The angels returned to the Grange House this past weekend. (For those of you Dr. Who fans, no, it wasn’t the angels who took Manhattan.)
These angels came from Goderich, Toronto, Port Perry, Caledon and Waterloo. Arriving in the middle of the pouring rain, these angels came when I asked for help. I guess that is just what angels do.
I had no closet in this house. I mean, no where to hang my clothes, no where to store things other than the basement (that requires opening a door in the floor and climbing down). The sliding glass door in my bedroom no longer sealed and cold air blew through all the time, and if it was removed, it could house a closet. A call went out a few weeks ago, and was answered by this host of angels. They arrived with hammers, and nails, paint supplies and drop cloths; a trailer filled with wood and every tool imaginable. They brought beer, wine, laughter and energy and more, and before I knew it, an entire workshop was constructed on my front porch!
Rory and I started the weekend by cleaning the clothes out of an old wardrobe next to the damaged sliding door in my bedroom. Before the first pot of coffee was on, Brian had arrived and was up on the roof, cleaning the eaves troughs. Tony followed close behind and the two of them were a human wrecking crew, pulling out the doors and then hammering the boards…in the blink of an eye, a new wall was built.
While this was going on, Anastasia and Scott were mudding and priming, and the dirty, nasty paint in my kitchen and bathroom was disappearing.
Dave put his larger than 6 foot frame inside the wee room under the stairs, and vented the dryer, then installing a plexiglass window upstairs. Vito managed to install a mount for my TV, and figure out how to fix my kitchen door.
There was perpetual motion in every room, with me, running around like a chicken with my head cut off, making coffee, sandwiches, finding hammers, running errands from one person to another, and generally being completely useless but very, very enthusiastic.
This remarkable crew of friends, who didn’t know each other prior to their morning coffee, worked all day Saturday, with 4 of them spending the night, and getting up and doing it again the next morning. “Fruit coloured paint” was applied to the kitchen, the bathroom actually looked refreshing, and the closet was a work of art. The temperature dropped outside, but the laughter inside kept us all happy and warm. Admittedly, I wavered between laughing at Brian’s crazy comments, puzzled about everyone’s dedication and commitment, and struggling with tears of gratitude.
It was quite a time.
I learned so much this weekend. I learned how to make long, careful brush strokes and and the difference between primer and paint. I learned about fuses and power saws. But mostly, I learned about these things:
- New friends are remarkable: I play fiddle with Anastasia. We’ve only known each other a short while, yet she has given me three days of her life to clean, weed, haul garbage and paint…in fact, at the end of the day Sunday, I just sat and drank wine while she finished the kitchen. I know Jean and Michael from my yoga class. Jean ran the 10K race at the Zoo on Saturday in the rain, came home and dried off, then came over here and worked. Michael arrived with Jean and then went and did all my grocery shopping. These are new friends who have given me their time and care. My message to you is cherish your new friends , because it isn’t the length of time that you know them, it is the quality of time that makes a difference.
- Old friends are remarkable: Scott and I have been friends forever. He splits his life between his home in Bragg Creek, Alberta, and a little apartment in Waterloo. He has no time to himself and he travels non-stop. Yet he gave me two days to help mud walls, sand and paint. Tony and I are fishing and working buddies, and never once have I ever heard him say “No, Susan, we can’t do that”. He just grins and figures things out, and we end up laughing, whether we’re in a boardroom or on the river. He partnered up with Brian to design and build the closet, and then went around to find other things that I needed done, and he did them. Cherish your old friends, because they are a gift that keeps on giving.
- Trust your friends: Kathy MacDonald and I are two peas in a pod, according to Kathy’s husband Brian. Their dog Rolo was injured and Kathy stayed home in Goderich to care for her. But Brian went out early Saturday morning, bought lumber, loaded his trailer with every single tool known to man, and drove over here to undertake this construction job with nothing more than a hug and a big thank you. He made me laugh, he fixed my eave troughs, he worked with Tony and built my closet,
and not once did he stop smiling. This was the first time I’d spent time with Brian without Kathy. I always trusted her judgement, but picking Brian was a thing of brilliance on her part!
On Monday, I visited my Dad in Burlington. As usual, we went out for lunch and worked on solving all the world’s problems. We reflected on the tragedy in Nairobi, and my father said he was saddened by the cruelty in the world. I agreed in principle, but then shared my belief that there is goodness, kindness and selflessness all around us if we chose to find it. Indeed, I was surrounded by it all weekend.
9 angels. One is related to me by birth, and the other 8 are related to me in spirit. I know for a fact that everyone is surrounded by angels. You don’t have to look very far to find them. And for two days in September, they came and filled this house and my heart with their joy.
It was quite a time.