oh, my gosh (more about ripping out the tile)


Please someone tell me I’m not nuts.  My husband and I are having the floors in our dining room and living room restored in a couple of weeks. That doesn’t sound too bad, doesn’t it? But when I tell you we have removed about two hundred tiles only to find that the mastic (the glue) didn’t come off with them, you get a different picture, don’t you?  We had to be careful because we’re trying not to damage the floor. It’s red oak (very rare) and unique to old homes. I don’t believe it’s even harvested anymore. So that’s cool.

We were doing really well but then we got to about a two foot by four foot spot in front of the fireplace. We discover that here the floor is some sort of concrete which means the mastic is even harder to get off.  Would you believe it took us about twenty-four hours of constant scraping, trying various solvents, scraping some more and we’re still not done!

In the meantime, we have people putting up textured wallpaper in our bedroom to hide our bad walls, wainscoting in the bathroom (again, to hide bad walls) and that isn’t going smoothly either. Of course you remember that in the middle of this my mother fell on my sidewalk, was in the hospital for ten days and is now homebound and I’m the one overseeing her recovery, doctor’s visits, grocery shopping, etc.

Right now it feels overwhelming. BUT, (and isn’t there always a “but”), I will have beautiful hardwood floors when we’re done. My bathroom walls will finally look good and the bedroom will soon be back in order. In a few weeks, I’ll look back on all this and wonder why I felt so overwhelmed in the first place.

The truth is I’m healthy, my husband is healthy and my mom is getting better every day. We have the energy to do this and now that my husband isn’t traveling as much anymore, we’ve actually enjoyed doing this together.

So what’s the point of all this? Only that life has an amazing way of returning to normal-most of the time. But then there are times it doesn’t.

A young woman from our church whom my husband and I have been praying for about nine months has finally succumbed to her battle with cancer. Her husband’s life is not going to return to normal for a very long time.  Neither will her parent’s and sibling’s lives. That’s why I have to look at this project and realize that while it’s physically demanding and seemingly never going to get done, it is nowhere near as traumatic as other things I could be dealing with.

It always helps me to look around when I’m under stress (for whatever reason) and realize that unless it’s death or dying it really isn’t worth getting too upset about. Besides there is always good and bad happening simultaneously in our lives at all times. I know of no person for whom that isn’t true. So when it’s bad, we need to remind ourselves of the good and when it’s good, we need to be aware of those for whom it isn’t good. I think we all know what we call this-perspective and most of us would do well to practice it a little more often.