Day 30: Matthias!!!

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This was the plan all along, to save the best for last. There were many days during this project that Matt would say, “So you still haven’t written about me yet” and it was all I could do to not yell out, “Look, I’m saving you until the end so I can bow out with a bang!!!” Here’s my bang!

I love him deeply. Matt told me he loved me over five years ago and I can’t imagine being with anyone else. Sometimes I love him painfully like when we’re watching a movie where the couple looses the other to illness or an accident. I picture my life without Matt and I lose it every time. I shouldn’t even think about it but if I lost him I honestly don’t know what I would do. He’s my family and I love him desperately.

Marriage is interesting because it’s both amazingly divine and unbelievably annoying and exasperating. One minute they are the most attractive, funny and desiring person you’ve ever known, the one you want to spend ALL of your time with. The next minute you could be asking yourself if there is a secluded cabin that you can escape to for about a week just to stare at your OWN mess or not have to kiss a prickly, unshaven face.

This past week Matt has helped out around the house and with the kids in ways that I’ve really needed him to since I’ve been in a lot of pain (tooth issues) and it’s reminded me of how involved he is in our marriage. Some husbands check out when the wife needs them the most.  He adds a strength and a beauty to my life that would never have been here if I had stayed single or married another.

When Matt and I started to like each other I had noticed a lot of mature changes in his life  which made him more interesting and attractive to me. After we started dating I told him that I had seen so much growth and goodness in him lately and he said, “You know why? Because I knew that I liked you but you’d never even consider me if I didn’t get somethings in my life sorted through”. To which I thought, “Good answer, brutha! You’re going to make a damn fine man for me!”

I can see the tender father and the giving spirit of Claude and the compassion and dry humor of Francine in their firstborn. This is what they’ve created: a loving, tender and compassionate father and husband who drops the stupidest puns you’ve ever heard into daily conversation, then laughing at his own jokes.

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He engages with our kids as they are growing little humans. He plays with them and puts down what he’s doing to throw or toss them and make them giggle. He comes home and the house is alive again. The kids yell, “PAPA!!!” and overwhelm him with sound and touch; squealing and pushing to be the first to be held.

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He’s never slept on the couch because he’s never needed to. Every argument, even the bad ones, end with calm after the storm. He’ll always walk away and think about what was said rather than dig his heel in the ground in order to remain  unmoved …that’s my job! He’s the man of peace in this house and the steady form that I need as I stress about all of the little details of life.  He gives me peace and the gift of touch, one that I take for granted. I don’t feel that I ‘need’ to be touched or loved but when it wasn’t a part of my life I longed for it so much that I would sometimes cry. Now touching and gentleness is mine and I almost forget it’s there. Yet, I’m so thankful today that he’s that way. He’s the toucher and the giver. I’m the helper and the doer. Every morning our first encounter is a long and intentional hug. Usually I’m limp and unaffected until caffeine comes into contact with my bloodstream. But I notice it; I notice him. I notice that he lets me sleep in every morning as he wakes with our little, early risers. I notice the dishes, the trash, the kitty box, the times I go out alone to get refreshed, the little gifts, the emails and the phone call every day from work. I’m always watching and thinking, observing him as he plays with our kids or plays his new piano.

I’m watching, my love and I like who you are. You impress me!  Your art is beauty. What you have made is lovely and slick. Well done, babe. I’m celebrating you today because you are worth my posting.

Let’s have 50 more years together to love, annoy, tease and create a life together. I have saved the best for last!

Sincerely,

Your Lady

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Day 29: Home, sweet home!

There she is!

There she is!

We moved into this house three years ago seeing it as a fixer upper to be flipped and sold as a profit six months later. Three years later we are still here. The housing market took a turn recently and we are still trying to work on the finishing touches that we had hoped to have as an afterthought thus far. The first time I saw this house ( we pulled up with our Realtor friend as we were randomly driving past and saw it’s for sale sign) I said a silent prayer, “God, I really want this house” and I’d never even seen the inside. I likely wouldn’t have prayed that if I had. Well, that’s not totally true. Matt and I were looking for something to make shine and sparkle with our decorating niche so walking through this place and seeing the fake wood paneling on all the walls, trashed kitchen and bathroom, scuffed beyond recognition hard wood floors and missing dining room ceiling we said, “Perfect! We’ll take it!”

