Hello hello

We have family in town and I am busy cooking, cleaning and socializing.

Two little girl cousins are begging me to turn off the computer as they are having a big girl sleep over in the office/guest room.

Be back soon.

Love Love Love

As the family was eating dinner tonight music was playing in another room. I love it when a song pierces your heart and you are pulled through a series of thoughts and feelings so quickly to find yourself at the end weeping or laughing. This happened to me tonight. A song played, I thought of my brother then my other siblings and began to cry. Though I was silent, both my girls (7 and 2) noticed immediately. “What’s wrong Mama?” “Wus wong? You sad?” “You thinking about Grandpa?” (My father died two years ago.) Paul, well accustomed to this, said, “It’s OK, Mama is thinking of something that made her cry.”

I managed to say, “I was thinking about Uncle Nathan and Aunt Torey and Uncle Tanner and I missed them.”

“I miss um too.” My two year old replied.

Everyone went back to eating and I continued to think. I don’t know how to say this without being maudlin. Here it is – I was just grateful to have these tears, to be able to be touched by music. I knew it was the price I pay for being alive and having a heart filled with love.

Someone once told me she had always looked at my family when we were growing up and thought our life together was perfect. It wasn’t, of course, and in some ways it was very broken, but I did say this, “Anything you envied me of my brothers and sister was correct, that was real and wonderful and true.”

Now there too we have all thrown down in a variety of situations but without qualification I love these people so powerfully and am so grateful I get to be a voice in this four part harmony.

I have wanted to articulate that for some time but got stuck on the mechanics, “Do I write a letter to all of them? Should I type it and make copies? That doesn’t seem very personal and besides I don’t have a printer. I should probably hand write it…” and then another year passed.

I love you Tanner.

I love you Nathan.

I love you Torey.

Alison

P.S. NCW you had me with tears in my eyes twice today – once as indicated above and twice absolutely howling with laughter with Paul about G B. You dork. Keep writing.

My Floor Guy 2

So Paul said, “I’ll call Dan and we’ll check it out.”

Now I need to interject something about our marriage. If couples could be divided into only two categories, the categories being: “the fighter” and “the passive one”, let’s just say it would not be me wearing the passive crown, especially when it came to home improvement. I would assess our fiscal constraints, determine my vision for the area to be improved and then scheme how to reconcile the two. Paul just didn’t seem to care. Most things just seemed like too much hassle and expense.

As well, Paul always seemed to be at work or away on business whenever anything in our home broke down. I was the one who stood clutching our checkbook and who swooned when hats came off and heads were scratched and dire things were said like, “Well I tried to save it but you’re gonna need a new…” BLACKOUT “…I think it will be around…” BLACKOUT -insert any enormous sum of money “…but that’s only cause I’m giving you the family discount.” To repeatedly hear evil things like that throughout the years takes a toll on a girl, especially if she was a bit twitchy to start.

All that to say when Paul assured me he and my other floor guy would take care of it I didn’t feel entirely assured.

I should tell you more about the floor. It was concrete that was covered with 50 year old linoleum tiles. I guess covered isn’t accurate since in many places the tiles had broken and were patched together with cement. It all was caked with plaster and drywall dust. Laminate was the only thing that we could just lay over the mess without a ton of prep. Even inexpensive linoleum would have needed a lot of expensive prep work. And laminate was also the only thing we could do ourselves.

Paul had a meeting at church the one night Dan was able to come over. He got down on his hands and knees and dragged a level over every square foot of the kitchen. He was encouraging from the get go. “This looks good…oh there’s a little dip but we can fill that in with a bit of self- leveling compound…that’s great…Alison you’re fine.” I was starting to relax when he reached the last corner, “Oh My!” And then the level broke.

OK, it didn’t break, but it jumped and if it had had a nose it would have started bleeding. Dan started saying all sorts of terrible things that I would rather not repeat. He sounded just like the contractor. And then Paul came home.

He took the news calmly, got down and checked things out for himself. I was pulling a Lady MacBeth. Not by running around yelling, “The blood! The blood!” but by pacing and wringing my hands. Paul, wisely, ignored me. After assessing everything and talking with Dan he decided to put down some levelling compound and see how far that got us.

That night I rehashed what Tom, the contractor, said, what Jon, the carpenter, said, what Dan said, what the UPS guy who hadn’t even seen the floor said…then Paul, my husband, said, “Babe I am going to take care of it.” And I knew he wasn’t just saying something to pacify me. I believed him and let go of the burden.

It’s silly really, it was just a floor but it opened up an opportunity for something in our marriage to shift. We have sailed through many difficult things together but it was the little things that would undo us.

As I write I can hear him working on the floor in our main bath. This was the same floor that Dave, the tile man said would need a ton of prep work and I shouldn’t even bother putting tile in if I wasn’t ready to take the tub out now, because when I do need to take out the tub it will ruin the tile. Paul, my husband, said he would take care of it. He is.

My floor guy

Sorrow Sorrow Sorrow.

Was happily blogging away for the very first time, got to a nice transition, went to save and lost part of my post. Oh the humanity. What follows it what remains. I will keep going tonight or tomorrow.

We recently had our kitchen remodelled. It started with wanting carpet (yes in the kitchen!) replaced with laminate, a dishwasher installed and the removal of a wall and ended with us tearing everything out down to the studs. Per a friend’s recommendation we found a great contractor who helped us get the most for our dollar and who did wonderful work as well as lined up contractors who came when they were scheduled and did great work too. The whole job was done in less than three weeks…except for the floors. A friend of ours had recently helped his brother put a laminate floor in his house and offered to help us too. We decided to do it ourselves.

Now, we painted, and um, cleaned, oh and I gardened a lot and my husband mowed. We changed lightbulbs too, but that is about all we did, in regards to our home, ourselves. Our friend, Dan, assured us it was a snap and so cheap too. This was a relief as roughly every floor in our home was screaming to be replaced. Our plan had been to pay to have the kitchen and dining room floors done professionally but that was before we knew the whole kitchen was going to be redone. Dan’s suggestion and offer of help seemed like the perfect solution until the carpenter and contractor started putting in our cabinets. That was when my floor guy was first mentioned.

Picture a contractor, a very proficient one, shaking his head, a dazed expression on his face – sweating. It is January. In addition to having crappy floors, my money pit, I’m sorry, home is never warm. “Your guy is going is going to have a sweet time with that floor.” Now I knew I had two guys, one was sitting in an office and the other one was practicing trombone for a symphony. Combined they didn’t make a floor guy.

“What do you mean?” trembly voice. I don’t really remember what he said but basically my floor drops about ten feet in a one foot area. You could get a nose bleed walking across my kitchen. It wasn’t very nice, even if I could, I wouldn’t repeat it.

I called one of my floor guys at work, the one I sleep with, “…and Tom said it goes down…and we’re gonna…and he wouldn’t….and…” My voice trailed off into a squeal that only dogs could hear. Paul interrupted, “I’ll talk to