Saturday, April 21, 2018

Taking a toll

   A couple of weeks ago, a document was floating around the Mill site where I work. The document gave a comparison based on US statistics showing average age of retirement versus average age of death. The document showed that for every year worked after age 58 the average age of death accelerated by 3 years. After the last month, I believe it.
   It has been an unbelievably difficult month. It started several weeks ago as we began a bathroom remodel. Our home is 40 years old. Once upon a time it was a  rental house. After the previous owner’s husband passed away his widow decided to get out of the rental business. Her daughter and brother who is a general contractor polished the place up and put it on the market. Obviously, they used the cheapest material available. The house looked good but we have had to redo almost everything. Last year we considered selling and purchasing a new house. The problem with that however is that we love where we live. after much thought we made the decision to keep our home and make it exactly what we wanted. What are years ago, it would’ve been an easy task to undertake. Back then I had tons of energy. I’m starting to realize the older you get the more difficult it is to do it all. 
   Mandy deserves a new bathroom. She deserves the front porch with a swing. Our camper deserves it covered place to park it. Our snowmobiles deserve to be out of the weather. I can do most of the things that need to be done but quite frankly I’m getting tired. 

   This is what the bathroom looks like two days after making the decision to update it.

    This is what it looks like today. All that is left is to install new doors, trim, and to tile the shower surround around the tub. In regards to the bathroom I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It would’ve been done where it not for and event that started Sunday last.
   Sunday morning while drinking coffee and watching the news I noticed that every light in the house was flickering. Puzzled by what was occurring, l begin to troubleshoot. Starting at one end of the house, I work my way towards the garage and the breaker panel. Nothing seem to be out of place or overloaded but as I approach the breaker panel I heard a noise that sounded much like bacon frying. The conduit from the meter head to the breaker panel was hot to the touch. Thinking there was a problem with the meter I shut off all of the breakers and called the PUD. They arrived an hour later and shut off our power. There was nothing wrong with the meter. They told me however, power  would not be restored until repairs to our electrical system were completed. 5 days and a thousand dollars later, the lights are back on. Thank God I have good friends who are electricians or the financial burden would have been much higher. 
   I had to take Thursday off of work. The electrical inspector was coming and I needed to be there. I suppose I could’ve called in sick but it is difficult for me to lie. It is Saturday, April 21 and I am at work making up for the time I lost.
  The alarm startled me this morning. I was sleeping heavily. My face in the mirror looked haggard. I think I need a vacation.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April 4 2018

   Ten years ago today we moved into our home. It is also my late mother in law’s birthday. Mandy bought a bottle of wine to celebrate both tonight. She would have bought a bottle anyway as it is “Wine Wednesday” but tonight we have an extra reason for libations.  
    When Mandy and I met, we were poor. I was recovering from a 3 year life setback and Mandy was a single mom. Our credit was in the toilet. Mine was worse than hers. We lived in a dilapidated double wide trailer for our first two years together as we worked toward our goal of owning a home. Six months after our wedding “Highline Homes” told us we qualified to have a new home built. The market was tanking at the time and although our credit was better I was still nervous about qualifying for the loan. They told us we qualified however and convinced us to write a $1700 check. Three days later our loan was denied and they kept our money. Highline homes stole $1700 from us in my opinion. We were devastated. We were so poor that it felt as though we lost a million dollars. The Realtor we were working with convinced us to talk to a mortgage lender she had worked with. He was a terrific human being and pre-qualified is for a home loan in a matter of days. It was not a construction loan mind you. He stated “ I have been in this business for 40 years and there is no way in hell I could qualify you for a construction loan. Highline knew you didn’t qualify and simply wanted your money” This fueled my ire to no end but the money was gone and we were going to get a home of our own. Chalk it up to a learning experience.
   We looked at several houses before making an offer on our home. Once the offer was accepted and the process began, we would drive to the house 2-3 times a week to walk the neighborhood or sit on the deck. We bought furniture. We bought paint. We counted the days. It felt as though it would never happen but on April 4, we signed papers and took possession. It was the most amazing feeling in the world. 
   We have come so far in the last 10 years. Looking back it feels like a dream. We did very little that first year but after that we set about making our home a reflection of who we are as a couple. To date we have remodeled the kitchen and brought the laundry room in from the garage. We have tiled, painted, recarpeted, and remodeled both bathrooms. We are in the home stretch now. Only a few projects remain and they are in process. 
   We had only lived on the lake for a year before buying our first boat.! You cant live on a lake and not have a boat. We have upgraded twice since then. We won’t be upgrading again.
   It is strange to me that I had nothing 12 years ago. No money, no possessions of value, and from what my doctors said, no future. Today, I am married to the love of my life, relatively healthy, and have everything I ever wanted in life. I am a blessed man. 
   Tonight I will tip a glass of good red wine and remember and appreciate all we have been through and our many blessings. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Month 143

   Easter Sunday, April 1 I began month 143 of my journey. It’s hard to believe that almost 12 years has gone by since my diagnosis. Lately cancer has been an afterthought. Mandy and I rarely think about it at all. We go to work, We take care of our home, and we plan for the future. we talk of growing old together. Obviously, I will be much older than Amanda.
   For the last month we have been remodeling our home. Specifically, we have been remodeling Amanda‘s bathroom. Our home was built in 1979 and the bathroom fixtures are original equipment. I remodeled a home 20 years ago. It was a Huge undertaking at the time but I had energy to spare. I’m learning the difference 20 years can make. The good news is, I’m almost done. All that remains is to install doors, tile trim around the walls, and the tile tub surround. The bad news is, I’m out of gas. In addition to the bathroom we are pouring a concrete slab and putting up a metal building to park our camper and snowmobiles under. Every night after work I spend two hours on the projects. Amanda says I look exhausted and sick. The word Haggard comes to mind. That always makes me smile when I hear that word as I think of Merle Haggard.
   Our life reminds me of something that happened to me over 25 years ago. I was at church. During those years that is the place where I spent much of my time. For some unknown reason the pastor said during prayer, God wants to change your name. i’m not sure why he wanted to change my name. Maybe it is because my name rhymes with his.l, But at that time the only name that popped into my head was Job. “Job” Really!!!! I read the book. I know what happened to Job! 
   Funny thing is, it all happened. I lost everything. I even lost my health. 
   The book of Job is really about the promise of Job. Everything that Job lost was given back to him 7 times.
   I am happier today than I have ever been in my life. I have everything I have ever dreamed of. I wish I had a little more energy and testosterone would be great but Job is not such a bad thing.
   Well, y’all are probably thinking this is the dumbest thing You have ever read but I just felt like sharing my heart and this is my heart.