Home Improvement

August 29, 2019

For the longest time in our humble abode, what you saw was what you got. We clung to the originals of everything, from cabinetry to paint jobs to sump pumps, largely because we could ill afford to upgrade. Any spare change we came into, immediately flowed back out again in the form of summer camp tuition and Pampers and enough boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios to stock Sam’s Club for the foreseeable future. Someday, we vowed, we would have the means to tackle the Big Projects that would make our house a showplace (or at least less of a train wreck).

Well, 30 years down the road, “someday” is finally here on Apel Avenue. While we no doubt should be socking away the nickels and dimes for our “retirement,” (ho ho), there are certain things that have been crying out to be done around the house and yard, and we just want them (the things) all to stop crying out. It’s very annoying. Therefore, in the past year, we have:

Replaced our side door

Replaced our sliding patio door

Gotten a new roof

Filled in the big sinkhole in the back yard

Things are definitely looking spiffier, but as usual, the repairs shine a glaring spotlight on the un-improved areas that remain, so our work is cut out for us.

In that same “can do” spirit, I have decided to tackle my self-improvement issues as well. I have a stack of scripts for mammogram, blood work, colonoscopy, etc. One by one, these delightful activities are being put on my calendar. I recently returned to my dentist after lo these many moons, and got a cracked tooth fixed. Much more dental work looms, but it’s a start. Concerned friends are always looking at my freckled Irish skin and reminding me to get it “checked out”—apparently that’s a thing these days? OK, OK people! I will write “dermatologist” on my list soon.

Perhaps the most important thing I am addressing again is my mental health. I am 1000% better than I was 12 years ago, and my psychiatrist has been able to lower my doses of meds, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t needed regular tune ups. And so, urged on by my loving daughter Rose, I had a few sessions with a new therapist. I was quite nervous, and did not look forward to baring my soul yet again. But I realized it is as important for my brain, as any of our long-deferred projects is for the well-being of our house. I have been “managing,” just as we used to “manage” by jiggling our old broken door handle until it worked. But there is joy in being able to easily open that new door now. And there was also joy for me in opening the door of my mind and heart, as I went back into therapy.

Check back in with us soon, gang! You’ll be amazed at all of our improvements!


    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

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