Friday, November 30, 2007

A Den for Christmas--Maybe

We’ve been to two middle school girls basketball games this week. Tonight we hurried back to pick up a prescription waiting at the pharmacy at Kroger’s. We weren’t sure it would be open, but we got there a minute or two before nine and were happy to see lights through the drive-in window. Interestingly, the sign in the window showed new closing hour as 10 p.m. We needn’t have hurried.

While we were feeling so buoyed up by our success, Gerald thought we might as well run out to another store as he needed a piece to finish up a project he has been working on. Our luck ran out there, however, as the workers had just locked up. Had we known the pharmacy was open until 10, we could have gone there first.

When we moved into this house in six years ago, we had a passel of little grandkids. After Gerald put in an outside shop building at the last minute, the area in the walk-out downstairs with a garage door that was intended for a shop was not needed for that. I immediately designated it the “art room” and put in an unpainted wooden door held up by a couple of unused low end tables. Surrounding it with small plastic chairs, the kids had plenty of room to draw or paint or cut or whatever messy idea they chose. The concrete floor could not be hurt. An extra fridge and a popcorn table was there for sodas and snacks.

The kids loved going there for many made-up games and projects. Although there is a tiny TV left over from someone’s dorm room or something, I don’t think the kids ever turned it on. They had written and colored all over the unfinished door; and when they finally got too tall for it, I still had a 13-year-old disappointed when he discovered it gone.

We had given an old kitchen table to a daughter, who no longer needed it. While remodeling their house, someone had broken off a leg. We took it back thinking Gerald could repair it and we could donate it to the Household Give-Away that the Marion Ministerial Association runs. Stuff is stored for those who need it at Community of Christ Church.

However, when we realized the low door needed to be replaced with a taller table, that repaired kitchen table was the answer. Adult chairs were substituted for the little red plastic ones. (Aidan found them and enjoyed them at Thanksgiving.) The growing kids continued to congregate in their special place.

With various electronic games becoming important to them, more and more they were hooking onto the family room TV with cords and junk all over the floor to trip the unwary. Their desire to watch the Disney Channel (not available on the little TV in the art room) competed with the fathers’ desire to watch ballgames. We had a problem. The youngsters had outgrown the “art room” although they still claimed it and used it. I decided we needed a teenagers’ den in there.

On one wall of this room, there was a wire shelf left over from the garage. Clothes could be hung underneath. That had gradually filled up with hunting clothes and old coats and sweaters for the occasional time kids might unexpectedly need a warm garment when they ran outside. Then I moved a bunch of “junk clothes” out of another closet so the kids could have “costumes” for the skits they sometimes create. Before I had time to act on the den project, that overloaded shelf fell down depositing a wall full of garments all over the floor. I piled them on the table and the “art room” was out of commission.

Since obviously the first clothes rack had failed, Gerald and I began to shop for more substantial closet equipment to put on that wall . After his lugging heavy boxes of pressed wood closets to the truck and then into the house, he started to put them together during the World Series only to find the first box did not contain the correct amount of hardware.

All those heavy boxes had to be returned. Actually, they had to be returned twice. The first time Gerald had to bring them back home for two weeks because I had written a check instead of using a credit card. While we waited, he came up with the idea of using extra paneling left over from the house to build closets on that wall. In addition to all his regular duties, he has been working on building the closets. It looks great and oddly makes the room look larger even though this takes up an extra 32 inches with its depth. The doors still must be varnished.

In the middle of the two closets is a place for the heavy family room TV. It will be a job to move it, and we will have to have a new one for the sports viewing. Now Gerald has a wiring job to complete. If we can get the TV in the “den” hooked up for Disney Channel, the kids can watch or use their electronic games even while the men claim the family room. We hope to have this part of the project completed by the holidays. May not happen. We will see.

I have yet to think through the rest of what I am going to do to make this a teenager gathering spot--either move in an old couch from another room for TV watching or maybe buy a couch. I won’t have to do much to make the kids happy if they can have a place they can call their own with the TV that Gpa will be providing.

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