"The Fruit of Our Labor"

The-Fruit-of-Our-LaborI truly live a charmed life! No really, I must! Take this Presidents Day Weekend for instance, can you believe I had the incredibly, good fortune(sic) of spending nearly the entire holiday weekend, as well as today, working on our back bathroom make-over. I started on it nearly two weeks ago and have definitely clocked far too many hours on this project for any sane retired person. Ain’t retirement grand? Yeah, just call me Mr. Lucky.

Like most do-it-yourself projects ours began as a much needed and long overdue venture that  I was truly looking forward to starting. Anytime I get the chance to use my Sawzall Reciprocating Saw or Dremel is a cause for celebration. I mean what could possibly be more alluring than the prospect of gutting a bathroom? Taking a Reciprocating Saw to a fiberglass shower enclosure is really quite a kick. So is ripping out the sink and vanity.  There is nothing quite like taking a small sledge hammer and knocking down a non-bearing wall.  Yeah I really enjoy the demolition work. That’s where the fun ends and the drudgery begins.

Unfortunately what comes down, has to be cleaned up. Hauling out large pieces of the shower along broken pieces of drywall, lumber, insulation and the like is a pain. And drywall dust is the worst it goes everywhere and makes one hell of a mess! But once all the debris is removed and the bathroom is empty the real work begins. In our case I began stage 2 by making another mess. I had to cut out a section of low ceiling over the shower, and replace a window which meant even more drywall and lumber debris.

After again clearing the bathroom I scrape old linoleum, while my son John rerouted the hot and cold copper water pipes as well as the shower head. The next step was building the new wall and door which now extends 2 feet into our bedroom, making the bathroom about 14 sq ft larger. I know that doesn’t sound like much but believe me, in our little bathroom every square inch makes a difference. I’m currently in the process of installing new plugs, switches, canned lighting and rerouting some of the electrical. Once I’ve finished that we can have our drywall guy come in and finish the walls and our tile guy come in and tile the shower.  That’s right, we have a drywall and tile guy coming in. there’s no way in hell I’m going to try and tile the floor and shower or finish drywall. I know my limitations. Actually I have tiled before and it came out okay, but I really didn’t enjoy doing it. Besides it would take me forever.

I tell you this whole DIY remodel thing is extremely time consuming not to mention a hell of a lot of work. I don’t recall the 600 sq ft addition we did being this difficult. This small job seems to be going so much slower. Of course I sub contracted out many of the big jobs that I couldn’t do myself but I still did plenty of grunt work. I was working full time then and didn’t have as much time as I do now. Then there’s the fact that I was 24 years younger then and running around hammering, carrying lumber or climbing ladders at a 39 year old’s clip is quite different than the 63 year old pace I employ today. It’s a wee bit slower, but not by much. Yeah right!

Sure at the end of the day I’m dirty, sweaty and my fingers and back ache a bit, but I’m doing it and for that I’m extremely grateful. Sometimes as I’m working I think of my cousin Dave, with his Parkinson’s he is unable to do anything laborious. Even the gentlest of task are difficult and exhausting. I know he wishes he could work and has often told me so. He sometimes feels so damn useless. Yes I often think of Dave as I work. I pray for him to get better, to recover enough so that he can feel worthwhile again. To us he will always be worthwhile, but what matters is how he feels about himself.

I often think of Dave and wonder, why him not me? I mean it could just as easily have been me afflicted with this debilitating illness. But I know God has a Divine Plan for each of us. We all have a part to play in the grand scheme of things, we all have our purpose. So I work in Dave’s stead. I work because I am able to, because God allows me to. Tonight after I showered I grabbed a beer and sat just outside my project, looking in on it, imagining what it will look like when completed. But mostly I was looking at my work in progress, looking at what God has allowed me to accomplish so far, the work of my my hands. (with the assistance of a few power tools) The fruit of my labor. Funny, but that thought seemed to make my aches and pains feel a bit better if only for a moment. Funnier still was the thought I had as I got up to head back to the family room. I was looking at the studs in the new wall I put up and shook grabbed a stud and shook it to test its sturdiness. It felt firm and just like that I thought “Jesus was a carpenter.”   Not sure where that came from but it was timely…

Just Saying…

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