Thanks for checking into my blog!

As a "recovering" middle school teacher with a unique outlook on life, I stopped active teaching in 2010 and moved into another career path... writing! Here goes! In addition, I am a travel buff, forever baseball addict, movie fan, music fan, foodie extraordinaire, NCIS devotee, gardener, and more.

Just love writing for kids, travel writing and basic journalism. Pretty unusual, since I taught Home Economics! But there's a story here too - a non-fiction one or more...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

....On the Eve of Destruction

Rule # 15 -  Write your observations

It begins. 


The crash starts at 8:30 am on a Monday morning with the demo of the old kitchen. Everything goes. Some of it was already donated.

And the process still totally amazes me!

And it got me to thinking, too, how easy it is to take something down, or out.

Our contractor scheduled 2 days for demolition of the old kitchen. We started with the carpenter ripping out the cupboards, a wall, and fixtures. He had everything out in one day. He even got it all to the dump and cleaned up his mess, too. One day! Easy, right? Next day the guys from the flooring contractor ripped out the tile and carpeting, and cleaned up after themselves, too. One day and done! The wallpaper came down on Wednesday morning. And that was it!

Forty years ago all that kitchen stuff was new, state-of-the-art, and sparkling. Now it was dust and garbage. Way too easy!

When I watch the home dec shows on HGTV or DIY, the owners always say the demo is such a satisfying thing to do. Just think… you smash! You take a sledge hammer to a wall and beat the stuffins’ out of it. It’s more stress relief than a Whack-a-Mole game on the Boardwalk.

It made me think… if tearing down stuff is this easy, how easy is it to tear down a relationship? Seriously, how many of us took one second and then regretted what we said or did because it tore someone down? The kitchen demo can be turned around and fixed. “I’m sorry” doesn’t always fix relationships. It doesn’t always fix events.

Back when I was still a classroom teacher, I heard way too many kids pump out “I’m sorry” as a reflex. They would say something, see the reaction and then apologize.  The problem was, the kids never changed their behavior patterns or attitudes.  They continued to act like jerks and apologize, thinking that all was well. What was the point of the apology then?

An “I’m sorry” without a change in behavior or attitude is no more than hot air and empty words… and there’s enough of that going around.

That was a difficult concept to hammer into a pre-teen’s head. Or a teenager’s, for that matter. Or many adults, to add insult to injury. Even my own rather thick, Irish-German skull… 

When I look at our construction schedule, there are 2 ½ days allotted for demolition and 3 ½ weeks for the rebuild, with an extra 2 weeks added in for settling and “surprise issues”.  Easy take-down, but hard to rebuild. And a process that takes a long time to complete.

I have lots of friends who have gone through relationship issues. Some divorced and called it quits. Some stuck with the relationship to try to work things out. In both scenarios, trust was the ultimate victim of the behavior choice. After the behaviors tore down the relationship, neither person in the relationship could trust the other for a long time… or ever again. I saw that with parent-child relationships, too. The child got involved with a bunch of loser friends, started taking the parents’ love and bail-out acceptance for granted, and the parents could never trust their own child again. Love may still have existed. Bailing out may still have continued. But trust died a nasty death on the altar of  “It’s all about ME”. Sometimes trust came back, but it took a long, long time.

It takes 3 minutes to lose someone’s trust. It takes a lifetime to regain it. Trust has friends like loyalty and fidelity. Without these, there is no trust.

So the demo of the kitchen is done. Now I have to trust that the crafts people know what they are doing as we rebuild. I have to trust their skill and expertise to have my plans come to fruition. And I have to trust that I will not interfere with their work. My husband and I decided long ago, that this job was a pro job. For the most part, the skills needed were beyond our do-it-yourself skill set. Now to trust…


Flashback to teaching again… My eighth grade kids did a career unit. We used a curriculum plan called “The Real Game” to help them learn job acquisition skills and how to live within their means, among other things. It was always an eye opener for both the kids and myself. I could never get over the idea that kids literally fought to be the doctor, lawyer, or politician in the job community we established, because of the money or fame factors. No one wanted to be the carpenter, or the plumber, or the auto mechanic, or the electrician - the get-your-hands-dirty jobs. They had the idea that you got into those jobs only if you flunked out or dropped out of college. They were convinced that you were not smart enough to go to college if you got into those types of trades. Then we looked at the education needed for the trades and compared it to a college degree ladder. Full master trades people have an education in their field that is equivalent to a PhD. And they have experience in their field. And they have already used their education to make money in their field. And they tend to be able to charge their job worth for their labor. That’s more than many college grads can say, even today. It took a while for them to get the idea that EVERY job - as well as every person IN the job - in a community is valuable, not just the high paying ones.

I wonder how many still get that point. Schools don’t seem to, especially when they take the trades out of the building’s total curriculum, and shove kids toward a 4-year degree, whether the kid likes it or not.

Well, now the rebuilding process starts. And I totally trust the crafts people coming into my house and working on it. I am in awe of their knowledge. I will try to snatch tidbits of “how-to” from them as they work. I need to watch the masters at work.

Wish me luck!

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