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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Home Improvement

Thursday morning, my in-laws came into town - Ginny and Roy drove in from Arizona, and Chris and his boys (I shouldn't say boys - they're in their 20's now), Red and John, drove in from New Mexico. They were here until Tuesday morning, and my brother Bryan who lives nearby was here almost the whole time they were. You won't believe all that they accomplished in the short time they were here...

Friday, they all got to work. Chris is a licensed plumber and owns his own business in New Mexico, and Red and John work for him. They replaced all the plumbing in the house, the faucets in the bathroom, and put in a new water line.

My brother insulated the attic which is about a foot and a half of crawl space, and less in some places. Anyone who has an ounce of claustrophobia would never be able to do this job. At one point, he told me he had to exhale all his breath, squeeze himself through a small space and then fill his lungs again once he made it through. For the first part of this project, my mother-in-law Ginny was standing on a ladder and feeding him the insulation with a stick through the cold air return. Fortunately, my nephews finished up most of the plumbing quickly enough to be able to give my brother a hand in the attic the next day, and they finished the whole thing.  My poor brother was covered from head to toe with fiberglass sparkles and sweat for two days.

Friday night, we all stayed at a hotel since the water was off in the house. Chris, Red and John shared a room, and Ginny, Roy the kids and I shared a room next to them with two queen sized beds, and I had Jacob and Sydney in bed with me. Sleep was elusive with my squirmy kids; especially Sydney who flips from head to foot every five minutes, and was crying for me to cover her up or find her "baby" for her. At one point, her crying woke up Jacob who said to her, "You messed up my dream!" Ginny, Roy and I all got a big kick out of that one! It's nice to know he's having good dreams, too. I wonder what he was dreaming about...

My father-in-law Roy dug the front yard so Chris and the boys could replace the water line, and with him doing that, it saved a ton of time on that part of the project. He did it so neatly, too, that you can barely tell anything was done in the yard.

Red and John also had to dig pretty far down to check the sewer pipe, and they discovered that it had been replaced recently, so it wasn't necessary for them to replace that, thank goodness. The issues with the sewer pipe are probably from where the new pipe ends and the old one begins from the sidewalk to the street, but to replace that would cost thousands of dollars. It'll save money just to have a plumber come out and snake it once a year. I'm almost positive that's what most of my neighbors do, too.

Jacob had a blast working side by side with his uncles, cousins, and grandparents, and it did my heart good to see that. He used to work side by side with Matt with nearly every project he took on around the house, and I miss that for Jacob. I could tell that he has missed that, too.

When Roy was done with digging and patching the front yard, he started right in on the back deck. It's a wooden deck, and the table and chairs (that the previous owners so graciously left for me!) are also wood. The wood was very worn, thirsty and was in desperate need of sanding and staining, which Roy did. Ginny and Jacob helped with that, too. The majority of that work was done while Chris, Red, John, Bryan and his kids Maddy and Daniel and I went to Magic Mountain for a day off.

I only rode the Goliath and the Superman (and maybe one other one I'm forgetting about), but it was such a gorgeous day, and it was such a wonderful break for me to just be able to hang out for the day and not be chasing two small kids around. Ginny and Roy are SAINTS.

Roy also put a little shingle roof on the playhouse in the back yard that Matt built for the kids. That'll help preserve it from the hot California sun.

Ginny helped everyone with just about everything they were doing, and also managed to help me with the kids. She also cooked, baked, and did the laundry. She's amazing.

In spite of all the work that everyone did, we all managed to have a great time in the process. Lots of Coronas were consumed, good food eaten, and laughter all around. These people know how to work hard and play just as hard.  It's so comforting for me to be around them, too. It makes me feel closer to Matt. I can hear his laughter in his mom's laugh, and I could catch glimpses of him through his brother and dad.

Just as fast as they all came, is as fast as the work was done and they were gone. I miss them already. Thank God for awesome family with skills, heart and stamina! I know where Matt got it from, that's for sure.


Michelle said...

Wow, what a blessing to have all that help! I was praying for you this weekend as I knew it'd be a crazy time for you. I'm glad all that stuff got done. :)

The Shepherd Family said...

This post made my heart smile. I am so glad to see that you are still very close to your inlaws..and they are there for you whenever you need. Definetly a true blessing!
God is definetly doing good things!

Liquid Roof said...

Family relations are always important, We need to care for them since we have to live with them. I hope you will keep your relation maintained.

Liquid Rubber Videos said...

Some time we got the pleasure that we are expecting, Thanks to God that you have some pleasureful time. Thanks for sharing with us.

HeidiDater said...

Wow, I am exhausted just reading that. Bryan is super-human to be able to do that attic job!!! I can't wait to see all the upgrades the next time I visit! :)

Heather said...

Wow-they got a lot done! You have a great family.

I would check with the county or city and see if they are responsible for any part of the sewer line. Here we are only responsible for what is on our side of the sidewalk.

Glenda said...

Wow Andrea! I'm so happy for you and the kids that Matt's family is so awesome! That's a blessing! And I understand what you mean about the memories and reminders of Matt hanging with his family. Ahhh my heart ached. I'm glad you had a day away to enjoy the good CA weather and sunshine. So Happy for you!! XX

Crash Course Widow said...

Congratulations on getting all that MASSIVE work done in a single weekend! I'm impressed...and envious! (Can I rent your in-laws sometime?? ;o))

I've gotten such a good high from work weekends like you just had, when family (or friends) come help me do stuff. Packing, erecting Anna's play structure last year, installing the floors at my old house in Sandy....For me, I think a great deal of the high is simply from having the house full--full of people who love me and want to help me--and getting to feel flashbacks of the old, simple, prewidow me.

Supporting us through this crap widowed path is so intangible sometimes that it's hard to be able to point our fingers at something and go, "Yes, these people love me, support me, and want to do anything they can to help me." Most widowed and grief tasks are so nebulous that there's nothing people can do to help. But physical house-oriented projects are doubly satisfying--people get to help, it's tangible, and they don't have to find words for things they can't or don't know how to express.

Hooray for you, Andrea!! (And totally random, but I'm trying to plan a trip to LA in July if I can swing it, to visit Charley's family...and hopefully see you, Mel, Matt, and any of our other widda buddies there in the area. I'll keep you posted if I can come, and I'd LOVE to see you and meet your kids! I miss your sunshiney face, sailor curses, and drinking ability. ;o)) Hugs!!

Shannon said...

You are truly blessed with an amazing family. I couldn't even imagine having that suppotive of a family! Hell, I can't even get a sitter long enough to go grocerery shopping or get things done around the house! It's great to know you have that.

Andrea Renee said...

Thanks everyone!

Heather, good point - I'll have to look into that a bit more...

Heidi, I can't wait to have you over again! Next time I see you might be at your place on my road trip... =)

Candice, you are so funny! =P
I really hope you make it to LA in July... if so, I'll have a big party at my place and all us widda buddies (and some not) can whoop it up! xoxo