Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Room.

Three or fours years ago we had the floors in the house refinished. We had to move everything out of the living room, dining room and the hallways and steps. We also had to vacate the house for several days when the work was done. The dust and the fumes made vacating the smart thing to do and our inability to walk on them made vacating the only thing to do. We stayed at a friends house across the bay and thoroughly enjoyed their swimming pool during our exile. When we returned, the place was gleaming.

At that time there was wall to wall carpeting in Maggie's room, so that was left undone. If I recall correctly, we took out all the equipment, covered the bed and dresser in plastic and sealed off the doors to the room to prevent that fine dust from getting everywhere. That was successful, though we gave it a thorough cleaning before putting Maggie back in there. (Fine dust and tracehstomies are a bad combo.) A year or so later it was clear that carpet had lived its useful life and we pulled it up. The wood floors in Maggie's room, which adjoins the dining room were in sorry need of refinishing.  The plan was to do it all again this time focusing on the bedrooms. But we never got around to it. The upstairs bedrooms aren't too bad, but Maggie's room with its constant use and punishment was kind of sad. Still with all that equipment and her giant bed and the area rug, the need to refinish the floors was mostly hidden from view.

After Maggie passed away we returned or donated the equipment and gave the bed to a friend who also has a disabled child. Suddenly there was a room available, but we didn't have the heart to do anything about it. The giant storage shelf stayed put as did Maggie's dresser. The chair the nurses used sat empty in this half empty room. The condition of the floors became obvious as did the need for a paint job. Each of the levelor blinds had at least one broken slat because Maggie thought it was hilarious to yank on those things as hard as she could. (That still makes me laugh.) Since there is no longer a need for privacy in that room, I just left them fully opened, that way the damage was not as visible and the room was filled with light.

 In the last few weeks, Steve has attacked that room head on. He took down the storage shelf and the broken blinds,  he moved the remaining furniture into the dining room and refinished the floors using his belt sander. We closed it off and he put on the several coats needed to make it gleam. Once that was done, he painted the room, removing the marks where the lift once hung from the ceiling. He put the area rug back in along with the chair the nurses used. The intention was to get the rest of the stuff out of the dresser and put that somewhere else, but I just put it back in the room for now. One can only handle so much change at once.

The plan is to put my desk back there and stop working at the dining room table. The problem is the desk is completely covered with papers and crap upstairs and I refuse to move it until that's cleaned off. I may accomplish that with a sweeping arm motion and deal with the ramifications later, but I haven't done anything yet. Part of me hates changing the room and part of me can't wait to sit right where Maggie's bed was and continue to draw inspiration from her.

We were afraid to make the changes to her room. We had enough change. But now that the work is done, it feels great. It doesn't feel like we violated a sacred space, in fact just the opposite. It is still "Maggie's room."  It is sunny and bright just like she was.

Here is the space with Maggie trying to escape from her giant bed.

And here it is now, freshly redone with Georgie curled up on the rug. Maggie is there, believe me. 

I will sit just about where her feet are sticking out of the bed in the second picture. She will keep kicking me forward. 

And that is ok with me.


  1. Why is changing a room so difficult? You can move a thousand miles away and Maggie will still be with you. Your redecorating looks warm and inviting. I'm sure Maggie would have liked this space.

  2. Yes, Maggie is there, in that warm, sun-slanted room.


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