Sweat Equity

So this blog is not in any kind of order really it is a stream of consciousness while I try and get thru this grief. So many days lately I am just more gutted than ever. But as I said to Lindsey one day very early on, “we don’t pout, we work the problem”
I note that so many of the things that I said which she Always thought were so profound are the very things I needed to hear when I said them out loud to her. Many of them I need to hear so desperately right now………..
This entry sorta follows this: A Man Can Always Dream….
If you wanna read that first and come back to this or you can be like me and just be random and go with it :~)

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Below the text is a few images of before and after of the bathroom


Sweat Equity

I really had no idea that Lindsey and I were so much alike when I first started dealing with her and talking with her.
Her little dog Armstrong has a lot of trouble with meeting a new person and he went crazy barking at KC. Lindsey had just gotten home and was still in her light blue scrubs and her hair was unruly. She quietly knelt down and called Armstrong over and then gently but firmly laid him down on his side and restrained him with care and asserted her leadership and control over him without ever missing a beat. He had her attention because he needed it and KC and I just looked at each other and marveled a bit because she was just so cool about this little meltdown he was having. In just a minute she allowed him to get up after his attitude changed. I was very impressed that she didn’t use any anger toward him or carry on like it was any big deal and I loved how she helped him thru it. I have had very assertive dogs too and it made an impression on me seeing her deal with Army so well.

That first initial meeting in her kitchen we also walked thru the basement to see the water supplies and drain lines. Her first floor was a mess! I noted that she was more into LIFE than having everything be perfect in her new little duplex.

Standing there in her kitchen she was asking us what we thought a ballpark figure for the remodel would be. We gave her just a very rough idea of the costs involved in the materials and the labor.

Other observers of this part of the story really did not get the nuance of what I meant when I asked her a simple question during this part of our meeting. I said,  “ Lindsey would you like to provide some sweat equity and save yourself quite a nice little sum of money?”

I had no idea that she would Love this idea. Or that she frequented many 2nd hand stores and was already familiar with the Re-Store where one could buy all manner of things donated from remodeled houses and businesses that had been gutted.People donate cabinets, appliances, water heaters etc. She was a fanatic about recycling and reusing things and also giving away things she no longer needed.

It wasn’t “sneaky or underhanded” to ask her about sweat equity it was something I do from time to time. I Hate cleanup and demo work. I have done a Lot of it the last 20 years and anytime I can have it done by others that is fine with me.

I did know that to perhaps have a shot with her , to Break the mold of getting to know her that sweat equity would give us Both real insight into each other without all the pretense and charade of the online dating world. We Already knew we liked each other a bit from our meetings at her houses where I did some repair work for her as well as another time that same August (2013) that a group of us went to a drive in movie. Lindsey invited me to join her, Annie, Charlie, Amara, Dean & Marie we had a blast. We got to the movie way early so we could tailgate and we cooked burgers and brats on the tailgate of my pickup and chips and salsa and a couple adult beverages too. I noted that Lindsey was a bit reserved that night and really she didn’t even talk to me all that much. She never took off her sunglasses even after dark which I thought was odd. I know everyone there except me likely thought it related to her migraines or just another quirky trait of Lindsey. Later while driving home though I thought about how I felt about her the first time I met her and wondered if perhaps the sunglasses were because maybe just maybe she didn’t want her eyes to betray what her heart was feeling!
The night of May 2nd she revealed to me after that first kiss that my suspicions were right.

So the sweat equity question seemed a perfect way to get to know her in a Real and organic way, cut through all the bullcrap of dating and get some things going with our friendship and with her bathroom.

She asked me what sweat equity meant in this particular situation. I said well you would clean up the debris each day after we were done with work. Pick up the large pieces of ceiling tiles , the steel, the old piping, the old flooring and put it all into the large contractor bags. Then help me load them into my truck and take them to a drop off site.  Also there would be at least 2 big half day long trips going out to get all the materials.

Lindsey and I got to working on the place March 25, she had already made a big mess tearing out the funky acoustic tile drop ceiling and had made a few holes in the drywall with a hammer. She was quite pleased to have started tearing the thing apart. Her and Laura had agreed that they could use the showers at their gyms for a few weeks as long as we set the toilet back every day so they always had that working at least. I think I set and re-set the toilet about 6 times in all lol.

I had to laugh at the little thing she called a saw-zall as it was about the size of a big screwdriver. I of course had a big sawzall and she was thrilled when I asked her if she wanted to do some cutting on the walls with it. I took a few minutes to give her some safety lessons on how to cut into a wall safely. We donned some goggles and gloves and after I made a entry cut I stood behind and beside her and let her take the saw but assisted her and let her feel how it should react as she made the first cut into the drywall.
Lindsey was just giddy, feeling so much like I was treating her like a peer and an equal. She told me her dad never trusted her with tools and never took any time with her to teach her how to work with them. I enjoy teaching others how to do projects and like to help them do them safely since I have been injured dang near every conceivable way with a power tool thru the years.
I had no idea at the time that this made such an impact on her but it really won me some big points right from the start.

