My parents are moving in with us in a few weeks. We’ve been planning it for months, but things didn’t really get rolling until after Christmas, when Mom and Dad headed to my brother’s place in Myrtle Beach. We decided it would be best if they stayed there for the winter while we completed the renovations to our house and moved them out of theirs.
My brother has been driving up and down the interstate just about every weekend since mid-January, setting up his workspace and gathering materials. As I write this, in our garage we have eighty two-by-fours, thirty-six sheets of drywall, four interior doors, and kitchen cabinets and appliances still in their boxes. It’s like a mini-Home Depot in there.
The major renovations begin Friday, when my brother arrives for a ten-day marathon remodel that will rival any show on HGTV. In that time, he will install a full kitchen in our basement and build two rooms in our garage. In the end, our basement will have been converted into an in-law apartment, complete with living and dining area, kitchen, bedroom, and full bath. The garage will have a finished rec room to replace some of the square footage we’re giving up, as well as a finished laundry room.
In preparation for this move, Paul and I have been working on our living space. Back in September, we moved Anna’s bedroom upstairs to what had been our office. We cleaned out the rec room and emptied our garage, throwing out or donating vanloads of stuff. I emptied the downstairs closets and re-organized the ones upstairs. It’s surprising how easily we’ve made room for everything; it makes me realize how much space we were wasting before.
And now, with all the prep work completed, and the big job still to come, I feel like a sprinter getting ready to run a race. I’m perched, waiting for the starting gun to go off. Until it does, I’m on my mark, tense, ready to go.
Some people are doers – they stay on the move, tackling every task as it comes their way. I admire doers – they take action. Other people are thinkers.
I’m a thinker. I plot my course (using lists, schedules, and calendars,) anticipate every possible challenge, come up with solutions, and rehearse the action in my mind until I feel sure I’ve got it – all before taking the first step.
It’s exhausting at times, and discouraging when I see others jump in to whatever they’re doing with both feet. For better or worse, this is the way my brain is wired, and I can’t change it. The best I can do is work around it and remember to let it rest when I’ve overheated the circuits.
That’s what I did today.
Today was freakishly warm for February – in the low seventies – and sunny. While I really wanted to go on a day trip or pack a picnic and go hiking, what I needed to do was just be, so that’s what I did. I sat in the hammock swing on our back porch and let the sun shine on my face. I listened to a group of children playing football on the next street over. I watched the clouds pass overhead and dozed off with Pete snoring at my side and the birds singing in the trees, and I knew that was exactly where I needed to be.
I remember going through this when I was at the end of my pregnancy with Anna, coming up on twenty years ago. I had gone two weeks past my due date with no sign of Anna budging. I had done everything I could to prepare for her arrival: read all the books, decorated the nursery, took the newborn care class. I sat and listened to Sarah McLaughlin and Fiona Apple and thought to myself, “I should be doing something.” But there was nothing else to do but wait. So I did.
Just as when I was still pregnant with my nine pound, two-week-old baby who refused to come out, today I became aware that the laziness and boredom I’m feeling is something my mind and body need in preparation for the changes that are coming soon. Today was the calm before the flurry of work to come.
Just as with a new baby, there will be an adjustment, but I’m looking forward to welcoming my parents to their new home. They are healthy and doing well, so there’s no worry on that front for now, but it will be a relief to have them with us, under our roof, if they need anything. They’ll have an entrance from the garage, so there will be no stairs for them to deal with, which will be an improvement from the three-level floorplan of their house. I hope they will be comfortable and happy.
To borrow the words of a friend, I’m fluffing my nest.