A Husband Righted

“You’re right. It looks nice there.”

Those first two words are the hardest words for me to say, but I tell my husband that, because he needs to know. I am looking over a large wooden entertainment console, in a rich cherry wood, originally from Stickley. I thought it was too big to fit into the family room, but after years of him insisting, and finally having a few strong men to help move it, we tried it out. And Andy was right. It does fit. Maybe the scale is not quite perfect, but it fits.

Our kitchen is almost complete. Walls came down, the floor was torn up, and even a window was moved. There were frigid nights when only a piece of plastic kept out the winter air, and dusty mornings of naked beams and unfinished wood. Now, near the end of the renovation, I look around and marvel at how far it has come. How far we have come. Sometimes you have to dismantle everything to make it into something better.

I remember the first night we found this house. We sat in this very kitchen, at a table in the corner, above which an 80’s light fixture hung, illuminating the space with its harsh light. Our saucy real estate agent worked her magic and we pounded out a deal there and then. Andy and I smiled at each other. This would be our first home.

Through the years, we did our best to update the kitchen. I re-finished and painted the cupboards. (And ran them over while they were drying in the garage.) We had our friend Jim install a new row of lighting. We painted and hung shelves and managed for a decade, and now that we finally (thanks mostly to my parents) had some money we put it into a proper renovation.

As it nears completion, we can begin to clean up the mess. With every renovation project, there is always a mess. Layers of dust, the make-shift kitchen space we used while it was being done, the temporary homes of dining room objects now able to return to their former form. I begin by dusting, and moving furniture back into place. I wipe off the books and picture frames and lamp shades. I polish the glass and mirrors. Slowly, I try to put things back together.

It’s never quite the same, but maybe – hopefully – it might be better.

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