In the Short Rows

We are finally getting there. In the short rows. The short rows is a farming term for the rows at the edge of a plot that are shorter due to odd angles of land. It means we are almost finished. In fact, I hope that when this publishes (I’m usually a few weeks ahead on my posts), that my head will be resting on my king size bed pillow with a view of Lake Wackena. We will hopefully be at least sleeping at the house and eating and relaxing there. My husband, dog Baci and I have been displaced by Hurricane Matthew for almost 6 months. Actually, it will be 6 months to the day on April 8th. It’s been a challenge and a half.


Our generous friends have rented out their lovely in-law to us, and it’s nice to have a private place to call “home”, or as we refer to it, as “Camp Matthew.” We’ve basically gone from 3000 square feet down to about 600. From two computers, two printers, two television sets, a gas range, four bathrooms and three couches down to one couch, one television, electric range, one bathroom, one computer and printer. This would normally be a piece of cake for a week or two. Or the original guesstimate of 2-3 months. But it’s turned out to be 6 months.


This is what I’ve learned about being in the short rows:


Focus.  I have been driving my husband nuts.  I ask a thousand questions a day about the house. “What about the closets?” “What about the vent cover in the garage?” “Should we fix the light in Benson’s room now? Or later?” “Have you watered the plants?” It’s endless. He stops me in the morning and says exactly what we are working on. Yesterday we did an inventory of everything (at the moment) that we need for the house and then we went to Lowe’s and bought it. This morning we moved all the furniture from one bedroom to another. Thank God my husband has focus because I am a scattered mess. So when it comes to a big project at work or at home, make sure you have someone who can focus the team (especially if I am on it).


Positive.  I recently found out that one of my top five strengths is positivity. Thank goodness for that! In fact, one day a few weeks ago, we had a setback on the delivery of the linchpin cabinet we needed for the kitchen. Nothing could continue until we had that cabinet. Well, my husband started grumbling about the cabinet and looked at me and said, “Don’t get all positive on me.” So I went off on a tirade basically, that went something like this: “This sucks. We are never moving back in that house. We are going to be living on top of each other forever.” He stopped me. “Ok. Ok. You can stop now.”

It’s funny how we need some glass half full people around. It keeps everyone’s spirit alive.


Lead.  I’ve learned to give up the leadership to my husband. He used to be a contractor and is incredibly knowledgeable about all things construction. In fact, he is usually referred to as MacGyver. Duct tape and a popsicle stick? Kevin will figure out how to fix the water heater. This morning, he figured out how to get an enormous, awkward treadmill through a door that was too small, without any equipment except a hammer and screwdriver. He didn’t even damage a single freshly painted wall. I was there to “help” but I know he would have done it single-handedly nonetheless. Find out the best person to lead this particular team and let them lead.


Visualize.  Every morning for the last few weeks, I’ve been visualizing laying on my bed back at the house and staring out the window at the lake. My husband and I have been repairing on the deck for the last two nights. We are “acting as if” we are back at home. When I started visualizing being back in the house, the log jam that was holding us up cut loose. The cabinet that was missing in action finally was delivered and everything started falling into place. Half the house was carpeted last Friday and the rest will be done tomorrow. We quit waiting on the fireplace and decided we could move with the carpeting in or without it. I coach several clients who worked on acting “as if.” They get stuck and can’t sell the house or get the job of their dreams and then they start acting “as if” and suddenly they are in forward motion.


I’m really getting excited that we will be home soon. There are a few more hoops to jump through like counter-tops and some plumbing fixes but we are really close! We are almost out of the short rows and onto living on the Lake instead of with the nightmare of the Lake.

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