We’ve had both of our kids living in construction (Oliver more than Chloe. Most of the major stuff was finished by the time she was born) and we work on projects when they are napping and when the weather is warmer so we can open windows and ventilate. This process has slowed our efforts down to a tortoise like pace in which we have lamenting moments of beating our bosoms wondering why the ‘eff’ we bought said property. The hard part is not comparing your life to others and most of our friends have purchased homes. Their situations have all been different than ours though (parents co-signing, not having kids in home so as to actually get construction done, having an already finished home, or having money to remodel with). For the most part it has been Matt and I doing the work ourselves and we have redone nearly every inch of this house whether it’s been a new wall being put up, tiling or just a coat of paint. I should look at our efforts and be proud and feel we have rocked it like a hurricane but I confess I have my moments of wishing I was out of here and done with all of this. Last summer I was at my end and decided we’re selling it and moving in with friends to save money for a real down payment. Then I realized I can handle no more tsunami like transition in my life so here we stay.

Recently I have been having moments where I find myself with that safe and glorious feeling inside my belly as I sit inside my house with kids napping, windows open on a sunny day, sitting in the living room with a book and fresh coffee and I feel taken care of in here. It’s our place! We made it what it is (interior, front yard and back garden) and we’ve worked damn hard on it. I told Matt when people walk by or come over I want them to see a home that is cared for and loved not a place where stuff is thrown together or put up just to get it done. I want to create beauty in this place that was so ugly, abandoned and taken advantage of. The former owners put up everything slap-dash just to get it done and trashed the place when they left. They didn’t fix things that broke and never put an ounce of creativity into the aesthetics of the interior. I won’t even go into how unkempt the front and back gardens were. To this day I still uncover trash (nails, metal bits and plastics of many variations) when I garden in the back yard.

So here we are three years later, still working on a home with two kids in tow and a husband who works full time and a budget that constricts us from hiring workers or paying top dollar for materials. Yet our home is a home, not just a house! It is cared for; we brush out her ugly tangles and wash her dirty face when we gain momentum to return to her face lift once again. She, in turn, keeps us dry, warm and secure or she just allows us to be ourselves inside her walls and relax with friends or relax alone. We’ve washed, waxed, sanded, pasted and painted her so she doesn’t look ugly anymore. Now she shines to the neighbors because we have taken away her shame and finally she is cared for.

One day left….

living room before

living room before. You can't tell but the floors are so scratched.

Living room today. Never mind the clothes and toys on the floor

Living room today. Never mind the clothes and toys on the floor. All the walls and trim were redone

Second nastiest room of the house. Bathroom! Moldy bathtub and drop in walls. Tub likely used to mix meth.  Fake wood paneling on walls.

Second nastiest room of the house. Bathroom! Moldy bathtub and drop in walls. Tub likely used to mix meth. Fake wood paneling on walls.

Refinished tub. Painted, put in floor, new sink and potty and tiled shower.

Refinished tub. Painted, put in floor, new sink and potty and tiled shower.

The first nastiest room in the house, the kitchen. I can't believe people lived here. Fake walls, nasty sink, lame pantry, mice everywhere! Vinyl floor

The first nastiest room in the house, the kitchen. I can't believe people lived here. Fake walls, nasty sink, lame pantry, mice everywhere! Vinyl floor

New Everything

New Everything

Knocked out the wall to open up the space. Never mind the dishes!

Knocked out the wall to open up the space. Never mind the dishes!

Fake wood on the walls. No ceiling, scratched floors.

Fake wood on the walls. No ceiling, scratched floors.

New everything. Color, light and beauty

New everything. Color, light and beauty