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Life — Too Strange to be True!

Life can sometimes be stranger than fiction. From September until the middle of November, we lived one of those life experiences.

In August, we bought a house with many attractions for our grandchildren. However, a few small improvements seemed in order. Soon, we heard ourselves saying, “Well if we mess up the living room by knocking down the popcorn ceiling, we may as well clean up all the downstairs ceilings.

Like baby rabbits, our improvement ideas multiplied. New flooring seemed like a good idea but before laying the floor, we certainly should paint the walls. In the meantime, we had to move out of our rental. At that time, our daughter Joy and her husband Jordy bought their own new house, which also needed remodeling. Joy asked, “Mom, could we live upstairs while Jordy remodels our house?” “Well, of course. No problem.” (Truthfully, having them with us turned out to be a great blessing.)

Joy and Jordy moved upstairs the first week of September. A week later, Chris and I joined them.

Beginning in September, we cooked and ate on the back porch. We decided that our new lifestyle deserved to be considered elegant camping! Not bad at all. When the weather got cold and wet, we huddle on the porch. On many occasions, including Halloween evening, our grandson, Lane, and his wife, Margie joined us. Most of the time, we had fun. Not only did I treasure being with Joy and Jordy, but I also enjoyed coffee with our contractor and workers in the mornings. However, as often happens when people engage in projects, we experienced occasional hiccups. Our original plan, to move our sleeper sofa into an upstairs bedroom was doomed for failure. As our grandson, Lane helped, he silently shook his head and mouthed “no way”. OK, that wasn’t too serious.

On another occasion, we arrived with a car full of groceries and found the entire floor covered with wet concrete. Like a child, Chris hop-scotched from one dry patch to another as he struggled to get the frozen and cold food put away. That night, we ordered pizza and forgot about cooking.

Preparing meals on the back porch continually provided its own adventures. When plastic handles melted in the grill, Chris got a third-degree burn on his hand. One evening, as Jordy and I attempted to cook dinner, we lost electric power for the induction hot plate, the steamer, and the microwave. That evening, we ate an almost hot meal.

For several weeks, we frequented a laundry mat where we met some very kind people. Progress on the house continued. However, when Home Depot shipped wood for our floors, the delivery arrived minus thirteen boxes. “Not a problem, let’s reorder the missing wood.” We waited. Day after day, we waited for wood that Home Depot claimed had arrived in Austin but remained hidden somewhere, somehow. “One of life’s mysteries.” That order never showed its lovely face. Who knows what happened? (Yes, we now have wood throughout the downstairs.)

Ace Hardware sent the wrong doors, which opened on the wrong side. We continue to wait for the correct doors to arrive. In the meantime, we have substitute doors with no doorknobs. Not too bad unless one yearns for privacy.

In the meantime, I continue to ask everyone in the house, “Have you seen a box labeled ‘Barbara’s winter shoes?” No one knows anything about such a box. Doesn’t that justify purchasing new boots?

Although not totally finished with remodeling, our pod arrived with the downstairs furniture. A day after Joy and Jordy moved into their new house, we moved downstairs. With mingled feelings of relief and a bit of sadness, our days of elegant camping came to an end. Chris, Joy, Jordy, and I shared a strange, dusty, cramped, and sometimes cold adventure. Now, we stride forward to the next adventure.


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