Good Therapy

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Blog entry by NoLongerHere posted 09-24-2011 07:39 PM 1420 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The first day back from a too short vacation is always a tough one.

Vanity in production – laying on it’s back.

What is wrong with this picture?

So much to catch up on and no desire to start anything big. Not the first day anyway.

After all, there are materials to pick up, jobs to check up on, paperwork to shuffle through

and 2 golden retrievers that haven’t seen me, like… forever.

With a second cup of coffee in hand I started working in the office listening to the messages.

The first message was that the granite counter top for the vanity I’m building in the shop has arrived a week early. The next message is the client telling me the granite counter top has arrived a week early and

…. can you pick it up and install it right away?

So much for an easy 1st. day back. The paperwork can wait.

I decide to head to the shop and work on the cabinet. Good thing I made a full pot of coffee.

The cabinet, doors and drawer fronts were already completed and ready for paint. The next thing to do was finish making the dovetailed maple drawers. This is a part of the job I really enjoy.

I’d made all of the drawer sides before we left so it was just a matter of setting up my Porter Cable dovetail machine, plug in my dovetail router and make the 4 drawers…...piece a cake.

As I slowly pushed the router back and forth on the dovetail machine, I listened intently to the high pitched sound which drowned out the radio.

It was mesmerizing and put me kind of in a trance where my mind began to wander,

… thinking of everything that just happened over the last 3 days.

It seems like we have been in limbo, waiting for our lives to completely change.

For the last 20 years, we have been driving from Chicago to Keowee key, South Carolina to spend our vacations with Lynn’s parents at the lake house I helped design.

Before that, we spent most of our holidays and birthdays together when they lived near us in Lake Forest IL.

We vacationed at Marco island together, went on a Caribbean cruise and they’ve stayed at our house for a week at Christmas numerous times.

I never had this connection with my own family…. for religious reasons, if that makes sense.
They were my extended family and it meant a lot to me.

Every time we went down there on vacation, my father in law, Jim would talk to us about leaving the house to us to continue his dream of “waking up in paradise”.

Before he passed away he paid the house off and set everything up so that there were funds to take care of Lynn’s mom and Scott, her older brother who lost his job and moved in to the basement 6 years ago.
It was understood, we would buy out Scott’s interest in the house and he would buy a smaller house on the lake nearby that he said he really liked. We wanted to move there and keep the family house as it was, in memory of them and to continue sharing it with friends and relatives as a vacation spot, just like we enjoyed.


When Lynn’s mother passed away a year later, Lynn went there for 2 months to help her mother spend her last days at home with a view of the mountains and the lake instead of a nursing home. It was very hard as you can imagine. I was so proud of her.
6 months later, we were planning to go there for a 7 day vacation with Scott and to work out the final details.

But, we got a call from Scott telling us he was in ICU with “liver failure and almost died” from his drinking, so last Friday, we left early and drove 13 hours straight through to check on him, thinking the worst, and help out.
When we got there, he tells us mom changed the will and left the house, the 24ft deck boat, the family heirlooms, the gold coin collection, the cars,.... everything to him and that he’s known all along (1 1/2 years) but didn’t want to tell us until he was ready. He smuggly says,

“Sorry…. nothing I can do about it”
We put our suit cases back in the van and left. A 1600 mile, 30 minute vacation.

Big….Sigh. I’m glad it’s over. At least now I know. Put it in drive and go…..finally.

I’ve always said, “After all the remodeling we’ve done on our house, the only way I’d leave would be to move in to a Lake house like that.” See blog: Our first home.
So, we are staying here… in our own home. Good. I couldn’t be happier.
I can look at our house and say: “We did this. This is our life.”

Lynn and I have a great relationship and that’s all that matters. We have good memories of Lynn’s parents together with us and Scott can never take that away. The fact is, we have so much to be thankful for.

This is the first time I’ve ever routed a dovetail drawer on the wrong side.

I have to laugh at myself considering I routed and assembled all the drawers before I caught my mistake.
...... What was I thinking?
I’m sure I’ll find a nice project where I can use them so it’s really not a big deal… a nice reminder of what’s important.
I think I’ll call it good therapy.
Now if you don’t mind, I have a full cup of coffee in hand, a clear head, and 4 new dovetailed drawers to make.

