This would not be my blog without a Beatles lyric, and this one is on my mind tonight in relation to my house… Since I have started writing this blog, I have been asked by many people if I ever stop working and told that just reading my blog makes people tired… On the flip side, doing a lot of home improvement projects brings up the topic of “making a home”.
Having these topics swirling around in my head has made me contemplate why I do the things I do. Yes, I do a good bit of work on projects around the house, and yes, we could hire someone to do the work we do ourselves. I will say that I sometimes get sick of painting the same thing for three weekends in a row (she said while grimacing out the window at the unfinished deck). So, assuming that I am not sick in the head, why do I do these things? I think that’s where “making a home” comes into play. You see, to me this work is only a little bit about making things pretty. I mean, sure it’s nice to have cool stuff to look at in your house, but, after living here for close to 14 years, I see so much more than cool stuff to look at…
I see a deep z-shaped scratch in the floor that we refinished long ago in the kitchen, and I think of the friend who attempted to help sand while having no clue how to use a sander, and I laugh. I think of talking to my Dad about how I wanted my fireplace to look and coming home each day to see his handiwork (Can you say best Christmas present ever?), and I appreciate the time he took to build it just the way I envisioned.
I look at my bedroom wall and think of the night I stayed up til 4 am painting it and singing 60’s music until I was delirious from the paint fumes. I see the art in my living room, and I remember how many years I went without painting, until one day I was inspired to rip off a painting I saw on an episode of “Dharma and Greg”, and I remember feeling my soul fill with life again as I sat in the bedroom floor and painted those simple shapes.
I remember painting rooms while singing with my Mom, figuring out and building my first ever chairs with my Dad, and putting in the floor downstairs with my husband while accidentally painting our dog. I certainly remember when I got up the guts to redo my kitchen completely on my own and how it felt to use power tools and manhandle giant pieces of lumber, and I am once again filled with the great feeling of accomplishment I had when I realized I was strong and capable of taking on big projects.
I could go on and on, but I will spare you at least some of my rambling. I guess what I am getting at is that the hours that I spend sweating, figuring, pondering, designing, and working on this house, building furniture, and making art give so much more back to me than I put into them… at least in the long run. Sure, I could get pretty stuff by paying someone, and I could make memories here in other ways. I have to say, though, that what makes this place a home to me is everything I and my loved ones have put into making it what it is and the beautiful memories and sense of empowerment that work has allowed me to be steeped in every day. This may be one of the sappiest statements anyone has ever written about a topic that includes power tools, but so be it. 🙂
Oh, and for those who wonder if I rest, you will find the same fingerprints on the remote that you’ll find on the sander. 🙂
(P.S. You may notice that I did not say anything in the above statement about making cake… If you are wondering why, it’s because making cake does little but create dishes… and, oh yeah… it makes you stark raving bananas! Like I always say, building a dining room table doesn’t take much longer than making a wedding cake, and no one eats the table. 😉 )