Everything in our house is breaking. Normally I would not mention these things, but since we are just breaking, breaking, breaking to pieces around here: these past few weeks, my socks all have simultaneously gotten holes, WallyV’s jeans have started to show their typical wear in the left knee (a problem since he turned two and began to enjoy the habit of crashing as hard as he could to one knee, I guess), my hair dryer started making funky sounds (my sister says it is warning me that it is about to explode in my hands and that I need to rid myself of it immediately…Help!), and our beloved Dyson has made a weak and quiet showing the past few cleanup attempts. Our lives have become the metaphorical version of Wally Ben’s left pant knee.

It all started last year around this time, when a leaking soffit revealed that our roof needed to be replaced. The workers managed to put the roof up in the warm weather right before Christmas. We told our kids that our house was not up to North Pole standards, so we were fixing it so it would be Santa-approved. I stopped just shy of asking the workers to wear elf costumes. I will show the kids the bill when they understand currency. They will believe forever.

Then we discovered we needed drain tile to keep our basement dry. If you haven’t gone through this calming and soothing process (*sense the sarcasm*), the gist of it is this—the ripping out of drywall, the jackhammering up of floors around the edge of your basement, the pouring of new concrete, the dust all left in its wake. And it cost a surprisingly lot to do this kind of destruction to our home. We jokingly called it remodeling phase one.

During all of this our dryer stopped heating up. The wet clothes would spin and spin, and become nary the dryer. To be fair, this was a break that I have been waiting for since the day we moved in. The washer and dryer are both clearly 70s era, with rust spots, simple button dials, strange mildew smells, and the loud ka-chunk, ka-chunk, kachooga of being hard at work echoing throughout the house. When the dryer broke I was a little bit “not now!” but mostly “at last my dreams have come true! Good riddance!” When the new washer and dryer were delivered, I could not get over the features. I felt a little like I had travelled back to the future with my reactions to the new tech—What? Washers and dryers are like this now? Huge basins that fit 3 times what our old machines did with warnings not to crawl inside! Digital cycle selections! And best of all, clothes that came out smelling and feeling so beautifully clean! Honestly—I watched the washer drain the rinse cycle water into the utility sink and it was brown. Our clothes have not truly been clean in years. Come find an Ottenhoff and smell us. You will love us even more.

We were also lucky enough to be able to do basement remodel phase 2, with the last step of new fresh carpeting coming next week. And it is better. It is all so much better than it was before. We have a playroom and a barn door! We have added so much functional space to our tiny little ranch. We have room to stay here as the kids get older. (And most importantly, we will not have to share a bathroom with a teenage boy in 10 years!)

We are scraping the bottom of the barrel here. We are fixing things way before we planned to (if we ever planned to). But I am wearing new socks. New clean and fresh socks that will stay new and fresh and clean, that I can wear in my new carpeted basement as I open the barn door for Vivvi so she can play down there this winter. And I can even see farther into the future—I can see Wally V moving down to the new room we’ve built down there. I can see husband Wally’s office up in Wally’s current small room, windows open, full of light. I can see husband Wally’s current basement office space as the extra living room it was meant to be, teenage Vivvi and I enjoying a 2020-decade version of Dawson’s or Felicity together where we will have a second TV to suit the tastes of a 4-person household.

I am surprised. I am used to planning, being frugal, being careful, being in charge of the steps that we take. I am used to hanging on tight. And yet, all of this unplanned, uncontrolled breaking didn’t break me. I would almost venture to say that it did the opposite. It filled me with hope. All I can keep thinking is, everything old will become new again.

It’s amazing what a new pair of socks can do for a girl.

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