A 21st century thank you card

a very nice house.

Once upon a time, Ryan and Sarah bought a house.  It was a very nice house, solidly built and ostensibly requiring little in the way of fixing up.  They thought:

we’ll just pull these carpets out, and slap a fresh coat of paint on the walls.  A few hundred dollars, some paint samples, and a little elbow grease.  It will be fun.

They had, of course, heard the old adages about the surprises of home ownership, the unforeseen costs and projects, the tenacity of Murphy’s Law. They figured on a few surprises along the way, and they knew they’d need a little extra help from their friends, as Sarah was 6 months pregnant and unable to do much in the way of remodeling or heavy lifting.

Of course, there were surprises.  Lots of them.  Suddenly, in addition to packing and moving, Sarah and Ryan were taking bids from drywallers, electricians, handymen, floor specialists, duct cleaners and dumpster rental companies.  They began to learn about toxic waste disposal, the weight of plaster, the stubornness of decades-old vinyl glued to wood floors, the  vagaries of knob and tube wiring, the standard measurements of drywall, the ramifications of asbestos tainted glue, the nitty gritty of floor installation.

A little fresh paint?

It turned out they were actually going to need quite a bit of help from their friends, and their friends rose to the task in splendid form.  What follows is what Sarah likes to think of as a 21st century thank you card. (no stamps needed).  Caveat:  large portions of the moving and remodeling era are somewhat hazy in our memories (it was a stressful time), so if one of your contributions has been overlooked, please accept our apologies and our sincere, unending gratitude!

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER…

THANK YOU, BELOVED FRIENDS and FAMILY…

Thank you, dear Robert, for the many many hours of labor chipping paint off trim and exquisite painting work. The man works without a dropcloth. Enough said.

Dear Gretchen... thank you for the boxes, and for helping empty the attic in record time.

Dear Kristine and Gorm... thank you for the endless advice on remodelling, the loan of innumerable tools, speakers, and hours of help painting and cleaning. And OH, did i mention... for putting us and the dog up for a week plus while the paint dried, feeding us, and reminding us that construction chic really is hip... thank you, thank you.

Jason Cornwell-Wright... we really didn't want to mow that lawn. Thank you. Thank you. Is it true you did it in short shorts?

Dearest Stephanie... for umpteen hours of painting help, sanity checks, and more recently, transportation coordination in the wake of the fender bender... THANK YOU.

Thank you, darling Andrea Fuentes Diaz, for devoting several days of your much-needed spring break to helping us clean both our rental AND our new home.

Laura and Sonja (of whom I do not have a snapshot!), and your contractor friend whose name I do not know… Thank you, thank you, for your expertise and the connection to the hazardous waste disposal kit and directions/help figuring out how to get it all to the right place.  The questionable tiles could have and would have been so much more of a headache without your help. We are so grateful!

To Zooey, of whom I do not have a recent photo, and her mom Monica: THANK YOU for the painting help and the use of the van!

Thank you, Peter Cramer (shown here taking a break) for the many hours of assistance chipping tile and moving flooring materials.

Ron... for the use of your tools, your expertise, and your elbow grease chipping up evil vinyl, we are so grateful.

to Em, for the packing help, the paint and wallpaper advice, and the sanity checks... muchas gracias.

to Em, for the unpacking help, the paint and wallpaper advice, and the sanity checks… muchas gracias.

To Grandpop; for your generosity and love we are always grateful! Your housewarming gift and your contribution to “support your local hardware store week” helped make the transformation of our home possible. We love you.

To Samantha and Lil' O, who ain't so little anymore... Thank you for all the painting and sanity and cleaning help, S, and thank you for balancing out Sarah's pregnancy hormones, O. xo

Dan Reilly... what would we do without you. For the painting help, wiring help, over-the-phone remodelling consultations, help getting real windows, and countless other contributions... Thank you, thank you. Big hugs.

Poppa Dan Reilly... what would we do without you. Without you and Mary Jane's help we might never have made it into this house in the first place. For the homebuyin advice, the painting help, wiring help, cleaning help, over-the-phone remodelling consultations, assistance obtaining actual windows, and countless other contributions... Thank you, thank you. Much love (and big off-the-ground hugs, of course.)

Mama-san Trebon... there never was a woman like you to make a move happen. You arrived on a morning when I'd run out of steam packing and you pretty much singlehandedly emptied our rental and cleaned our yard over the course of a day. Without you I might have sat in the middle of all of it and had a good cry and accomplished nothing, but you saved the day. We are forever grateful. so much love...

Poppa-san Fox... Your wisdom has been invaluable throughout this process. Thanks for the guidance during homebuying and sorting through the inspection report. Helping your children shop for major appliances is an act of love and pure generosity. Thank you, for making the trip down and spending the better part of the day comparing the features and efficiencies of washers, driers, and ranges. Somehow I found this task almost more daunting than the actual home purchase, and having your company, and your help, actually made it a not-unpleasant project. And, at the end of all of that, you and Ma were unspeakably generous and purchased these three major indispensible items for us, something we will be thanking you for daily for years to come. What a gift! What a gift. Thank you both, endlessly.


Daniel! I don't have your picture. I don't even have a good picture of Lily, so I'm using a stand-in Boston Terrier. Thanks for your help getting all that flooring material moved in. On an unrelated note, thank you for taking out the trash, taking back my ketchups, pulling in the sign, and keeping me in peanut butter and apples for the duration. Your help and support has made it relatively easy for me to work my most demanding and lucrative shifts through this pregnancy, and that helps more than you know.


Chad and Angelina... thank you for coming to the rescue with your truck and getting our beast of a couch and the planter barrels moved!!

Thank you, Dennis, for help moving flooring material, and thank you Billy, for help unpacking the attic!!

Todd, (shown here Calling the Wild)... thank you, thank you. For the many hours of labor chipping tile, for renting us the machine to chip tile with, for your painting help, for your research and help lining up legit toxic waste disposal, for your generous, generous gift card to the local hardware store. Thank you.

Thank you, Heather and Ross... for so many things. Sanity checks, delicious homecooked vegan food delivered fresh to the house, the repeated use of your dear veggie-oil truck, box runs, furniture runs, good food, ikea shelving installation, hacksawing, garden bed building, and lawn moving. Soon we will help you with your very own new home.

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Filed under Change, community, Family, gratitude, love, Ordinary, Pregnancy

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