She Loved learning new things and more than anything she regarded me as being Patient with her. From those first moments her heart was beginning to see me in a new way.

Standing there close to each other, being almost the same height, dressed in jeans and tee shirts in that small space there were those same feelings of that initial meeting 7 months previous. We were clicking, we were talking, we were laughing, already doing things as a team and my God I was so happy to be in that space even as tragic as it looked. I could see all the way through to what it would look like when it was completed. I knew it would be beautiful.

After making the first cut and knowing there was no electrical wiring or water pipes in that area I gave her the saw and held her hands as she got a feel for it. Then I just stood close by and offered suggestions on her technique. She listened and did as I suggested. The smile she wore was priceless while running the saw. Her sense of involvement and accomplishment was evident. The smile on her face, covered with dust and sweat, was beautiful. We were having fun even while working hard. I had these awkward feelings initially being this close to her and not wanting to betray on my face anything more than professionalism and I succeeded simply because at my age I can sorta like someone and yet never have it show. I never wanted her to feel like it was anything more than just what it was, me helping her do something new and to do it safely.

All the way home from that initial time with Lindsey I just had such a neat feeling of the comfort we had with each other. That initial crush was proving right to me, I liked every little thing about her. She could easily admit when she did not know something. She asked for and received my advice. She wanted me to make so many of the decisions but I refused to do anything without talking it through with her. We were equals already, and she began to dream and laugh. She laughed when she made a mistake and we laughed together about everything and we just talked. It was relaxed and easy like we had known one another for many years. I was just amazed at her maturity.
It felt so very good to be appreciated and have my skills valued by her. I  just had a feeling that I wanted to know so much more about this young woman with the biggest eyes I had ever seen and a heart forward way of living her life.

Each of us in the next few days and into the second week would ask her room mate Laura questions about each other. We began to either hurry over to the job to be there and intersect, or one of us would wait around till the other arrived just so we could catch a few minutes with one another. We would always say it was to discuss some decision that needed to be made but later we admitted to each other we just wanted to be together.

By the end of the first week it was approaching the time when we needed to go and get all the materials needed to finish the project. The framing was done by KC. The moving of all the water supplies and drain connections were at least planned out and KC was ready for the tile. Saturday April 5th was the first day we spent a whole day together. The day before I asked her if she would like to come over to my house for coffee and bring Armstrong over for a play date with my dogs Woody and Fiona while we were out hunting and gathering for her bathroom.

She arrived that morning and we had coffee and talked about the bathroom, the tile choices and grout and paint ideas.  I showed her my home and all the work i had done on it through the years. Then we visited a friend of mine who owns quite a few duplexes and saw a bathroom he had just about finished tiling. The tile on the floor was one that I had suggested we use too after seeing it in his bathroom earlier that week. I asked Dan him if I could bring Lindsey by to see it too. I knew too that Dan and Lindsey would hit it off because nothing excited Lindsey quite like real estate and Dan has been buying and rehabing homes for years.

She loved the tile Dan had put down in his rental unit. I was hoping she would after seeing it in person. I had suggested it or something like it. Initially Lindsey thought she wanted something very much different. So when she decided to go with it after seeing it in Dan’s place it helped her trust my ideas, but I never made any choice in the project or really anytime after that during our life together without talking it thru with her. I would make suggestions in a very hands off manner and the choice and ownership of it were hers alone or ours together. When I came up with the initial design layout and showed her the plan it was her decision to move forward with it. There were many little things that KC or I made happen without even running it by Lindsey because she just trusted us implicitly.

We went to Home Depot and to The Stone Source and The Tile Shop and just had a wonderful time getting supplies and making plans and sharing old stories with a new friend.

I was establishing something Intentionally with her from the very beginning. It made an impact on her and how we dealt with one another later on. We were Equals. And when possible we preferred each others opinion on something. We could be excited to pick up the idea of the other person and just run ahead with it, take it even further than the one who offered it in the first place.The whole day was just so casual. We enjoyed each others company so much. Even on that first day were glimpses of what would become our hallmark: Comfort.

I do not know anyone I have ever been more comfortable with than Lindsey Rae. She had a carefree-ness to her and never judged anyone or had a crappy thing to say about people. We were together about 6 hours. When we got back to my house and she left in her car I realized that there were whole spaces of time especially while driving that neither of us was talking. It was mutual. We did not need to fill up a beautiful silence with constant chatter. But even in that we were Communicating. We were comfortable just being together.

As she drove away she gave a shy smile and then a little wave and pulled away from the curb.

I turned and went back inside and realized I missed her already.

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