I’m off to work in the shop!.... I am home.

9 comments so far

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3748 days

#1 posted 09-24-2011 08:24 PM

Thanks for posting. It shows how important dovetails are, and how unimportant other peoples’ activities are.

There are no accidents. Everyone creates his or her own realities.

God bless!

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3701 days

#2 posted 09-24-2011 10:23 PM

Nice dovetails, I like your puppy dogs.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3192 days

#3 posted 09-24-2011 11:46 PM

Gadzooks. I have to admit, some of the worst moments I endured in my life were over family issues, and the result of bad intentions. But there was never money involved. My folks were poor, and my wife’s folks about the same. Sherie’s mother lives in a house we built for her near Palmer, Alaska, about 40 minutes from here.

I am 70 years old, still working, and guess I will continue to do so. Never did learn to play golf. Maybe that is the reason….......(-:

My work is still a comfort and a purpose for me, although a little too stressful at times.

Glad you are back in the groove.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3492 days

#4 posted 09-27-2011 12:07 AM

I’ve not gone through the turmoil of life you have shared with us. I have had a few losses and disappointments over the years but overall a very happy and satisfying life. Your story highlights a realization I had a few years ago.
I know what it means to me better than I can write it down but I’ll give it a shot.
To be happy you have to be happy with where you are, what you are doing and to a lesser extent what you have. If you are never happy with what you have, family, wealth, possessions etc, and always want more then you will never be happy.
I know two beautiful children and a wonderful loving wife have made my life complete. All the rest is fluff and secondary to the family and personal acceptance. Hope this meant something to someone. It means a lot to me!
God bless you all.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3369 days

#5 posted 10-02-2011 12:16 AM

there is no place like home

glad you made it back

as far as those drawers go

now you have some good wood
for the next project

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2704 days

#6 posted 10-02-2011 04:08 AM

Hey guys, thanks for the replies.

Rich – ”Everyone creates his or her own realities.”
Well said. As a conservative business owner, I live by this motto and couldn’t agree more. I’m just glad I didn’t sit around in my parent’s basement waiting for beer money and a million dollar house.

Hi Jim – So sad that the people closest to you end up being the worst sometimes. The crazy part is I’m still worried about Scott. As a boss to many in my days, I’ve helped some of them deal with alcoholism.

Scott is sitting in a big house with a stocked bar and the only friends he has are at the bars. He is probably going to need some moral support and one hell of an attitude adjustment to be able to stop drinking after all these years. My wife, Lynn is the only family he has left…. and she is 20 yrs. sober and a sponsor.
I grew up fairly poor as well, and I think it helped to teach us to appreciate many things. A bigger house couldn’t possibly make us any happier. I’d be lucky to live out my days here working in my shop.

BTKS – I have to say, the thing that concerned me the most: – there was no place to put my workshop!
The basement was finished and the garage was too small. I don’t even think they would allow me to work out of the garage. All my tools would end up in storage or I would have to rent space nearby. no thanks.

There’s no work there anyway. I think I’ll stay here….. I’m quite happy with what I have.

Patron – Amen, my brother! No place like our Own home…that WE built.
Also, I’m planning on using the drawers in another cabinet already, so they won’t go to waist.

“It’s not a mistake unless you can’t fix it.”

Thanks again everyone,

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3192 days

#7 posted 10-02-2011 07:21 AM

...........I am sure I learned something here…........

Thanks for letting us into your life…........


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2704 days

#8 posted 04-04-2014 12:14 PM

915 days later: UPDATE

Well, well…amazing how things can change. Like Obama’s approval ratings.

Turns out, Scott went through all that money, never got a job, never paid the assessments or 20K in taxes,
and almost lost the house. We had to bail him out and now, we’re supporting this God Damn 60 yr. old liberal
that convinced mom to change the will because we didn’t vote for Obama.

We made him give back my wife’s half of the inheritance and now, we’re trying to figure out if we want to sell or move there. In the mean time, we got our summer home back….just got to clear out one big rat.

What goes around…... as they say.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3192 days

#9 posted 04-04-2014 11:35 PM

There is justice in this world…......although it can be hard to find at times….................


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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