. And we began laying the laminate. A relatively simple process with only a few cuts necessary with the table saw. We were done by 11:15. I swiffered the floor and admired our handiwork. We went to bed.

The next morning Kevin awoke at approximately 5:00 a.m. This is not usually for my husband who enjoys his mornings to sleep in as much as the next guy, but something had been bothering him all night. The seams we had worked tireless to line up perfectly were too conspicuous across the floor. They were too noticeable and did not look natural. So, after a trip the farmer's market and much agonizing over the extra work, we decided to pull up the floor, map it out and relay it, staggering the seams. Yes, we relaid the whole thing!!! But it looks a lot better...

And then there are all of the extraneous projects one decides to undertake in tangent to the larger project...A new screen for in front of the radiator...relocating all of the beer mugs on the shelf along the wall and replacing them with our wine bottles...restaining the moulding and trimming the door frame...affixing pads to the chairs and the table to protect our lovely new floor from scratches...and they are stil not all finished, but we're getting there.

Our feline children also contributed to the project. The spent most of their time testing the seams by sprawling full-bodied across any flooring that was complete. They also took their turn at christening the floor by disembodying and consuming several branches of fresh catnip. Needless to say, their druken-catnip stupor kept us well entertained during our many hours of construction.

Some of you are asking, how are the two of you still married? Actually, it was a good exercise in communication and teamwork for us. Sure, we both had our moments of frustration, but in the end it forced us to communicate, maintain patience, and make the best of it.

And the best part was, we got done in time to have our nice italian dinner at the fancy restaurant...we shared a fabulous authentic meal with a beautiful bottle of red wine...and then a drive out to the ledge to watch the sunset over the beautiful city lights.

At the end of each day and yes, even the end of each project, we are truly blessed by one another and the home we are building together.


Yes, I have been terribly derelict in my posting duties...so much has been going on too!

It seems like 6 months since we were on vacation and any level of relaxation that was reached, I have long fallen from. However, let's move on to my topic of the morning; moonlight.

It would seem that moonlight characterizes my marriage. My husband first kissed me by the full moon. We honeymooned during the full moon. And yes, my monthly cycles are heavily impacted by the full moon. (Hence the nonsense of July...two full moons in a month...what's a body to do?)

It makes me think that maybe the ancient people's weren't so far off base. We think they were crazy for some of their understandings of the body and it's relativity to the moon. I propose that maybe they weren't uneducated, but they maintained less impediments to the natural order that we categorize as "science". Now, don't get me wrong, science is an important tool. We just have to remember that it is a tool amongst many. We cannot allow science to preempt things like intuition, creativity, theology, philosophy and pure natural law.

The more natural my life becomes, the more aware of nature's patterns I become. I try very hard to maintain a chemical free life. As much as possible, I am trying to eat whole and organic foods (easy at this time of year when the farmer's market is teaming the delectible delights). I have chosen to remove extra hormones from my body by refraining from chemical birth control. I am attempting to find allergy treatment methods that reduce my dependence on a daily pill. I am also attempting to find more natural remedies to things like cramps, headaches, and fatigue.

The reality is, when your body hurts, it is trying to tell you something. Painkillers do not address the problem that your body is trying to indicate, it only masks the situation. If our lives are too busy to address the problem, maybe it isn't about finding the next great medication, but finding a better balance in life. Next time you have a headache, instead of reaching for the pill bottle, consider a big glass of water, a cold cloth and 10 minutes in a dark place with your eyes closed.

We as Americans have to stop expecting other people and items to make the lives we pack full of nonsense easier. We are breeding a lazy and undisciplined society with too many distractions. How is this even possible? Does anyone see that we perceive ourselves as the busy nation in the world, but we are perceived as one of the laziest? Kevin and I were discussing the value of "processes" the other day and agreed that a world that puts undue value on processes is creating lazy and stupid people. We are not becoming more efficient! We are limiting what people have to learn, develop, and be accountable for!!!

Anyways, back to the moon. I actually set out for this piece to be a reflection on the moon in my marriage, the natural beauty that is love, and the faithfulness that is our Lord. I suppose, like a sculptor, that isn't what wanted to be carved away.

Either way, it comes down to this; the moon is a nightly reminder that we need constancy, simplicity, and beauty in our lives. There will be times when it is full, new, waxing and waning, but we need to make every effort to maintain a constant, simple and beautiful balance in our lives that allows us to live free and unhindered by the trappings of this world.