When my parents split up in the late ’80s – in my last year of high school – I took it pretty hard. Well, truth told, I cried like a girl. I guess I was pretty oblivious to the warning signs that the relationship was in troubled waters. Hell, I’d never been in a relationship. What did I know about warning signs?
Besides, I was dealing with my own identity issues, so I was probably too deep in my own belly-button lint to notice what others were up to.
Anyway, after a bit of time and some perspective – after wounds had healed – I started to see some benefit to the new arrangement. My parents still loved me as much as ever – that was clear – but as they both moved on with their lives, they also found new partners to move on with. And maybe I’m just twice lucky, but those new partners…my step-parents…have proven to be just as loving and wonderful as my real parents. I basically now have two dads and two moms.
As far as my dads go, I’m particularly lucky because they’re both really skilled with anything to do with maintaining and repairing a house (or a car for that matter!).
Last time my dad visited, for instance, he helped me fix an electrical issue we’d been having and he secured a wobbly toilet in our powder room. He’s coming for a visit again this summer and I’ve already got a list of things I want his help with when he gets here, including installing new doors on the upstairs bathroom and finishing a bit of work I started on a closet about 2 years ago! (Nobody ever said I couldn’t procrastinate.)
But Dad lives in New Brunswick, so it’s my Step-Dad, George, who gets called on more often for handyman help. He only lives 20 minutes away. Lucky him.
But no matter how often I call on him, George always steps up. And he did so again these last two weekends… in a big way. He helped me demolish our old deck and completely rebuild a new one from scratch!
The old deck was looking pretty grim. Paint was peeling, deck boards were rotting (not to mention the joists) and the entire structure was a bit unstable, bouncing whenever someone walked across it. But despite being about ready to collapse, it still took us a full day to demolish the damn thing. Guess the old girl still had a bit of life left in her. But we got that job done, stripping it down to the soil underneath and giving ourselves a clean slate to start construction the following weekend.We had perfect weather. Friday afternoon we went to get the materials for the frame and got a start on some preliminary work. Day two, Saturday, we completed the frame before finishing up on Sunday with a full day of decking. I’m not gonna chronicle the entire process, but suffice it to say I learned a helluva lot from George on this project. I now know HOW to build a deck (even if I lack the tools to do a proper job). I’m lucky to have him in my life, and I owe him a huge debt of gratitude for all the effort he put into this project.
Since we completed the task, I’ve found myself wandering regularly to the back door to check out our handy work, and think to myself “I did that!” (Well, not JUST me, but still…). It’s incredibly satisfying.
But you know what’s gonna be even more satisfying? Lounging on the new deck all summer long drinking cold beer and wine with friends and family! Bring on the heat!