As we gather around the table this year to celebrate our blessings with my extended family, I look back fondly on one particular Thanksgivings that was….um…a bit more humble than that which we are currently enjoying here at the Barbie Mansion.
Thanksgiving 2004. Hugh, the kids and I are on our own as both sets of our parents are fulfilling obligations at the homes of our siblings. Our own home is in a state of chaos and disarray thanks to The Remodeling Project from Hell, which has been going on since 2002.
Our kitchen, such as it is, is in no shape to handle a traditionally cooked meal so; we have opted for the Thanksgiving Feast in a Box, offered by our local supermarket chain. The turkey is dry, the mashed potatoes are instant and the store has forgotten to include our pumpkin pie. But, we are together and, with just a little bit of effort, we can see the potential in our home.
There was not a lot on the market at the time, at least not in our price range and, the house was in a good location, close to the hardware store and the schools so; we considered it a “fixer-upper” and signed on the dotted line.
After some tender-loving care and a little landscaping, the house looked like this.
And, we made do with the tiny kitchen, tiny bedrooms and non-existent living room for a couple more years before starting the Remodel from Hell.
During the remodel, we lived in rooms that looked like this:
And, while I suppose there is something to be said for walls you can see through; it was still a bit taxing on the nerves. The children, however, delighted in the project and, why wouldn’t they? When their friends came over, they got to throw hammers through walls. They got to graffiti the floors, walls, and ceilings without fear of punishment. They got to sleep on mattresses on the floor and, depending on which room we were working on at the time; those mattresses moved all over the house.
Hugh always made sure that I always had my own bed to sleep in; granted, we moved it five separate times but, I never slept on a mattress on the floor. And, I tried vainly to retain some sense of normalcy in our daily lives, destroying two vacuum cleaners in the process but! I had a semi-livable space to occupy most of the time. You know, as long as you didn't look up.
The outside of the house was no picnic to look at, eitherbut, amazingly, our neighbors still talk to us.
And, ultimately, we got this:
I cannot express how thankful I am for it every day of my life. Not to mention my gratitude for the man who built it all with his bare hands. It may have taken three years to accomplish but, we didn’t go into debt to do it and our marriage survived, no thrived, during the process. When you take all that into consideration, one Thanksgiving dinner eaten in a dining room consisting of walls that have been torn down to the studs just doesn’t seem all that tragic.
I am still a little pissed about the pie, though.