Saturday, June 28, 2008

Marathon Makeover!

Three weeks ago I loaded up the kiddos and met my sister, K, at my Mom’s house for a seventy-two hour home makeover. We should’ve been on some tv show – as we accomplished much in record time, ESPECIALLY with two small children in tow! Mom hasn’t changed anything in her bedroom since my dad left…needless to say…it was time. The trip was bitter sweet. First we went shopping for a new bed. We found a gorgeous sleigh bed, slept on the decision, and went back to purchase it the next morning. We found new linens for the bed, new bamboo shades for the windows, picked up fabric samples for drapes and recovering a chair, picked and purchased wall and trim paint. We cleaned out most of Mom’s closet, emptied and cleaned out her chest and dresser, cleaned out under the bed, all the while K made an itemized list of Mom’s many contributions to charity! I have to mention that during this clean out, purge, and organize process, we laughed until tears ran down our cheeks. You wouldn’t believe some of the things Mom has held onto…such as the stitches she had taken out when she was in the fifth grade! Hee hee!!! Or that “really stylish AU shirt!” After everything was cleaned out, purged, and sorted, we ripped the linens off the bed, and hauled them and all the furniture from her room to a pile for charity, except her desk. It was time for something new! We took down the curtains in the bedroom and the window treatment and shower curtain from the bathroom, all were placed in the “out” pile. And then we began spackling. We worked late into the night, or perhaps I should say early into the morning. We had to “make hay while the children were sleeping.” We got two coats of paint on the walls and one coat on the trim. We primed the bathroom. We hung the bamboo shades…which is a post in and of itself as it took us, like, two hours. My youngest sister A brought up her “girls tool kit” she received as a graduation gift. She pulls out this little drill – we were like, “oh wonderful!” So K and I struggle to hold the new shades up and measure and get the marks all right…pretty much this is how it went – and sisters, correct me if I’m wrong…

We measure and hold up the shades, fiddle with the mounting hardware, finally agree we’ve figured out the best way to hang them and the measurements – it all fits perfectly. What a dream! So we use a pencil and make our marks. We put the blinds down and begin the process of screwing in the mounting hardware, only we have trouble doing this because we keep giggling. Finally we’d get things under control and then we’d get the giggles AGAIN! We try to screw in the hardware by hand – too hard. Thank goodness for that little drill of A’s! So we position the screw in the right spot and get A’s drill and begin drilling – how do you describe the sound a mini drill makes as it dies trying to screw a screw into the window frame? I’m not sure…it was like…whirrrrrrrllllllleeeeaaaouiiiiiiiiioooouuuuuuuuu…maybe. At this point I remember that T (who had arrived that evening) had brought his drill - a big ‘ol cordless. Hot dog! So K holds the screw in place and I just about screwed her fingers in along with the screw, as I underestimated how powerful that drill was! Yikes! After many more fits of giggles, and dropping each screw at least five times before we could get it in place, and many more giggles (oh, wait, get the picture, Mom is in bed, with her head at the foot of the bed laughing hysterically, and A is sitting at the head of the bed, while K and I (in our heels – K, you were wearing heels, right? I know I was, I couldn’t have reached that high without them…) were trying to screw the hardware into the window frame). It literally took us about forty-five minutes to put in eight screws…in the end, K had drilled the heads off two screws and I had stripped at least one, I think two. That hardware was in there for good! So we go to mount the blinds…it’s going to be a PERFECT fit! Man! We are SO GOOD! Who does that the first time ever??? Um….wait…the right side is in perfectly, but the left side won’t go…and thus began the process of hammering the darn thing in. Oh yes, we were out of room, couldn’t get the hardware off the window…so we took to hammering. K had the brilliant idea to employ a piece of scrap wood to use to tap the end of the blinds in without damaging them. We banged and pushed and prodded…finally we gave up, realizing the darn thing wasn’t going to give us the eighth of an inch we so badly needed. Did I mention in the process we broke part of the sliding mechanism on the window frame? Oh great…good thing Mom’s getting new windows soon! With the help of the drill and pliers, we removed the hardware piece from the right side, leaving at least one screw in the window frame permanently, and hung the blinds using the hardware on the left side and we used a giant screw on the right side and just screwed the blinds in. They were up and we were pretty convinced they’d never come down! On to the next window! I’ll spare you the details of how we got that one up, suffice it to say we were very thorough in making certain we measured everything correctly. Again, we were wrong. So we removed the hardware from the left side, again, we screwed the head off at least one screw on this side (I mean, how do you even do that?) and we stripped a screw or two. We had to use pliers and the drill…and we used another giant screw to screw in the hardware-less side…ahhh…the satisfaction of a job done! (Though not as well as we’d hoped…) The next morning I led T in to see our handy work. I was quite proud, as my goal had been to hang them so I didn’t have to ask him to…he took one look, smiled at me and gently told me he needed to take them down and hang them properly. Forty-five minutes later, they were re-hung, properly! Oh well…it sure was fun trying!

