Sunday, January 27, 2008


Has anyone else watched and wondered about the spate of recent Hollywood meltdowns? It's with near morbid fascination that I daily tune into the latest Britney saga. Or Paris or Lindsay or any host of other starletts. It's like a train wreck and I just can't help but look.

How does one make such a mess of one's life? How do you get that far off course? Those who knew Ms. Spears early talk about how she was totally focused and goal driven and actually smart about how she approached things. I can't point to specific things she did or didn't do along the way because I've only recently followed her story. I've only seen the meltdown.

But generally speaking... tiny, incremental, almost imperceptible changes magnify themselves over time into completely altered lives. When these changes are good, we sometimes refer to them as course corrections and draw from the example of a large ship being guided by tiny movements at the helm. When the changes are bad, we find ourselves shocked at someone's "sudden" meltdown.

My friend, Brenda, describes these negative changes in terms of sin. She says, "first you hate it, then you tolerate it, then you embrace it." Sounds kind of trite on the surface, but think about it for awhile. There's a profound truth in there.

I think you could also describe it in terms of King David from the Bible. Now this guy had a meltdown of epic proportion! You know the story of lovely bathing Bathsheba? David should have been on the battlefield with his army not roaming around the castle spying on the neighbors. First bad choice. When he saw Bathsheba, he should have done the gentlemanly thing and turned away but he didn't. Second, and bigger, bad choice - he blew his chance to correct his course. Then he chose to act on his lust and to have her husband killed in a cover up... His choices just keep getting worse until David ends up loosing everything - most painfully the eternal blessings he'd been promised by God. Gotta hate that little catch about being faithful to the end. This is the same David who stepped out in youthful faith to take on the giant, Goliath, who had Israel's armies quaking in their boots. I think his story is one of the saddest in the Bible.

The whole thing leaves me pondering questions like... How do we know when we're making good decisions? What keeps us from correcting course when we don't? Why do we humans like the "rush" that comes from doing something risky?

Monday, January 21, 2008


Wow! What a transformation!! I guess living with it, it's easy to forget just how much it's changed over time. But seeing those pictures together sure brought it home and I had to add a little more commentary. Still planned for the backsplash, when I find some money, is glass tile. Also planned for that far off day of having the money to work with is molding for the top of the cabinets and getting rid of the decidedly not beautiful shop light that shines on the task area.

The kitchen is already one of my favorite rooms to hang out in. It's very comfortable with plenty of space to work and/or enjoy a snack. The window looks out in a west-southwest direction and we can see the most beautiful sunsets over the Oquirrh mountains. Though you can't see it in the picture, there's a pocket door just to the right of the range that opens into a formal dining room at the front of the house. At the opposite side is another pocket door that opens into the back hall, stairs to the basement and back door. Sanding and restaining those pocket doors is another project still on the list...

House Before Pictures & Stories

Last June, in the midst of knowing my job was coming to an end (but not when yet), I bought a house. A big house. Nearly 2,800 square feet of house. And while it was a wonderful home to the family that lived here before, it just wasn't me. So I've spent the last several months tearing it all apart and redoing.

I hesitate to really call it remodeling because I haven't gone to the extent of tearing out walls or anything nearly so drastic. But somehow it seems like a little more than simply redecorating. By myself I ripped out around 1,400 sq feet of carpet and padding (and that nasty tack strip!). I had help putting in a new laminate floor everywhere but the master bath. The bathroom was already done in marble tile - too nice to take the sledge hammer to - so it stayed in place. Also had help with the new kitchen cabinets, the (as yet unfilled and unpainted) beadboard in the kitchen. What painting is done, I've also tackled on my own. But there's still quite a bit more to do. It's taking so long to get done that it seems like there should be more accomplishments to list, but that's about it. New flooring, new cabinets, some new paint.

I have regrets about the handyman I picked to help me. Sure he does good work for cheap, but he's such a drag on time I'm thinking it would have been worth the extra money to hire real professionals. What's really slowed things down to less than a snails pace is getting him to finish up details. It took 60 days for him to get the closet doors rehung after the floor was down! And another 45 to get the baseboards put up and caulked. Okay, so that isn't even completely finished yet. Even withholding payment doesn't motivate him!! This is now the middle of January and I'm still trying to get him to do things he promised would be done before the first of September. And my (hopefully someday) master bedroom is so full of his tools and construction rubble, that I can't even get in there to finish painting.

Here's some before pictures. Soon there'll be some in progress pictures and as we get there, after pictures.