Monday, July 30, 2012

Make a Change Monday - Making Do

A few weeks ago I posted about our pending move and saying goodbye to my studio, and reading my post now, apparently my biggest concern was what kind of space I'd have to work in when we got to Kansas.

Ahhh...ignorance truly IS bliss.

Most of you know we have two GIANT dogs. You probably don't know that Don is an incredible woodworker. As passionate as I am about papercrafts, Don is about woodworking. He has built some beautiful pieces of furniture that I treasure, and before we left NC he was in the process of building his own 16' wooden kayak in our garage. You'll see why these issues are relevant in a minute.

Don's boat in progress

We have never lived on post before, except for about 4 months shortly after we got married. We had NO idea how things work or what to expect, we got to fill out a housing preference form and everything, so I just assumed if we said we needed a fenced yard and a garage - we'd get them. Those of you who ARE familiar with how military on-post housing works - feel free to roll your eyes at my stupidity. :)

VERY long story short - we will be spending the next year in a second floor apartment. This is an IMPROVEMENT from the housing we were originally assigned, in which Don stood in one of the bedrooms with his arms out and his fingers touched the walls, and the door openings were too small to get in our furniture. The apartment is 700sq ft smaller than our last house - so we spent a frantic few days making rash decisions about what to store (and how/where to do that) and what to sell (hence the yard sale last weekend), which also meant we couldn't get unpacked because we couldn't turn around without bumping in to some piece of furniture or pile of boxes until we got some of it cleared out. We have had to figure out how to coax 11-year old Beckett with the bad leg down and up 34 steps each time he needs to go outside, and how to entertain 10-month old Bizzy within the confines of our apartment when she loved nothing more than laying out in our yard in the sunshine all day. Within the first three days of moving in our A/C went out in 105 degree weather, we discovered that our tv was smashed by the movers, our cable was installed incorrectly so there are wires everywhere, and our washing machine leaked all over the floor the first time we used it. It was VERY stressful and I just felt like I couldn't get a grip on anything.

I know some of you are thinking "suck it up" or "it is only for a year" or "be grateful to have a roof over your head" (and believe me - I have said all of these things myself). Here's the thing.

Don has been deployed 9 times over the past 11 years. He has not had a minute to himself in those 11 years, and won't again for a long time after this year.  This was going to be his year to take a step back, relax, and...finally have the time to do his woodworking. He SO deserved this, and those of you who know him know that he so rarely expresses a WANT for anything - but he has been wanting and waiting and looking forward to this for almost two years.

We live in a second floor apartment. We have no garage.

Watching him try to decide what power tools to sell and which ones to store away brought me to tears. This was HIS year to finally be free to explore HIS passion, and this strange luck of the draw housing situation turned all of that upside down. I was DEVASTATED about the unfairness of it all and heartbroken to see his dreams for the year fall to pieces, but through ALL of this - he has been a rock.  While I've cried and ranted and raved and been anxious and upset, he has decided to "make do".  There is a small sun room at the front of the apartment and he has decided he is going to get out some hand tools and see if he can make a go of it.

sunroom - Day 1
Don in his sunroom - Day 10

He found a woodworker's guild about 45 minutes away where he can go to to work on his bigger projects (as my friend Joey said "it is like a scrapbook store for woodworkers!") and has already made a new friend there. He has never once complained about our situation, he has never gotten angry about any of it, he has decided that it is what it is and he is going to make the best of it - and I have learned more about him and myself in the last few days than I have in the past ten years of marriage. I am so humbled by his strength and his calm and his ability to make the best of every situation, and SO grateful that he still loves me in my over-emotional craziness and just lets me run my course before I finally come to my senses. I am a lucky woman in every possible sense, and it took being crammed in to a second-floor apartment with my giant dogs and my woodworker husband to remind me of that.

So - for the next year the Kingstons will be "making do". I told my mom I am done complaining about it, I'm working on my studio which is actually quite lovely and does have room to have a few friends over (and is still CLEARLY a work in progress - see below), we've found a dog park where we take Beckett and Bizzy twice a day for a little free dog frolicking, Don is going to figure out how to get a 16' kayak in to a 12' sunroom, and most importantly - we are going to have a whole year to be together.  We are going to be ok.

studio - Day 1
studio - Day 10

16 comments:

  1. Good luck getting things organized. Just think how fun it will be in a year when you unpack all the treasures you forgot about! I think its great the sunroom can be used for a woodworking studio. :)

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  2. I wish you had moved to Ft. Sill. You could have rented the house we are trying to sell. I had washer/dryer problems on our recent move. It is overwhelming. I'm glad things are looking up.

