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The Architect & Me – Part 21: Heart of Pine

“I feel like we’ve done so much work already and we haven’t even broken ground.” Philly said.

The past few weeks I have worked hard to make sure I have as many items as possible figured out so we can find out what our costs will be, and if we need to scale back anywhere for our budget purposes. So, I met with plumbing and appliance providers, Philly and I met with the landscaper, and we are now headed to meet with the flooring representative.

I asked Philly early on, “What pieces really matter to you that you don’t want me choosing without you?” “Flooring,” he responded quickly. He left out stainless steel range.

So, I was taking him with me to the flooring company. I knew from the beginning I wanted pine hardwood floors. Maybe because they are called “heart” of pine. But there is something about pine that makes me feel like it knows the power of story. As if it could tell its own. The knots. The age. The softness. The lines. The color variations. And the fact that if you drop things on it or if you wear your high heels, that each experience can add even more story to it, causing me to wonder if it will hold the impressions of my mom’s high heels and I’ll be able to know she left her mark even if she exits life before me.

We walked in sure of only the fact of pine floors. The adorable and knowledgeable sales rep shared all different kinds of flooring alternatives and stain colors and vendors and wear patterns, and that was when I felt my head start to swim. When my head starts to swim the voices begin. “You are so out of your league. You screw up these floors, you screw up your house. Philly is putting so much confidence in you and if you make mistakes, they will be huge and expensive mistakes.” Also, when my head starts to swim my face shows it. My face shows everything. Of all the areas I’ve grown in this life, I have yet to master the art of my face not talking. I keep hoping I can teach it, but as of yet I’m an epic failure. Philly thankfully has learned its language.

He stops the conversation. It’s his way of trying to reign me in and stop me from running out of the door. He will tell me later, “I saw it on your face, you were about to run right out of there.”

“Babe.” His words arrested the whirlwind.

“Yes?” I responded weakly.

“Do you at least know you like this color?”

The words, “Do you at least know…” inferred he was sure I was unsure of everything.

“I think.” Proving I wasn’t even sure of the one thing I thought I was sure of.

“The color will dictate everything.” I said. “Your hardwood dictates your paint color which dictates your carpets, which…”

“Okay.” He stopped me.

“You can take the sample.” The flooring expert offered. She was probably even considering offering me the store for the night.

My thoughts were beginning to slow down and the room was beginning to come back in focus.

“I’ll check on pricing for you and you can pick the stain color when they lay the floors down – you don’t have to choose that today.” she consoled. She thought she was helping. She was not helping.

The thoughts started swirling again. “If I don’t know the stain color, how do I pick the paint color? If I don’t know the paint color, how do I pick the carpet color?” It would be days later as I was processing this through journaling that I realized I could choose the stain based on my paint color. That was when I let out a four-day-old exhale.

“Let’s move on to tile because you have a lot of bathrooms.” She laid out our plans on the countertop in front of us. “Let’s start with the master.”

That was when I realized I had left my binder back at the hotel. “Oh my word, I left my binder.”

That was when I thought I saw panic on Philly’s face. That book held all my ideas and thoughts and without it I didn’t know how to make decisions. I stared at her blankly.

“It’s okay.” She tried to comfort. I didn’t feel comforted. The panic was palpable. “You don’t have to make all of these decisions today.” She assured. “You are really way ahead of the game.”

“But I need a budget and my builder hasn’t really given me a budget, so I feel the pressure of having to make all of my decisions up front to make sure we stay on budget.”

She smiled. A calming smile. “I will talk to your builder and I can figure you out a budget. So today, let’s just look and see what you like.”

I breathed. So did Philly. For the next hour we looked at tiles and stones and carpets and Philly found one he loved. It was so adorable to watch him light up over wool fibers. She took pictures and wrote things down while I remained with no notebook and no design book.

When we climbed in the car I sank back in the seat. “We got nothing done.”

“Not true.” He assured. “We picked out our floors and I found a carpet I love. We got much done. But there was one moment I truly thought you were going to go running through the parking lot.”

“It was considered.” I laughed.

“Do you feel like you need to call Sarah?” he offered. (Sarah is the designer I consulted early on.) My heart didn’t want to. I wanted to be able to do it. But I had to be honest. “What I struggle with is not wanting to call her simply because I’m afraid. I want to call her because I simply can’t do something. Not because I’m scared of doing it. But I promise you I will not hesitate to call her if I feel I would mess something up for us. Did that whole experience in there make you scared for me to do it?”

“No, but your face made it clear you are.”

I scolded my face. I’m not sure at what point I settled back into continuing the journey. Maybe Packer reassured me. Maybe I was reminded of the fact that God has extended this invitation to me. Not to Sarah. But somewhere between Atlanta and Nashville I decided I’d give it another go. That it was my calling for this season. At least until I had to remind myself all over again…

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Hi, I’m Denise!

I love Jesus, my family and friends, my sweet dog Sophie, SEC football and Coca-Cola.