Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Another Goodbye

I didn't know I still cared.  It's not like I left the church where she was choir director mad at her, it was another issue entirely.  Yet, when I left, there was some unfinished business.  It never sat quite right with me, but I also never tried to set things right.  Neither did she.

So when I heard last week that she was in the hospital with an infection, then that she had died on Good Friday, the depth of my tears surprised me.

She was a good teacher; she taught me how to cantor.  I remember when I first met her, at a workshop she led some twenty years ago.  Along with the technical aspects of singing and welcoming the congregation to sing with you, she asked, "Why do we gather as church?"  After gathering our answers, she offered her own view:  We come to share our stories.  The stories of Jesus and Moses, woven into the stories of our own lives.

I've come to believe she was right.

And so I gathered with a whole bunch of people yesterday at church.  My tears flowed freely as her nineteen year-old daughter spoke of what her mother meant to her.  I was sitting at an angle to her family - every time I looked across the church at young Christina, trying so hard to be brave and strong and to (unsuccessfully) stop her tears, I cried again.  For her and for myself in much the same place so many years ago.  Her story mingled with the readings, meshed with my own story, and I cried for her in the years to come, when her mother won't be there to guide her through the rough spots.

But her mother was a good woman.  She laid a strong foundation for Christina and her brother to build the rest of their lives upon, and they still have their dad.  He will be there for them and together, they will heal.

Beatrice Santner, rest in Peace.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Two Hour Project

see my floating wall???
I am wildly unrealistic when it comes to guesstimating how long it'll take to complete the projects I do around the house.

My brother, I'm sure, remembers well the time I asked him to swap out the back door for me.  "How hard can it be?", I think.  "Door out, door in.", I think.  "Two, three hours tops!", I think.

I was so wrong.  He pulled out the old, rotting door - and a good portion of the back wall around it was rotted out, too.  It took him the better part of a week to put the corner of the house back together.  (He did a good job - it was sound when he finished...)

So, I should have known, when I started to replace the siding on the back of the garage today, that the project would take more than the afternoon I had allotted for it.  Sure enough, we were pulling off the rotten siding, and when Joe pulled off one panel, the entire section of wall moved with it.  There's nothing securing the bottom of the wall.  nothing.

I suspected something was wrong.  The inside of the garage was freshly sheetrocked when I bought the house.  I saw the sag on the ceiling line on the back of the garage.  Old, repaired damage, I thought.  I was half right.  It was old damage.

We THINK that at some point, many years ago, someone hit the back wall of the building with enough force to knock the wall off the sill plate.  (It's been known to happen...)  If you line up on the wall, you can see where it leans out at the bottom.  In the intervening years, everyone just ignored or covered up the damage.  Even old oak rots out when it's been in contact with the dirt long enough.

We caught the problem in time, i.e. before the roof caved in.  My two-hour project now involves tearing out the finished walls on the inside of the garage, jacking up the roofline, installing a new sill plate, sistering the existing joints to get around the rotted bottoms, and tying the whole thing back together.

THEN, I can go back outside and put the new siding up.

"Two hour project.", thought I.   **sigh**