Making Do...a Lesson in Gratitude

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