Making a House into a Home for the Holidays

Building a house, remodeling, or just sprucing it up for the holiday season can be difficult. Sifting through boxes for dishes, clothing, make-up, spoons, paperwork scattered among the sawdust and color samples during the construction process can become more than most of us bargained for. Is it worth the hassle?

We typically remember, special events and holidays in life. But we try to forget what it took to make those precious times happen. Those accomplishments, along with our pleasant memories such as gathering for a birthday or another Thanksgiving, makes a house a home. Humans are visual creatures. We like nice things and surroundings. That doesn’t mean we need to sit at a table with linen tablecloths or fine china and crystal goblets. But something as simple as the home decor or a well-maintained house can make the event more festive.

I’m proud of the house we built. And I’ve come to the conclusion; the joys far outweigh the challenges faced creating it. Recalling one of those crazy construction times in my life, I now chuckle.

It was Friday afternoon, when the dust from the carpet installers truck had settled down on our gravel driveway. At that time, we had been building this house for more than three years. I was excited to finally get a beautiful bedroom to sleep in rather than a construction zone. Thoughts of how we got to where we were, swirled in my head as my husband and I stood in the bedroom doorway admiring our new carpet.

Remembering a time when there was no water and sewer, no electricity, no house, there wasn’t even a road or driveway leading to this weathered rocky bluff. Electricity was the first thing to come down the driveway. After months of camping and hauling water in from miles away, the cold weather forced us inside. It was hardly what you would call a house when we moved. There was a shower curtain for a door to the only bathroom in the house. Dishes were washed in the bathtub, and laundry was washed at my sister’s house ten miles down the road. The bedroom had been temporarily set up in the basement until walls could block out the shrapnel in the great room where the mason chipped stones for months to make the twenty-one-foot-high fireplace.

The house was far from finished, but I was happy to have the bedroom carpeted. Putting things back together took most of the evening. The dressers were carried in and the drawers reinstalled. The paintings hung and the bed remade. With a quick bit to eat and a relaxing soak in the hot tub with a drink, we were ready for a good night sleep.

Exhausted, we both plopped into bed! Tossing and turning restlessly, led to little sleep that night. I was uncomfortable. My hips were going to sleep with the pressure of an overly firm mattress. It was so strange; my sleep number bed had been set at forty-five now was at twenty-five. The lower number seemed to command the mattress to expand. It was nearly three in the morning when I felt my husband sit up in bed. I looked at him with the sleep number controller in his hand.

Well, you’ve probably already figured out. Our controllers were swapped. However, it wasn’t until that moment, that we both came to that same awareness. He lay awkwardly in a hammock while I perched on top of an overinflated balloon. His setting went from seventy up to one hundred. You would think at that point we would dial the appropriate numbers on each side, turn over and finally get some sleep. That was not the case. For the next hour, we laughed. And about the time we started to drift off to sleep, one of us would start laughing again.

Remembering all the funny little stories that happened to us while building this house is just as important as the big holiday get togethers. Our muddled messes are just as precious as those accomplishments. Those everyday blunders help create the magic that turns a house into a HOME. The trinket from this experience, that I may find useful when writing children’s stories, isn’t that we made a mistake by being in too big of a hurry. The trinket is more about creating pearls in our lives. Just like an oyster, people need hard times to make that beautiful shiny gem of a pearl. Lives that are littered with mistakes, adversities, and annoyances have a much better chance of creating a sparkling, fun, and exciting life.

www.leannembenson.com

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