Friday, August 07, 2009

On Tools and Tears

During the winter, H was off work quite a bit due to the economy. To him this meant, “WOO HOO WTC, let’s see if I can gather enough of my scraps and free stuff I’ve collected and finish the family room in the basement!” It was a thrill ride for him, to piece together bits of this and that and transform them a wonderful space. He was truly an artist, a craftsman like no other. He just loved to build things. For the most part, we worked quite well together…I helped come up with ideas, and he created. Despite my constant nagging about the mess he inevitably made, I always felt rather lucky that I pretty much got what I envisioned at a pretty nominal price, no less. The basement was in full construction-from-scrap mode when H died. He had wired and insulated and plumbed and had convinced me we really needed a load of drywall. It was going to be his video game oasis, complete with surround sound and a wet bar. He was so excited, his eyes would light up as he discussed speaker placement, an exhaust fan (in case we popped popcorn), and the pocket doors he got for a steal 3 years ago that would finally be put to perfect use.

A friend of mine was over a few weeks ago to help me with some odd jobs around the house. I showed him the basement…and my conundrum as far as how to get a handle on the mass of building materials and the project that had come to a complete halt. He was amazed at the amount of stuff H had assembled. And a few hours later, he said, “WTC, how about I help you get this in some kind of order.” I immediately burst into tears of relief. We popped a bottle of wine and got to work.

You know, it is only a true friend who will give you your moments and pour you more wine when you start to sob over a hammer or crumble at the sight of the router you bought for your husband’s 35th birthday. It was tough going, that basement. Tougher even than the clothes closet or the toothbrush or the photos tucked in drawers that momentarily stun me when I am innocently searching for the aspirin bottle. The tools and the building supplies H got for a steal or bargained-for-because-“we’ll use it somewhere!” were really what made H tick. And it was all so overwhelming to know it is all over and there will be no more delighted presentations on how THIS will piece together with THAT to make THIS COOL THING, HOW ABOUT THAT WTC!. It sucks, it really does. However, the basement is now looking a bit like a hardware store…with a tool section, a building supplies area, and many, many nails and screws. To confirm what H knew and I didn’t believe, there is enough stuff to finish a very stylish and comfy family room. Who knows, I may just do that :)