Ever tried to fix something around the house, thinking it would be easy? Bill Bonikowsky did, too. And after he got things straightened out with his wife, he wrote about his experience….
It began as an innocent project. Well-meaning. Possibly heroic. My wife Joy was out of town and I thought I’d have a little Mother’s Day surprise waiting when she returned. Our bathroom floor was in a state of worsening decay, getting spongier by the week.
I’ve got five days before Joy returns, I calculated. I’m going to redo the bathroom!…
Our home was 25 years old. The upstairs bathroom contained the only tub and shower in the house. During years of enthusiastic showering, bathing and splashing by three growing boys and their parents, water had surreptitiously leaked through a crack in the caulking where the linoleum met the base of the tub, causing the sub floor to rot. It was becoming harder to ignore that sinking feeling when you stepped from the tub onto the disintegrating floor. With two of our home’s five inhabitants out of town, I decided to seize the day.
At first, all went well. Ripping things apart gives a man a sense of accomplishment. But even that wasn’t peaches and cream. To fix the floor properly, the tub had to be removed. But in order to access the tub, I had to rip out the wall tiles and underlying drywall.
While I was at it, I noticed the wall opposite the vanity, to which the previous owner had nailed tongue-and-groove cedar strips. Few things can match the warmth of Western red cedar, but through the years it had accumulated enough coats of paint to disguise its original identity. In short, it was ugly, and my wife had often wished out loud that we could get rid of it.
Aha! The time is now, I thought as I grabbed the wrecking bar….
Worried about staying healthy? While the rise in obesity and diabetes is scary, it's very hard for a person with no athletic genes to stay fit – or ever get fit in the first place. Kimberley Payne once thought she was a hopeless case, but getting pregnant with her first child led to some new discoveries….
There's an old saying that you'll never really understand another person until you walk a mile in his shoes. Adele Simmons looks back at a time in her life when she did the right thing, no matter what others might think….
"The Bulletin Board," by Adele Simmons
I’m standing in a corridor near the bulletin board where marks are posted. It’s January, and I’m a student at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. I’m a psychology major, minoring in biology. Sheets of paper cover the long cork bulletin board. The page I want is Developmental Psychology 201.
Dr. Miller is the prof. He’s good. He isn’t just book smart, he’s people smart. He bridges the gap of knowledge by checking where we are in our comprehension and taking us, step by clear step, to his point. He explains thoroughly and has high expectations of us.
I should ace the course—I’m an honours student. But I’ve had some challenges lately.
Students crowd the hall. The keeners jockey to get close to the bulletin board to check their marks. Cheers and curses mingle in the anxious mêlée. As the crowd clears, my best friend, smart Jan, and I find ourselves in the front.
There’s her name… Yes! Jan gets an A. She’s a humble friend. Smart, but humble. No boasting.
There’s my name down with the Ss. I get a C. Humiliating.
Jan wraps a comforting arm around my shoulders. She makes no fuss, but encourages me. “You’ll pull it back. He has no idea…”
Ever had a trivial experience remind you of something more momentous? A lost scarf leaves Vilma Blenman in tears as she thinks of other losses in her life…
"Lost: One Green Scarf" by Vilma Blenman
I definitely left it with my coat, but it’s definitely not there when I go to leave. I shake out the coat sleeves, look under the rack with its one remaining jacket, and check behind my boots. At the suggestion of one of my group members, I retrace my steps to the large meeting room where we had just finished three hours of volunteer facilitator training. I know it won’t be here. I had chosen not to wear it into the room, but I check anyhow. No scarf.
A familiar emotion sweeps over me. It’s the fear one feels when suddenly, inevitably, one encounters an acquaintance from one’s multi-storied past, but is unsure what to say, knowing it will be either an awkward encounter, or a cathartic one, or both. It’s the fear that begins in the lower entrails and moves swiftly up to the rib cage, then upward to the throat, tightening its grip as it climbs. It’s the fear that something significant that was, will be no more. Something vital to me is lost….
Life consists of stages. Enjoy this short story of a woman who felt apprehensive about becoming an empty-nester with nothing meaningful to do when her youngest child left home.
"What’s Next?" by Jayne E. Self
It had been two days since my husband and I had pulled away from the campus parking lot, our youngest daughter, Lucy, growing smaller and smaller in the car’s rear view mirror. Last of three kids to leave the nest, she’d been eagerly anticipating this day for months. I, however, had been dreading it.
Dave reached across and squeezed my hand. “She’s going to be fine.”
I leaned my face against the cool car window. “But will I?”
“Are you crazy?” Dave’s gaze flashed towards me. “This is going to be great.” He pulled our car onto the expressway, quiet for a moment as he concentrated on merging with the traffic. “The house to ourselves. The fridge to ourselves. No late night phone calls from her friends. Lower hydro bills without all her computer time.” His eyebrows arched rakishly. “Clothes optional any time we want.”
Great. In one fell swoop I’d gone from full time parent, with its endless demands, to full-time Bunny. I glanced down at myself; I supposed I should have felt thankful he still found me enticing…