Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Full of Grace - Repairing our House

On the 4th of July weekend we went to the lake and first thing I noticed was the picnic table was broken. The girls had just had their annual party weekend and I assumed the table got broken during a fierce game of beer pong.  Then I got out the Adirondack chairs and one fell apart in my hands. A bolt had been totally shorn off. When I turned it on its side to replace the bolt, one wooden  armrest split and flopped off. I put the chair in my chair to take home since it was now a job that needed rebuilt constructed parts. Finally, I went to put the hammock out and the frame was all crooked. The lag bolts had been bent, almost to right angles. I was going to ask the girls about what had happened but decided I probably didn’t want to know.

Some of you may remember a couple of years ago when Martha’s boat died, and then the trailer broke trying to tow it home. Well, she actually paid a lot of money to have it fixed, put it in the water last year, and never got it to start. At the end of the year she took it out of the water and put it back in the camp garage. But I told her it could not stay there and to tow it home and either get it fixed enough to sell it, or take it straight to the dump. Unfortunately, the pneumatic jack that lifts the motor also broke. It took a few friends and a couple of hours to lift the engine enough to tow it home. “I hate this effing boat” may have escaped my lips. It may have escaped my lips quite a few times.

We got home only to notice that there was a large pool of water on the garage floor. It hadn’t rained in weeks so we were puzzled. After moving a load of crap in our hunt, we eventually traced the flooding to a broken water line in the back of the refrigerator. We turned the water off, pulled the frig out (which now blocked most access in the kitchen) and realized we needed parts.  But it was still the holiday so that would have to wait to the next day.

I had thought our well ran dry because we had no rain for weeks but Martha discovered it was a broken switch. (We are on public water but use the well for watering the lawn and plants) She said she would fix it on Tuesday but that I had to move the table where I do my winter seedlings.  So dressed and ready to leave for a meeting I had in 10 minutes I went to move the table, hit the well pipes with a table leg which caused a geyser in the basement and totally drenched me. I apologized that I had to leave, quickly changed my clothes, dried my hair, and ran to work while Martha sucked up all the water. When I returned four hours later, she said she had cleaned up the mess and replaced the pipe and was about to turn the water back on. But when she did, something else broke and we once again had a flood and she was dripping wet. Much cursing was heard. Rinse and repeat.

On Wednesday she went to take the boat into the repair shop only to find the trailers lights weren’t working and the problem was with the hitch on my car. I brought that into our mechanic who told me it was an U-Haul hitch and I should bring it there. But U-Haul couldn’t look at it until the next day.  Of course.  So I followed her boat over to that shop, (about 30 minutes) only to be told that they had no room and to come back. Home again, home again, muttering all the way.

We dropped the boat in the front yard and put the cars in the garage but when I went out again to walk the dog the garage door got stuck midway up. It would not go up further and it would not come down which left both cars hostage inside. Martha tried to manually move it and pulled so hard the handle came off in her hand.  Finally called a repairman, who couldn’t come until the next day. Of course.

We decided we both needed to take a break and went to sit out by the pool only to find out the filter was leaking. At least that explained why we had been losing so much water.  At this point we were starting to think we had some "everything is falling apart" curse on us but it only made us more determined conquer anything that came our way. Bring It. Fortunately that was an easy repair.

The next day we went to take the boat, again, but as we were pulling out, the piece of wood that had wedged the engine up fell out and the propeller was dragging on the street sending out sparks. That took another couple of hours of struggle to work out, and we finally got the boat safely transported.

But as we were sitting, extremely tired but proud that we powered through it, our nation’s strained racial seams began to split wide open. And so, since this is usually the day I post what I am grateful for during the week (and it has been a tough week to feel much gratitude) I will center on this:

  • That we have the talent and tools to repair most of what breaks.
  • That when needed, we have the financial luxury of hiring experts to help us.
  • That to date, everything has been taken care of - including the boat which she will finally sell to somebody for parts.  I hope.

And I am most especially grateful:

  • That Martha retired from being a police officer years ago. I would not want to live with the worry and strain of watching her go out the door every day in today’s climate.
  • That I don’t have a black son, because I can't imagine the worry and strain of a mother watching her son go out the door every day in today’s climate.

A lot of things are broken in our nation, but I have to believe they can be fixed. Everybody has something they can help with. We have the talent and the tools. We will power through this. That is my prayer.


  1. AnonymousJuly 12, 2016

    wow - that is a lot of "stuff" but you are right to put it all into perspective... we have decided to start going room by room to declutter and purge - but it is time to take care of the outside again already... the lists never end...

    i agree with you that it can be fixed - it needs to be fixed...

    1. And we have two houses to take care of. It really never, ever ends. But I suppose it keeps us out of trouble : )

  2. I join you in that prayer, 8, most fervently. If only there were more lesbian do-it-yourselfers in charge of this world!

    1. I agree - the world would be a much better place if lesbians were in charge - but just think of all the drama : )

  3. Come on nation! We can do this!

    1. Yes we can!

      And we must, before the rot reaches our foundations.

  4. It makes me so sad - what are we coming to with this rise in racism, misogyny and xeonophobia? It scares me.

  5. it's so nice to be here right now. i've been very absent all the way around. all these misfortunes and you appreciate your talents and tools. i can't even tell you how much i respect that.

    the country is a flecking mess. i'm not hopeless but i feel a bit more than clueless.
    this is where our collective talents and tools have to weigh in.

    love love, 8