Calm — The Payoff Of Hard Work

Ahhhh … that feeling one gets when a houseful of people leaves after six days or so and suddenly those noisy two children you’ve had living with you for 12½ and nearly 10 years, respectively, don’t seem quite as high-volume as before.


Quiet. That’s what I encountered when I got home from The Globe for Wednesday dinner. It was something. It helped, indeed, that Grace was at a friend’s house and Zach was tucked away in the basement family room playing video games with a neighbor, but upon hearing the house and hearing virtually nothing I plopped myself down on the couch in our entryway and simply took in that peaceful, easy feelin.’ Bec came in to chat, and it was simply pleasant to hear each other without other voices clamoring over or around us.


That said, I don’t want to imply that having the aforementioned houseful was unenjoyable. Far, far from it.


From the moment I met them, Bec’s parents have consistent shown both kindness and generosity toward me. That, unsurprisingly, has extended to our family, and to say that Bec and I and the kids have been beneficiaries of their giving is certainly an understatement. The latest example: how many retired couples would drive in the neighborhood of 400 miles to spend a few days in hot weather painting a deck?


While I sat in my Globe office and tried to keep our latest twice-weekly editions somewhat organized, Bec and her parents worked up sizeable sweats painting. It should be noted that my in-laws had already been to Worthington a mere two weeks before for the scraping-old-paint portion of the job. Silly them; they came back — and I am exceedingly grateful.


With the exception of between 60 and 90 minutes on Sunday, the deck project was theirs. I would have done more on Saturday, but I had to spend a little time doing work duties at both the Regatta in Worthington and the Riverfest celebration in Windom. And that’s where I’ll pick up with the other wonderful component of our company.


Accompanying Bec’s parents on the trip her my two nieces, one 9 and one 6, who are being watched by their grandparents for the next month or so while their father serves his country in Saudi Arabia and their mother attends a professional class to further her career. I wound up spending a great deal of time with those kiddos — especially on Saturday, when I took them to Riverfest in the morning for a while and then to the Regatta in the evening (Grace accompanied us on both trips) while deck work continued without young-person interference. (I think Zach spent a good chunk of the day with friends, and he even helped a little bit outside at night.) It was simply marvelous to spend time with a couple of kids so excited to be with their uncle. The girls even wanted to go with me every time I took Benji for his twice-daily stroll around the block, which was fun simply because they enjoyed being with our little pooch (and perhaps me, a little) so much.


By Tuesday night, I think many of us were wiped out for various reasons. Monday was a lost day due to rain, so Bec and her parents consumed much of Tuesday getting as close to done with the deck as they could. I was mentally exhausted from a roughly 12-hour day on Monday, and then getting things ready Tuesday for our Wednesday Globe. The kids had been up late several nights in a row (mostly) enjoying each other’s company.


Ahhh … having family company was great, indeed. Probably even better than the quiet that followed, in fact.