Saturday, February 10, 2007

Renovating Becky Miller

If you are looking for fantastic mom lit, this book is it.

I have the pleasure of being a member of the blog tour for Renovating Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck. I enjoyed the Secret Life of Becky Miller, but Renovating Becky Miller has resonated with me in a way I didn't expect.

In this installment Becky is wrestling with a job that wants to be much more than the 15 hours a week she signed on for, three kids between the ages of nine and two, a mother-in-law who's moved in very reluctantly, the stress of selling a house, buying a dream house that becomes the money pit, her sister has moved in, and her best friend is suddenly distant...add a leg that refuses to cooperate after an accident and her concern about the state of her twelve year old marriage. Her life is chaos and it seems like everything she touches gets worse. And all she wants to do is fix things for people.

Each chapter begins with Becky dreaming that she is in the middle of a movie. For me part of the fun was trying to figure out which movie as quickly as possible. (There is a list of the movies in the back - I got most right) A few I didn't get, but Sharon wove them into the story so that the movie clips didn't interrupt the flow. Instead, they actually helped move the story along and let us know how Becky was feeling.

There were so many times I was laughing and cringing at the same time. Laughing at the situations Becky got herself into by trying to fix everything and be everything everyone seemed to want her to be. And cringing as I realized how often I feel just like her.

Let's face it. The demands on moms today never end. Someone will always tell us we aren't being the right kind of parent. Or that we aren't giving enough to our job ... or too much. Or we aren't serving enough at church ... or we're serving too much. Or our kids aren't behaved the way somebody thinks they should... or don't get enough of our time. Or there's that house project that just doesn't get out of the starting gate. Or the unexpected disasters that leave us reeling.

It felt good to laugh with a friend and then cry as she walked through her struggles. If you are a mom (or just married), I think you will really enjoy this book. If not, it's still a great read.

And since renovating (both inside and out) is a huge part of this book, tell me your renovating stories. The best one wins a book. Maybe this one if I can bring myself to part with it!

I'll start. Ever noticed how you fix up a house right before you move. Just so other people can enjoy the improvements. We did that with our townhouse in Arlington. Beautiful kitchen, just not for us to enjoy. Or remodeling the upstairs bathroom there that took much longer than we anticipated. It was awesome when it was done, but as a direct result of all those projects in a 1940s era house, we bought 2000 vintage here. And now it's time to start with upgrades and repairs here. Sigh. The never-ending saga....


Tiff/Amber Miller said...

Hmm, remodeling stories. Got lots of those. There's the time we remodeled our powder room downstairs to install a shower and extend the bathroom into the laundry room. The first one who worked on it didn't fully understand the drainage principles, so we ended up with a bowed shower floor and mold/mildew around the edges of the shower, not to mention these bugs I call "spider crickets" but are really camel crickets who liked the moist, dark area under the shower.

When we had a new team come in and renovate the work that had been done, they pulled up the old shower and got a big JUMPING surprise as they unearthed the nest. What a riot to see 2 grown men scrambling in a rather small space to avoid the "kamikaze crickets". LOL!

They did a fantastic job though, by building up 2 steps from the ground and allowing proper drainage. The bathroom has never been so clean, dry and mold/mildew free. It's beautiful!

Tiff/Amber Miller said...

Btw, I was on this tour for the 7th, so feel free to stop by my blog too and read more about Sharon.

Sharon Hinck said...

Hi, everyone! Cara, thanks SO much for your awesome review and for inviting me to visit.

I spent today at book signings, and got to chat with other folks about their remodeling stories. One recurring theme was ripping up old carpeting to discover the floor boards beneath were all split and had to be replaced, too.

No one else mentioned crickets, Tiff, but our first fixer-upper was infested with fleas and slugs. UGH!

Doraine said...

Remodeling always takes longer than expected. That's why I put my foot down in October (two Octobers ago) and said, No you can wait until spring to replace the windows. I couldn't face another Thanksgiving or Christmas with a project still going on.

So last spring, my husband hired a friend who needed work to replace the windows. He was from California and had no idea how to take a widow out of a brick house. About three weeks later, we had one window in and jerry-rigged to fit. One down fourteen to go. Next he hired the window people to come in, and they replaced all fourteen in a day. Progress at last.

Then they all have to be painted, by guess who, another needy friend who IS a painter, but is more disfunctional than Jack Nicholson in that movie where he wouldn't step on a crack. Three months later all the windows are painted except the two in the den, which are in a panelled room and have to be stained.

Our painter had never done stain, but agreed to try. I came home one day to find that she had primed the windows. Egads. Will it never end? Before stripping them and starting over, we tried a paint on stain that looked like waxed pumpkins. I don't think so. So we took the windows out, bought new windows and put the old ones away to use in another project soon to be underway.

This time they odered the windows and she painted them on the carport before putting them in. They're all dry and looking nice and, can you believe it? They're the wrong size. The den happens to be the only room in our house that has different sized windows from the rest.

So back to the old windows and the stripping project. By the time they were finally all in and done it was almost Christmas.

Last week, almost a year later, we finally hired somebody to come clean them inside and out.

Maybe I'll have screens before next Christmas. Maybe.

Sharon Hinck said...

Hi, Doraine!
I LOVED your story.
I know, I should have more compassion...but I was giggling nonstop.
Home renovations are SUCH a great metaphor for life. Nothing ever happens the easy way. :-)

Jill Elizabeth Nelson said...

Nothing happens the easy way? Sharon, you've burst my bubble about life. Guess I'll just have to reread your book to cheer up.


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