When you bring effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens

Our story so far: The building inspector approved the rough-in in our renovation of the old Methodist church into a home.

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As we neared the end of the Framing & Mechanicals phase of construction, Tyler was on box seven of nails for his air nailer. A box, you might recall, had a quantity of two-thousand nails.

And two-by-fours? He estimated we’d used at least one-hundred-and-fifty in constructing walls and ceilings inside the church. The Framing & Mechanicals phase had dragged on nearly twelve weeks, four weeks longer than demolition which had felt like it would never end. We were excited for the phase that signaled the most dramatic physical changes in the church.

Besides nails, lumber and lassitude, a measure of the effort we’d put into our construction project was Tyler’s belt.

During the first three months, he tightened his belt by about a notch a month. By Month Four, he had to bore a new notch in his belt, and that was apparently still not enough. One day, he had one hand on his air nailer and the other on a ceiling joist to hold it in place while he secured it. In front of an audience of St. Johnny, the carpenter helper, our electrician and an HVAC guy, Tyler’s pants fell to his ankles.

He ho-ho-hoed his way through a situation that would have mortified anyone else, but thank goodness he was wearing his new, snugly fitting underwear.

Another measure of our effort? Splinters and gloves.

Tyler picked wooden splinters out of his digits nearly every night as he sat on the couch decompressing from another long day. I wasn’t so rugged; I wore gloves.

Tyler had purchased a big box of cotton brown jersey gloves for me and his hired man to use. They were handy (get it? Handy gloves?) but too big for my slender (some might say bony) fingers. During the demolition phase, I’d run across a pair of work gloves that had belonged to the “DCE,” as evidenced by the Sharpie marker labeling. The only DCE this Lutheran had ever heard of was the Director of Christian Education, so I imagined the Methodist DCE had left them behind. They fit perfectly, so I commandeered them.

Four months and countless nails, pieces of wood and rolls of insulation later, the seams began splitting. I’d never worn out a pair of work gloves before. Before the church, I’d never even owned a pair of work gloves. I was never a gardener, and my hobby involved using writing utensils, not hammers. When more of my fingertips were bare than protected, I complained to the foreman that I needed a new pair of gloves “like these,” I said holding up my threadbare DCE gloves. Two days later, Tyler returned home from another trip to Home Depot with not one, not two but three pairs of work gloves eerily similar to my DCE gloves.

I would not be able to complain about my work gloves again.

old and new gloves
My old gloves went into the trash right after I took this picture.

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Tomorrow: Last-minute installation. Read about it here.

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