In my final two columns of the year, I traditionally share highlights from the past 12 months. Last week’s column featured lessons from the first half of 2017, when I bade goodbye to my Colorado house, got a puppy, and overcame my fear of foreign rug merchants. Here’s what I learned in the second half:
IN JULY I investigated a trend growing faster than corn in Kansas, all stemming from the pent-up need for the woman of the house to get some space. She sheds, small outbuildings that women create for their own purposes, were barely on the radar two years ago. Today a Google search surfaces millions of hits. I so get this.
The Lesson: Few forces in the universe are stronger than a woman’s desire for her own space. Whether a gardening shed, artist studio, yoga salon, home office, or sewing room, she sheds reflect this.
IN AUGUST, the house bug bit. I probably started it by throwing out some comment like, “I wish we had one of those big kitchens with a counter and barstools.” Rather than tell me to leave well enough alone, my husband, DC, added, “I’d like a yard for the dogs.” And the list grew.
The Lesson: Be careful what you wish for because there is a high chance you will manifest it. Of this I am certain.
IN SEPTEMBER Hurricane Irma blew through like a woman scorned and carved her destruction up the Sunshine State. Our heads shook like weather vanes as we tried to make sense of the wreckage. We stayed out of town for the brunt of it. The next day we came home to an intact house with power. I felt relief and guilt.
The Lesson: Gratitude. Disasters like Irma, Harvey and the California fires are reminders, whether or not you sustain damage, of how much we take home for granted.
IN OCTOBER My life was consumed by wood flooring, as I installed new, replaced old, and refinished existing — in two houses at once.
The Lesson: Owning a house is like having children: If we knew in advance all the pain, inconvenience and expense they would engender, we would be homeless or extinct. Wood floors are a great example: They’re expensive and time consuming to install, but their character, versatility, longevity and cleanliness make them worth it.
IN NOVEMBER I abandoned all concern for personal safety and literally picked up a complete stranger at a paint store and invited him to follow me home. Ladies, this is no way to choose a painter.
The Lesson: No matter how badly you want work done at your home, don’t let it trump personal safety. There are better ways to pick a contractor.
IN DECEMBER I learned the secret to a better life. I had volunteered to host a party, knowing that I would have only been in my new house for two weeks. DC worried it would be too much.
The Lesson. Care less. Entertain more. You only get now once. Happy New Year!