Renovating man

My daughter’s talent show at school: long legged girls wobble on spindly limbs, and their arms dangle helplessly as they concentrate on their dance steps with a frown. Then they catch themselves and remember to smile: they beam like sunflowers, a large head on a long skinny stalk. Adorable.image

The girls are generally taller than the boys at this age. Their male counterparts are Hobbits: short squat and thickening up in preparation for the massive pubescent growth spurt they are about to experience. They are all so cute, especially because they are awkward. Boys stumble over their feet and girls bang into walls.

Today they are showing us their talent. Several play piano, girls in clumps coo karaoke off key while the whole audience sings along. One boy builds a house of cards. A tall confident blonde girl (one of the “Divas” my daughter informs me, does a unicycle act that includes cycling under a line of boys who all scuttle out and make a bridge for her. I am certain she did not have to ask them twice.

Nora does her tap routine and everyone claps along good naturedly obscuring all of her fancy footwork. But no matter. She smiles wide as an open hope chest and looks a little astonished when they all give her an enthusiastic whoop and applause at the end. She shyly rewards them with an extra dazzle of jazz hands as she scoots off the stage.

I sat with her Dad through the whole thing. We cheered and awwwed and chuckled. I thanked him for being such a great ex: real stand up. His maturity unselfishness and grace is so good and assuring for Nora. And him. And me. So wonderful when adults act like grown ups and put their child’s feelings first.

While I am at the show I bump into a man I know and really like who – well – lets just say he blew up his entire life. I hadn’t seen him since: he was there to see his boy play guitar. I saw he was also being a grown up, alongside his newly devastated wife. He sees me and says nothing but he gives me a big hug. I hold onto him extra long: which I hope he understands is body language for “I have no interest in judging you.”image image image image

The next day we head to Bowen to continue to renovate. Oh my Lord, we move in July first and there is so much still to be done. I drive up and see our hopeful canoes under a layer of sawdust. I check the garden and my small patch is thriving amongst the weeds. I see a gorgeous rose has sprung.

We are at that “getting exhausted and way over budget” inevitable week of any reno. The people before us really just slapped things together rough shod.


The work load has been lightened with a few friends pitching in like Jovanni and Leanna who painted and gardened all day last weekend.

Today, I paint a windowsill and clean and scrape down the horrible job before me. I sand and then painstakingly brush all those little picky ledges into a clean new white.

I think of that man who went bust. I send up a little prayer. “remember, everyone loves a comeback kid. Roll up your sleeves. Don’t give up. I can see you love her. Isn’t this what every great story is about? There is nothing more trustworthy than a man who has lived and has learned.”






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