It seems like a person, say a mother like me, should not have to remind her sons that the toilet in the garage is off limits. To my knowledge, this scenario has yet to appear in any parenting books, and I'm here to say it first, "Toilets in the garage are to be discouraged from playing with, using, or taking pictures of for all your friends on Snap Chat " and so on…
Why would decent folks like us keep a toilet in the garage taking up good parking space I could be using for my minivan? Well, I'm glad you asked.
About three years ago, Billy and I decided we needed hard wood floors. We had it priced and after picking our chins up off the floor we decided that "need" was not actually reality. It was more a desire, and one we could live without. Fast forward to this past spring…Our carpet has 3 more years of stains, discoloration, wear and tear, and not surprising, an odor. New floors became less of just a desire, and more of a necessity.
We had a few guys come and bid (that's what fancy people do) on it, and in the end we went with the original guy, our neighbor Ed who owns Masterpiece Flooring. I had no idea what a process new floors would be, and how much work it involved, but holy cow, it's nothing like the lady in the commercial who is putting them in while wearing heels.
A week before Ed got busy Billy and I began to get the house ready. I had NO idea how much we had to do, until we started clearing things out. And ripping up old flooring, And moving furniture to every extra spare inch in our house. And taking apart a kitchen, where I cook for 6 people on a daily basis. And removing a toilet and sink from a working bathroom, to now just an empty little useless room with a pink cup in the hole on the floor to "keep the gases from coming up" (thanks Rog). We prepped the house with the help our good friend Josh and family from Wyoming. They all pitched in, because as you know, it takes a village to help us idiots. We could not have even begun to do this without help—from start to finish, and not only did our friends bless us with their help, our kids pitched in and worked like never before.
We've made quite a few memories during this whole process…One night I thought the neighbors would call the cops on us, with the 3 big kids, hammers in hand, banging on the old flooring and backer board the night before Ed was laying that room down. I'm not sure how many meals we ate out on the deck, but it was either freezing out there or eat on a blanket in the dust and dirt of the house. We'd send the kids out to the garage before a meal to gather supplies from the fridge (not RIGHT next to the toilet mind you) and they'd all go out about a zillion times to get everything we needed. We had nowhere to sit comfortably, but homework still had to be done in the 3X3 space up in the extra bedroom. More than once I'd see Billy up there crouched up in a ball helping the kids do their homework or trying to get the printer to work in her new surroundings.
About two days into the process I decided there was no better time than now to paint almost the entire inside of my house. My sister Laura and her best friend Laura (of Ladeda Design Company) came to my aid, and within 7 hours, the job was almost done. Those girls can W-O-R-K! At one point, the 200 lb ladder fell on me, and once we realized I wasn't dead, we laughed until we cried. And then we laughed some more. And then I tooted. Don't judge me. I had a 200 lb. ladder pressing on my gut.
Three weeks of craziness, yet new memories, and even proud moments as I saw my family come together during what could have been a really stressful time. Can you believe that yesterday when I finally began to tackle the huge pile of mounting laundry, my washing machine broke? Billy and Josh tried to work their magic on the old girl, but she wasn't about to budge. Off to Home Depot for the gazillionth time, but thankful for a low-end no frills machine that will get the job done!
The bills are adding up and the floors look beautiful. My walls are clean and fresh, and my children have somewhere to sit. Billy and I feel completely blessed. Not only are we healthy, able-bodied people, but we have been able to improve our home. You don't have to look very far to know what you have and what others lack. Good health. Safety. A community of love. I was reminded of what matters most to me yesterday, as my family and I went to church before coming home to put our house in order.
Once in the doors, I hugged sweet Kathy's neck so many times I ended up smelling like her perfume all day. During church, I sat by Gary and Judee and listened to them sing the old hymn about Grace until I almost bawled. I loved seeing 13 year old A.J. harmonizing up front, with joy in her heart as she sang to the Lord. I sat with Faith on my left as we listened to the Word, which never returns void to a heart that is open, thank the Lord. Before we left, my dear friends prayed together as we held hands and cried for the heart of a wandering soul. All of these exchanges blessed me far more than any new floor could ever do. My heart is full of gratitude for a community that loves each other, and loves the world around them. They exemplify true servanthood and compassion, the kind of values our world needs. So we are grateful for floors, and for the feet that will walk them. We are grateful for clean walls, and the folks that will come and tell their story within them. We are grateful for a kitchen, for the food we will share as we laugh and listen, and walk the road of life. We are grateful for Love, for it never fails.