Aside from the bedroom/bathroom re-do, we also went with Mom to purchase a hutch for the kitchen. She has dreamed of and searched for the perfect hutch for years. Always, I remember Mama hunting for that perfect piece! Finally! She had found it and had spent weeks debating on whether or not to make the commitment. She did it. She made the purchase…so on the day we were all heading out, T and Mom went to pick up the hutch. It took T, who is a big, strong guy, plus two other large, strong guys, and my Mom, to load that piece of furniture into the back of his truck. I am proud to say that T, Mom, K, and I unloaded that thing and carried it into the house and got it set up! A kept my little ones away so we could move it. It’s a beautiful, huge piece! It is also a very HEAVY piece! I have bruises on both arms and legs from carrying it! And it was well worth it!

Did I mention that in the process of doing all this at Mom’s, we also planned MW’s fourth birthday party? We made her guest list, picked out invitations, addressed, and mailed them and shopped for plates, napkins, and party favors?

We also enjoyed part of a night off from our makeover marathon to take a painting class! Fun, fun, fun! Mom brought along pimento cheese and crackers and wine and we had the best time snacking and sipping before class began...and then the intensity and hilariousness that came with trying to copy an see the picture! The instructor promised not to let anyone leave with a "jacked up painting." I don't know what she was talking about because some people left with some SERIOUSLY messed up paintings! All in all, I think it left all of us in fits of giggles. Giggles at our own attempts and giggles at other's attempts combined with the instructor lying through her teeth as she complimented different canvases, "oh that looks great. Uh-huh. Yep. Perfect. You've got talent!" I mean really, a bow isn't literally two triangles and a circle in the middle...come on! There was great potential to listen to her comments and leave feeling you've got major promise as a portrait painter. Hee, hee. Don't get me wrong - it was a blast. It was hilarious. It was tons of fun. Mom, thank you for such a fun night. I'd do it again in a heartbeat! And for the record, MW thinks my painting is just fabulous, a master piece! She is adamant that I hang it in her room!

So we left Mom with a wreck! But…she had newly painted walls and trim in her bedroom, new window shades, a new toilet seat! Yahoo!!! Do you know how much a new toilet seat changes things? New linens for her new sleigh bed (which wasn’t delivered until the day after we left), and a plan for what pieces she needs to be keeping an eye open for, as well as that fabulous new hutch in the kitchen! The bathroom walls primed and ready for their first coat, and the first coat on her bathroom cabinet! Wow! All in three days with a 14 month old and a three year old! Amazing! And so much fun! I loved to see that give away pile grow! And I’m so happy for Mom to have new surfaces! Oh how she desperately needed that! We all did. I think those changes are just one more step toward healing or maybe toward the new “normal”…I’m not sure, but I know I smile when I imagine Mom curled up in her new sleigh bed beneath her crisp white linens with a good book! Ahh…so refreshing. I have to add, that our time together had been bathed in prayer – prayer asking God for wisdom and for provision – that He would guide us to what we needed and that He would help us to be wise with what Mom had set aside for that project, that we would be sensitive and know what to say and when to say it…and He answered our prayers! God is good. He is very good. And, He cares about the details of our lives…even the little ones! Thank You, Father!

And somehow, I FORGOT to take the "after" pictures! Oh well, Mom, as you become more savvy with your digital camera, would you please email me some after shots?

Mom, call me when you’re ready for the next room!

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