Stuff That Matters: A Bedroom Makeover and an Outing with Dad

The bedroom makeover project that I expected would take a week — maybe two at the most — is stretching into its third week. We live in a 140-year-old house with plaster walls and crooked floors so this was no small project. But the end is in sight.

Life has been happening in and around the spackling, sanding and painting which means we’ve been sleeping in the midst of disarray. Clean laundry is stacked in baskets until the new dressers are in place and our windows have remained curtainless until I finish painting the trim. It’s a good thing we live in the country, though I duck in a corner whenever I’m changing clothes and I hear a car go by. The payoff of feeling exposed is glimpsing the moon shining through our naked windows at night and watching the sunrise spread across the field in the morning.

After 24 years of miss-matched furniture and a season of garish pink walls followed by a period of restful sage green with a really ugly wallpaper border, I’m switching it up. The walls are Grecian Sea and Summer Lake with sand-colored curtains, white woodwork and accents of pistachio and mulberry. Sounds like a vacation.

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photo 1 (3)One of the things that took me away from my bedroom project was spending a day with my Dad. My parents are in their late 80s and I don’t know how much longer I’ll get to enjoy them, so the chance to hang out with Dad was something I couldn’t pass up.

My Father served in the United States Air Force just after World War II and he loves anything related to aviation. We were invited to attend a reception at an air strip about 45 minutes from his house where a Sabreliner Jet had been donated to an Aviation Maintenance Program. My sister works for the college that runs the program and she knew Dad would love being in on the action.

He did, and so did I. Dignitaries from the college and the community welcomed the addition to the school’s hangar in fine fashion with speeches, photographs and food. Dad wandered around taking in the displays and inspecting the aircraft housed inside the school’s hangar and outside on the airstrip. He had his photo taken next to the jet and inside a fun mock-up of a tiny airplane (8)

The highlight of Dad’s day was probably the conversation he had with one of the students, a high school senior who intends to join the Marines. Dad enjoys sharing the fact he worked on B-29s in the same squadron which provided the Enola Gay, the aircraft that bombed Hiroshima in World War II. The young man was a willing audience as Dad reminisced and, when they parted, Dad wished him well. We calculated that Dad began his own training to become an aircraft mechanic 68 years ago this summer, when as a wet-behind-the-ears 18-year-old he followed his brother, Bill, into the Air Force.

(Dad and I wrote a little book with his stories about serving in the United States military, as well as his memories of growing up in a small town during The Great Depression and working for the United State Post Office. Read more about “One Man’s Work” here. Copies are available here or by messaging me.)

So, does my bedroom redo have anything to do with spending the day with my Dad? I think so.

Putting some time and effort into this most neglected room in our house is something I should have done a long time ago. A couple’s bedroom ought to be a haven, a pleasant place of peace and comfort. Ours had become a catch-all for things I needed to discard, and with the outdated decor and miss-matched furniture, it looked like we just didn’t care. We do. So I made it a priority.

I’m also trying to make time with my family a priority, especially my parents. They’re talking about getting their affairs in order and letting go of things they no longer need. Moving them from their little house in my hometown to a new apartment they don’t have to maintain is probably a step we’ll be taking soon.

There’s a lot we can find to do in life. Plenty of good and beneficial causes and committees and events. But the things that really matter when it comes to being thankful for what we have just might be as simple as redecorating your bedroom and hanging out with your Dad.




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