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  3. Beth, what an interesting few weeks of discovery! Needless to say my hubby and I are beginning to go through a similar process, though our circumstances are a might different but it is surprising how much goodness can come through in all of that murkiness. I'm glad you've found the sunshine and it looks like you're making the space work for you and your best friend -- Best of luck in seeking some larger apartment or homes in the area if you're going to be around for a while longer once you can seek lodging off post. And who knows, we may run into each other some day -- from down the interstate and around the corner in OKC. Hugs!

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  4. Oh Beth! You and Don are both Keepers! You're right, the most important thing is being together. Much deserved for both of you! Love ya!

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  5. I was in the Air Force for 16 years and I know I moved to 14 different homes in that time, not counting Basic. As a result, there are no cardboard moving boxes in my house. My last move was 125 miles and I used milk crates and rubbermaid tubs, and I don't save TV and stereo boxes anymore. One of our movers actually packed a half full garbage can ! What you two are doing for each other is wonderful - I only wish I could come and help you set up ! My craftroom is 1/4 of the basement and is an odd mishmash of stands and carts and tables, and none of them fit right. Check with the Recreation office on post and see if there are rooms you could hold crops on base...

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  6. Oh wow Beth. I'm so glad that things are improving for you and Don. You guys deserve the best! Sure wish we were closer. I would be happy to assist!!! Maybe a crop session will help ease things a bit more and it looks like you're about ready to have one!!! Peace and scrap on!
    Juie

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  7. I am so glad you have each other and it is always amazing no matter how long you have loved and lived with someone, how many new things you always learn about each other. It's wonderful that you found the nearby dog park. I know my 3 would go crazy if they couldn't run around. Sending out more positive energy your way. It looks like things progressed quite a bit in a short 10 days. Local libraries sometimes have space and may even already have a craft group also. Continued blessings to you and your family.

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  8. Beth, what a hard situation but your turn around to a positive attitude is a motivator for me. We are going through tons of changes too and a little push in a better direction is a good thing for me tonight. Enjoy your time with your husband. Glad he is able to be home with you for awhile. You both have made some huge sacrifices for our country and I thank you and your husband.

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    1. Thanks so much Lisa!! Wishing you guys good things with your changes as well!!

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  9. Oh Beth, I'm so so sorry. I know that feeling of expecting a temporary reprieve or happily ever after - especially after having it SO AMAZINGLY HARD for so many years - just taken from underneath you. And given that our husbands work so hard for so long, you want them to enjoy a bit of calm after being in so much chaos. While the woodworking studio isn't quite what you or Don expected, I'm glad that you're gonna just try to make it work. And I'm sure your craft room will also be something to envy when all is said and done. "Making Do" and "Being Flexible" are certainly things military families always have to be...for the good and the bad. I agree that it never seems fair. But I'm so glad that you're hanging in there. And I can't wait to see how you're gonna fit a 16' kayak in your 12' room by the end of the year! :)

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  10. You sure know how to make Lemonade out of lemons!! Way to go..keep your spirits high and you have each other...MOST IMPORTANT! Best of luck and we want to see the kayak finished one day!

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  11. Wow! God bless you in this sad situation! I hope and pray you have tons of blessing in the coming year to make you look back and laugh at this! Thank you for sharing your positive attitude with all of us!

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  12. Beth you are a very lucky woman. Fist because your husband is so patient and understanding and second because he does beautiful (according to you) woodworking. He seems like the perfect husband! Enjoy your time with him this year and make beautiful things together :)I'm sure your craft room will be just what you want it to be when you are done. Enjoy! :)

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  14. Have so enjoyed your blog on moving, and wish you only the best (with the space you have been given!). We do have something in common besides being crafty, and that is that my husband is also a woodworker. The garage is his workshop. He made my craft workbench, and is putting the French polish on a ukulele for me! He has made 12 of them so far, and has orders for at least 20 more, but it's my time right now. I should have it in another week or two. Your husband's kayak is looking amazing. Here's hoping that he finds a space to continue working on it. Sounds like he is an amazing guy, Beth! Things will work out, and you'll be surprised how fast one year will go by. Our best to you this year!

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    1. Oh my gosh Deb...creative men must marry creative women! :) How wonderful that he is making a ukulele for you, I know you will treasure it forever!!

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