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Kitty Reflects on MoreLife

Kitty Reflects6/28/01

Many of our cottage tasks have displayed a great resemblance to an onion or those beautifully carved nested Russian eggs. The deceptive feature of this type task is that it appears so simple...just take an area rug from our apartment and unroll it with its padding in the den, used as a bedroom by granddaughter Lauren on her occasional visits. Tom was confident that size would not be a problem, and he was right about that.

I sensed we might have an onion task, however, when Tom discovered that the loose legs on the bed - which he stood on its side in order to unroll the rug - had stripped holes and couldn't be tightened. Out came the wood cement and back in went all the legs (one had completely fallen out) which would dry while he shaved "some" off the French doors to allow the doors to close smoothly over the rug and remove a long existing interference at the top on the usually stationary one. Tom was ready for this sub-task as part of fitting the rug into a room with inward opening doors. But he didn't envision the "onion" layers he had begun to peel by putting that rug down. The doors were on and off the door frame at least 3 times each, which was an "acceptable" number of times. With the Tom-preferred positioning of the bed head and dresser side against a common wall, the blackboard and electric radiator needed to be moved. In an attempt to push the bottom dresser drawer closed, it was discovered that its bottom was split and barely holding to the sides.

Long about the time that Tom realized that moving the bed resulted in a needed move of the blackboard, I started to chuckle. While he didn't initially appreciate my sense of humor, Tom did agree after repositioning the radiator and then finding the broken dresser drawer, that laughing was a better approach than cursing. As I told him, I found while still engineering that in similar situations, laughing at least didn't run my mascara. And now I know that it keeps my cortisol level down too.

The rug is in place in the den with easily moving doors and bed (6 solid legs), blackboard, radiator, and dresser (repaired drawer) repositioned. And Tom survived to take on the acknowledged BIG task of our 3 days - replacing the back door in our existing door frame. This job was all seriousness, especially since we had to complete it before leaving and there was only 1 day left. My assisting method here was mainly silence - and sometimes absence - as I found quickly that questions or comments from me most often resulted in agitation on Tom's part. Later, as he completed a short, but much needed, rewarding dip in the lake at sunset, he told me that he'd been very concerned about the door because of the unforseen problems that might occur - and they sure did, all 10 hours of them.

On our way home about midnight, we congratulated ourselves on surviving another "weekend" at the cottage. Tom says he has added confidence for accomplishing all sorts of physical tasks now (confidence which he had 30+ years ago directly after building the cottage) - both the BIG tasks and those insidious onion layer variety which go best with a heavy dose of laughter.


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