Monday, April 14, 2014

Now I Know Why...

Was there really any reason for this room divide?
When you've been married for over 40 years and single for less than 8 months, Sundays can be hard. Work and friends keep me busy Monday through Saturday, but come Sunday, I try to stay out of everyone's way and keep to myself. Which works because I have become project obsessed with home renovation and it gives me a day to actually do the things I've been obsessing about all week. I need to keep my mind and hands busy so something is always going up, or as just recently, coming down. But this past weekend, a relative stopped by, and with seven words, changed my whole perspective about why I'm doing what I'm doing. Let me back up a little.

As I've written before, I was married to a man who could do most any kind of home repair from electrical, to carpentry, to plumbing. He never asked or encouraged me to help, so I never did. Never even thought to. My bad. Now, anything and everything that needs to be done is on me and I'm okay with that. Actually, I like doing it. And, unlike some of my ex's projects, everything I start, I finish...just saying. So after taking a few courses and watching more than a few how-to videos, I've gotten to the point where I feel confident in my weekend endeavors. As a matter of fact, last week I took down a half-wall that really had no purpose other than to divide the kitchen and dining room. As a big believer in "open concept", it became apparent that this wall had to go.

But this past Sunday, my uncle, who is an independent home repair contractor, stopped by. My mother, who died when I was only nine, was Uncle Andy's older sister. Sadly, since her passing almost 50 years ago, I loose more memories of her with each year that goes by now. I can't recall the sound of her voice or any of the details that I use to. I know that she loved to decorate for every holiday and that is a tradition I carry on. And until Uncle Andy stopped by, it's most of what I knew about her...or at least remembered.

Waiting for the floor guy to finish my new functional area!
As my uncle walked around the demolished wall, I asked for some advice in mitering the floor trim to cover the piece I removed. He checked out my attempt at patching the support wall left exposed by the portion that came down. He showed me a better way of doing what I was doing, but stood smiling, otherwise seemingly impressed. "You are so much like your mother," he offered still shaking his head. I was stunned. "In what way?" I eagerly asked. "You probably don't remember when she was young and healthy," he was right. Sadly, most memories are of my Mom lying in bed moaning as cancer ate its way through her 39-year-young body. "Well, let me tell you, she was a pistol when it came to repair projects", he continued.  "Your father never knew what he was coming home to.There was nothing she wouldn't take on. Just like you."

Really? This was a revelation to me! This was a game changer! All this time, I thought divorce and the fear of being idol, and not wanting to spend weekends on the couch, had turned me into a rehaboholic. But as it turns out, it was my suppressed DNA coming through! I thought I had found some magical inner strength, but it was my Mom, cheerleading me through every doubt, every screw, every nail, every notion I had to make my house, my home!

My uncle has been wonderful since this whole divorce thing. Although I try not to bother him, he is always just a phone call away when I get in a little over my head. But Sunday's drop-in did more for me then he'll ever know. As he started down the steps, he stopped and asked "what's your next project?" Having recently just purchased a miter box, I smiled and said "I really would like crown molding in the living room." He looked at me sternly and measured his words. "You...can'"

Don't worry Uncle Andy! I won't be alone!


  1. What a beautiful, inspiring story! Thank you for sharing.

  2. I truly love this post, Jo. I'm so happy that you've found this new part of you!! Looking forward to seeing the next project :)

  3. Thanks Patti! It seems we discover new things about ourselves even as we age!

  4. I think divorce is empowering... the things we learn... the things we discover!! I love this Jo and what a lovely tribute to your mother.

  5. Thanks Jess. You stumble through each day then suddenly someone says something that changes everything. Divorce is empowering!