Friday, December 16, 2011

GREEN

I find it fairly funny that Ryan and I looked at so many houses and looked so carefully but somehow didn’t realize how much we hated the master bathroom in the house that we decided to purchase. We chuckle about it now… how did that happen? How did we not notice the nasty small tub and the ugly linoleum flooring, the broken rusted tub faucet, the 1970’s mirror, the horrible faded and chipped 1980’s fake wood cabinet above the toilet, the laminate countertop and worst of all, the 1980’s strip of 9 bulbous lights right above the mirror? How the heck did we not notice that? I suppose when we looked at the house as a whole, its imperfections faded to the background. And that isn’t such a bad thing, its just surprising to have moved in and then realize how much we hate something we use daily. Our hatred is so strong, we have decided to remodel it.

At first we were just going to do a few simple updates. I bought and installed new brushed nickel towel bars and toilet roll holder. I bought a new light fixture and went to put it up but the wall had not been painted behind the old fixture and there was no extra paint… so we had to wait. We were going to take the ugly above toilet cabinet down but they hadn’t painted behind that either – or the mirror. Turns out the cabinet and mirror were a custom size so there was no way to replace them without painting the entire room. So… since we were going to paint the whole room – why not do a more in-depth remodel. We’ve run into a few more snags…

After a long search for a countertop to fit our strangely sized cabinet, we ordered one we thought would be okay. It wasn’t exactly what we wanted but it was a small upgrade. We were excited to receive it via UPS but I thought it was strange the way the UPS drive left it and ran off as fast as he could. We opened the box and found our marble counter smashed into a million pieces inside the box. Ugh. We took a piece of it out and decided we didn’t really like it anyway so… return! We found one we like much better and it will be ready for pick up the first week of January.

We ordered new tile for the floor – its called “cliks”. It’s a floating tile that can be installed right overtop of your current floor. It seems like a good quality but easier solution to doing regular tile. It took a lot of work to figure out how to get the tiles to fit together right but I persevered and figured it out. We tested the water seal and it seems like its gonna be just fine. The one trick with this tile, is you have to start at a straight corner which we figured wouldn’t be a problem. Hmmmm… not so fast. Our bathroom doesn’t have a straight wall to start from. That’s right, the corners aren’t square, the walls aren’t straight… its very uneven! Not sure what we are going do with that yet but we’ll figure something out. The easy tile isn’t gonna be so easy after all.

We decided to keep our tub but replace the fixtures with new more modern brushed nickel ones. But, we accidentally cracked the water pipe in the wall behind the shower when trying to remove the faucet cover. It was corroded and we used a bit too much muscle. It was a Saturday… so no plumbers available until Monday. We had to turn the water off in our house for the weekend and go stay with the in-laws for a few days. We had to cut out a big hole in the wall of the guest room so the plumber could access the pipes AND the ceiling in the living room now has a nice water stain. Oh boy.

A few hundred dollars later, the plumbing was fixed and the new shower fixtures were installed, mind you we still have the drywall in the guest room to replace and the living room ceiling to repair. But the finished work looked so pretty and the shower head we picked was a nice big rain shower with a few different settings. I couldn’t wait to try this thing out, after all the old one was weak! I was less than impressed with my shower experience though. It seemed this shower head was in need of some Viagra. The water came out strong, but then just drop to the shower floor… no power at all. It was actually worse than the one before. I was very disappointed. Worse, when Ryan asked me how I liked it, I felt bad telling him I didn’t think it was very good.

That night, my father-in-law came over to help Ryan do a few things and we showed him the disappointing shower. He tinkered with it awhile to see if there was something wrong or if there was something could be adjusted. He said we might need to go back to a small shower head but he kept fiddling with it. A few minutes later, he came out of our bathroom and said, “I fixed it!” I went to check it out and saw that he had fixed it. The water was shooting out with power now, the way it should have been. I asked him what he did and he handed me a piece of plastic the size of a penny with a small hole in the center of it. He proceeded to tell me that he had removed this piece of plastic from the showerhead. It had been purposely placed in the showerhead by the manufacturer to reduce the water flow.  This piece of plastic made it possible for the company to call this a “green” showerhead, and we know how everything has to be "green" these days!

Standing in my the bathroom I looked at little tiny “green” hole in the plastic and then compared it to the size of the showerhead. I imagined all that water having to be squeezed through that little opening and it made me laugh. No wonder the water was limping out! I turned and noticed the plaque on my wall. It says:

In my life I always try really hard to understand why things happen, why I feel the way I feel, what could I do differently, how can I make sense of this, that or the other… I am an analyzer.  I realized as I stood there that my analysis of things is making me a “green” follower of Jesus. The more I try to make sense of things, understand the world, myself or my feelings or even force myself to understand scripture… the more limp my faith becomes.  I mean there’s God with all His power, might, knowledge, and control and I step in and try to understand it all. My understanding is just like that piece of plastic… it means well but in the end, it reduces the flow of God’s power into my life.  I'm not trusting the Lord when I decide I must have the answer to everything.  I'm not trusting God when I try to control the flow of life and people. And faith is all about not knowing, not having control, not understanding but still believing no matter what.   I’d be so much better off to do what scripture says and just stop leaning on my own understanding!

I’ve felt a little down since yesterday and I have to honest and say I have no idea why I feel down. There doesn’t seem to be a reason for it. As I was walking home from taking Brett to school this morning I was trying to analyze my emotions so I could fix them… and then I remembered that little piece of plastic. I said to myself, “Wendy, stop being green – let God’s power flow with all its might!” I decided to just let God handle it…to trust Him…to just go with the flow and see what happens.

As for the rest of our bathroom renovation… I'm sure we will run into many other snags.  Stuff will get broken, we will change our minds, hauling out the old junk will require heavy lifting... but I’m glad we decided to do more than just a few cosmetic fixes. Surface work has never worked very well for me… the good stuff in my life has always required major renovation.... mind, body and spirit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Hi Brett's Mom!"

In Texas, I used to go up to Brett's school and read to the kids so whenever I would be up at the school, lots of kids knew me and would run up to me for a hug or call my name, of course in most cases my name was simply "Brett's Mom". My favorite kids were the ones who wanted to tell me about their accomplishments for the day... like one little boy who I knew had some discipline troubles couldn't wait to see me on his good days so he could say, "I've had a green day ALL day today!" This would be followed by and enthusiastic high five! I made it a habit to give another little girl a big hug every time I saw her because she seemed to need a few extra hugs in her life. Last week I realized that one of the things I really miss since we moved to WI is my school drop-off and pick-up hellos from the little ones. I loved hearing little voices calling out "Hi Brett's Mom!" or "I'm over here Ms. Wendy!!!!" My pick-ups and drop-offs here have been quite silent.  It made me sad to come to terms with the silence.

Still feeling a little sad, something really cool happened. I was walking out of Brett's new school after dropping him off and one of only 2 kids I know happened to be walking by me.  My ears heard a little voice say, "Good morning Brett's Mom!"  My sadness ran away in an instant and I began to smile, in fact, those simple words totally made my day.  I have no doubt it was God giving me that smile and fulfilling a simple need. It motivated me to go up to the school and figure out how I can volunteer. I am happy to say, tomorrow is my first day of reading to the kids! I am so excited for it too. This is just a small little story to show how God constantly fulfills my needs, big and small, all the time. I bet I don't even notice it a lot of times. Thank you God... and I'm sorry for all the ones I don't notice... THANK YOU!