Beauty from a “Beast”

THIS is the wood for the floors? I thought to myself, incredulous, horrified. It had to be the ugliest wood I’dever seen. Ragged ends, split and gnawed off, knot-holed. <Groan> What a mistake! A huge mistake. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up a bit.

We’re in the midst of a remodel. A big one. The kind that involves ripping out walls and endless clouds of sheetrock dust hovering in the air for a hundred years making it impossible to ever get it all cleaned up. I don’t recommend it unless you have a sadistic streak a mile wide. The process is guaranteed to erode your sanity. Even repeating your mantra of: “it’s going to look amazing” starts being more annoying than helpful.

After years of having carpet and vinyl floors, I knew I wanted wood, but I assumed we’d go the normal route… the easy way via Lowes or Home Depot or some other flooring place where you calculate your square footage and order enough boxes to cover it, plus a little more, just in case. But no. My husband had seen one of our customer’s floors done with reclaimed barn wood—his new obsession—and fallen in love. That’s what he wanted. Ok… I’d seen pictures and thought they were beautiful. Yes, we could do that.

Little did I know what we were getting ourselves into.

The night we met the wood supplier should’ve been a warning. He was late, and the longer we waited, the more clandestine this venture felt; akin to meeting a bookie to do some illegal gambling, or maybe, buying drugs. Not that I’ve done either of those things. Just saying.

We were meeting at a sawmill, out in the country where there was a kiln to “bug dry’ the boards, ridding it of any potential insects with an appetite for all things wood. When we finally saw headlight bumping along the gravel road, my palms started sweating. This was it.

My first glimpse was via illumination of our headlights, spotlighting the load of unpromising, scrappy lumber. My heart sank, but I encouraged myself that it would look better after it was dried, straight-lined, and tongue-and-grooved.

It didn’t, by the way.

When it was finally stacked in my garage, my opinion hadn’t changed. UGLY. Just plain ugly. My floors were going to look terrible. There was no way they could do anything with that pile of mess. What a fiasco… an utterly disappointing fiasco.

I lived through two days of being basically trapped in my bedroom while they laid the floor out to “acclimate.” That means, they puzzle-pieced the different width boards all across the open room, booby-trap fashion so you didn’t dare try to walk through the house in the dark. It would be like trying to tip-toe across piranha infested waters on small, slippery rocks. img_1735After two days, of endless banging, we left for a book event in Amelia Island, Florida. I was never so glad to get away, but the whole time we were gone, there was this niggling fear of what we’d face when we got home. The floors would be oiled and done… no turning back.

After an amazing time of relaxation, research for my next book (which will be set on Amelia Island), and making lots of new friends at the book festival, we made the seven-hour drive back to the mountains. The closer we got, the more nervous I became.

Then we were home. The moment of truth. I anxiously gnawed my lip. My husband swung open the door, and my jaw dropped.

What? How? Were we in the right place? These floors were GORGEOUS!!! Could this the same ugly wood a few days before? The answer was, yes. Somehow, someway, they’d turned that hideous “beast” into a stunning success. Those floor guys were miracle workers, and I mean that in the most literal sense. I felt myself sag with relief.

This little journey has taught me a valuable lesson. It takes a “master” to turn junk into a masterpiece. Vitaliy and his crew did that with my floor, but it’s what God does on a regular basis. We don’t have to be “A-list” material for God to use us, just willing and available. What a blessed thought. He has made every thing beautiful, in his time. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (even my floors.)  🙂

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