Last weekend Ted and I took the boys up to Scotland for a short break with Forest Holidays. We were gone for four days and just after we arrived I received a text from my friend Emma to say that a suspicious looking man had been seen loitering outside our back gate at home. Unable to do anything much about it myself I phoned my mum to see if she’d call round to mine after work, just to give the place a look over. She said she would and asked for Emma’s address, which I assumed was so that my mum could ask Emma more about the dodgy dude hanging around the street.
Fast forward four days and I arrive home.
We have two back doors at home and we obviously lock them when we’re not there. On our return from Scotland though we found that the outer back door hadn’t been locked. I had received a call from my mum asking if we’d like her to drop round some pizza for tea so I figured she’d been and struggled to lock the door behind her; it can be temperamental at times.
What I didn’t expect was to come home to a completely redecorated, refurnished house.
Without me knowing, my family had spent months planning to use our time away to let themselves into my house and change it from this…
My lounge was tired, outdated and fast becoming a depressing sight. I’m not terribly good at decorating, nor was I in any way motivated to make improvements to a home I’d long since fallen out of love with. I was at the point where I never spent any real time at home because I hated looking around and seeing nothing but jobs to put on the to-do list I never worked on. Ted works long hours and is away often, so the time we do have together is spent with the boys, cramming fun into every hour we can. It isn’t spent decorating and is rarely even spent in the house. We’re an outdoor kind of family and it’s easy to push things like DIY out of your mind when it isn’t staring you in the face. Being overwhelmed with a job list you don’t have the confidence to tackle is pretty depressing, and maybe my family could see that in me.
I cried when I saw the lounge. The old, mismatched sofas were gone, replaced by modern and matching furniture and the worn carpet was a thing of the past. The wallpaper I’d picked out a couple of weeks ago was no longer just a photo on my mobile but really there in my lounge with matching cushions, curtains and rug. It was like walking into someone else’s house. Someone who loved where they lived.
I cried some more when I saw that not only had they completely revamped the lounge, they’d carried on and painted the stairs and the landing too. The bannister was clean, crisp white and not the kind-of-white-but-a-bit-chipped I’d left it four days earlier. From plain magnolia walls complete with kids hand prints, the stairway was transformed with cool grey colour and a white framed collage of family photographs. Everywhere I looked there was something new to be thankful for.
They even chose some word art that I would have chosen for myself. I do like to be as positive as I can about every aspect of my life, and this phrase is one that I would agree with. I had let the house get me down and it was pretty much the only thing in life that I felt I couldn’t tackle.
The one room I hated the most though was the bathroom. I had attempted to paint it myself but hadn’t used the right kind of paint for a room that gets damp so often and it was so patchy I could hardly bear to be in there.
Not a place for a calming bubble bath – five minutes in the shower was more than enough time to look at those walls. From now on though I’ll be making a long hot soak more of a priority…
I can’t really explain how lucky I feel today. My family and friends are truly wonderful people and I’m so grateful just to have them in my life. Nobody needed to do this for me, I didn’t ask for it and I certainly didn’t expect it. That’s what makes them so wonderful though; they have all taken time off work to work so, so hard on something they will gain nothing from for themselves. An act of kindness like that can only be done by very special people, and I’m fortunate enough to have many special people in my life.
Thank you Mum, Cath, Hayley, Naomi, Lynn, Shirl, Lorraine and Dora. I love you all.
Someone pass me a tissue?