Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Ties That Bind Us

I get so many lovely messages daily from my friends asking me how I'm doing, really? And my answer the majority of the time is almost always the same, I'm fine. Really. But I have to admit if you asked me last Saturday, my answer would not have been fine, it would have been cranky. Actually pouty would have been a more accurate answer. I was pouty because I was here instead of being in Petawawa with my friends. When I said I was massively disappointed I had to postpone my trip I wasn't kidding. I was so looking forward to spending the weekend with my friends... countless cups of coffee, a G&T (or two, okay maybe three but no more, I swear I'm still nursing a hangover from New Year's Eve), lots of laughs and many hugs. On Saturday when I should have been flying to Ottawa, I was once again driving to Wolfville to try to sort out the never ending house building saga. And I wasn't happy.

If you have been following the progress (or lack there of) of my house you know it has been riddled with complications and delays almost from the get go. And for the most part I have taken it all in stride and dealt with it with a patience I never knew I had. But I can tell you by the end of last week I'd just about had it up to the roots of my slightly greying (I must make a hair appointment) curls with the whole damn thing. I was so not in the mood to deal with any more issues. 

And then I met the insulator John, and his Missus. I could feel my mood lighten as soon as I started talking to him. He was easy to talk to and I liked him right away. We commiserated about my builders (not surprisingly), we talked about the house, we talked about the weather.  And then he asked me how I was doing, really? He was genuinely concerned. And I was genuinely surprised because I hadn't told him why I had moved home. It turns out my brother had stopped by earlier and filled him in. As I was getting ready to leave John decided (after clearing it with the Missus of course) he was going to work for most of the day Sunday. I immediately offered to bring them coffee (it was the least I could do) in the morning, which surprised both of them. Nobody ever brings them coffee. 

I was there bright and early Sunday morning and by early I mean 9:30 am, coffee in hand. They had clearly been there working for hours. In fact they'd been there since 6 am. They'd left home at 4:30 am and driven an hour and half on a Sunday morning to work on my house. My house. I asked him why on earth he would do that. "Simple. You're living in limbo, you can't move forward with your life like that. You need your house finished so you and your kids can have your home back, I'm not going to be the hold up." Wow. What do you say to that?

As I was leaving he asked me if I missed my military family.  And then I knew what should have been so obvious all along. Why I'd found him so easy to talk to. Why he got up at o'dark thirty to come work on my house. John was retired from the forces, he had served for 20 years. "We're a family, doesn't matter when we served. We're family and family takes care of there own."  So very true.

I brought coffee to John and the Missus (and no I never did get her name though I asked) every morning this week, and I  talked to them while they worked. It turns out I'm the first owner they have ever met in 30 years. How crazy is that? He filled me in on all things insulation (for the love of God people, stop ruining your own houses by putting nails in the walls, it drives insulators crazy). We talked a lot about life in the military. The more it changes, the more it stays the same.  And because I really can't make this stuff up, we discovered he'd served in the Black Watch with my Uncle.

I invited them to come back for coffee the next time they are working in the area. John was quite choked up by that. They've never seen one of the houses they've insulated finished. I hope they come. But shit, I'm really going to have to figure out how to hang everything up without nails or I'll be in big trouble. They finished up this morning. I promised him I'd take care of myself, though he told me he knew I'd be fine "because I was a tough cookie." What a charmer. And then he hugged me goodbye. And while it wasn't the hug I was hoping for this week, it turns out it was just the hug I needed. 

My new friend John is right. We are all part of the same military family, no matter when we served, no matter where we served. The ties that bind us really are stronger than we realize sometimes. And it doesn't matter whether we are in Wolfville (ugh Canning), Petawawa, Fort Sill, Oklahoma or half way around the world, those ties are never broken. And this week I was lucky enough to have a 70 year old chatterbox on stilts to remind me of that.

“The ties that bind us to life are tougher than you imagine, or than any one can who has not felt how roughly they may be pulled without breaking.” ~Anne Brontë

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