In my final two columns of the year, I traditionally share highlights from the past 12 months. Last week’s column featured lessons from the first half of 2017; today’s column revisits lessons 7-12:
I investigated a trend that was growing faster than corn in Kansas, all stemming from the pent-up desire for the woman of the house to get some space of her own. Dubbed “She sheds,” these small outbuildings were barely on the radar two years ago. Today, a Google search brings up millions of hits. I so get this. The Lesson: Few forces are stronger than a woman’s desire for her own space. Whether for gardening, making art, doing yoga or having a home office or sewing room, she sheds are proving their utility.
The house bug bit. I probably started it by throwing out some comment like, “I wish we had one of those big kitchens with a counter and barstools.” Rather than telling me to leave well enough alone, my husband, DC, added, “I’d like a yard for the dogs.” Our list grew, and soon the notion morphed from a spark to a blaze. Meanwhile, the price dropped on a Southern colonial in our neighborhood. DC saw it first, then said I’d better look. I did. Lesson: Be careful what you wish for because there is a good chance you will manifest it. Of this I am certain.
Hurricane Irma blew through the Sunshine State like a woman scorned. We stayed out of town for the brunt of it. The next day we came home to an intact house with power. I felt relief — and guilt. The news showed images of people not far from our place standing knee-deep in flood water or staring at the soaked mound of rubble that was once their home. Lesson: Gratitude. Disasters like Irma, Harvey and the California fires are reminders that force us to imagine losing everything — and make us more grateful for the roof over us, dry floors, electricity and the comfort of routine.
My life was consumed by wood flooring, as we installed new, replaced old and refinished existing — in two houses at once. At the new house, DC and I decided to put wood floors in the downstairs master to match the rest of the flooring on that level. Then I realized I really didn’t want to match the existing floor’s yellow-blond color, which led to refinishing them a mid-tone brown. (Ka-Ching.) This was on top of learning that the house we were selling had not, in fact, made it through Irma unscathed. We hadn’t noticed that water had gotten in and undermined the wood floors along one wall. Though the damage affected only a few square feet, three flooring companies told us we needed to replace the water-damaged wood and then sand and refinish the entire downstairs. Ouch! Lesson: The expenses involved in owning a house are unpredictable. Wood floors cost a lot to buy and install, but their character, versatility, longevity and ease of cleaning make them worth it.
I invited a complete stranger I had met at a paint store to follow me home. I was at the store getting sample colors for the new house, when the customer next to me asked if I had a painter. We’d tentatively lined up a company that couldn’t start right away. Well, this man’s crew was available the next day, and so I invited him to my home on the spot. Fortunately, Jerry White, owner of JW Painting, of Orlando, has a sterling reputation. Phew! Lesson: No matter how badly you want work done at your home, don’t let that urgency jeopardize your personal safety. There are better ways to pick a contractor.
I learned the secret to a better life. I had volunteered to host a party, knowing that I would have been in my new house for only two weeks. DC worried it would be too much. But I assured him: “I am not going to stress about it.” In that instant, I realized I just might have figured out the point of life: Less stress, more joy! If I wait for my house to be “done,” whatever that means, to host a party, I will never have a party. Lesson: Care less. Entertain more. You only get now once.
Happy New Year!
Contact Jameson via www.marnijameson.com.
Published at Mon, 25 Dec 2017 22:00:25 +0000