It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves

Our story so far: We were slogging through the Drywall, Painting & Flooring Phase of construction in our church conversion project.

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Chapter 29

There comes a time in every mountain climb when exhaustion sets in and the craggy cliffs appear insurmountable. The ascent feels endless.

That time came for us in our renovation project when the days were literally the longest days of the year. They felt endless.

Our time of trial began innocently enough. With a few raindrops.

What’s a few raindrops? Into every life a little rain must fall. We’d already survived a spring hailstorm for the ages.

The summer rain accumulated into a flood.

Early on in demolition, we experienced water in the basement, a symptom of improper drainage and aging storm gutters. We replaced the gutters and thought we fixed the problem. Then a winter rainstorm came, and the furnace room got wet. Building a garage foundation should fix that, we thought.

But when the summer rain came, we hadn’t finished moving around all our fabulous dirt and instead of draining away from the foundation, the water drained right into the basement on the east side. And by the gas meter on the north side.

After a long day of sanding floors (a very long day), Tyler discovered lakes of water in the basement, one of them threatening my newly painted bathroom vanities. It was late, but still light(ish) outside. We slopped through the basement water, moving valuable items to dry ground.

The water in the vicinity of the vanities was blood-red.

Students of the Old Testament may recall that during Pharoah’s first plague, the water turned to blood.

This wasn’t a good sign.

pieces of vanity
Remember my painting parlor? Draped in red velvet?

The water in the basement was red because of my stupidity, not God’s wrath (at least, I don’t think so). I’d used the red velvet curtain that had once hung behind the altar of the church as a drop cloth, and as water puddled in the basement, the curtain soaked it up, dyeing it red. Why I was protecting the ancient basement floor that would be replaced anyway from paint drips, I still don’t know.

While Tyler squeegeed the water into the basement drains, I gathered up the curtain in a tub and lugged it outside. Sheets of rain continued to fall, and I nearly did, too, as I navigated the muddy yard to toss the tub away. I’m sorry the distinguished curtain that hung for so many years in the church and then served as splendid furniture blanket and drop cloth for us met such a lowly end, but it did.

That was Monday.

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Today’s headline is a quote from 20th century New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary.

Tomorrow: It’s gonna be that kind of week. Read about Tuesday here.

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