As a child growing up, every now and then, I remember my mom taking a trip to Holland to visit family and friends. While she was gone, dad would plan and prepare for a surprise renovation on the house. One time, dad took out the living room window and replaced it with a large bay window. Another time he bricked a chimney outside and installed a woodstove down stairs. And then there was the time he cut a hole in the kitchen floor and dropped the upright piano down into the basement. When we heard that our daughter was expecting, Sue booked tickets for B.C. one week after her due date. I had two weddings to conduct so I stayed back and began wondering what I could do. Our deck was in bad need of repair, so I began to plan and prepare. The day I brought her to the airport, I began taking off the deck boards, which proved more difficult than first thought. There were a lot of boards and even more nails. New material was purchased as old and rotted timbers were discovered. When renovations take place there are often unexpected surprises of decay. Water had been pooling underneath the deck and draining towards the house. Dirt needed to be moved and tile stones replaced. The frame on the upper deck was still in excellent condition, but the lower deck’s 2 by 10 frames had to be completely replaced. Instead of getting back to a new deck, Sue returned to a deckless site under reconstruction. At one point I was tempted to call in some professionals to finish the job. But it was family who convinced me this was something that we could do; one section, one piece, one board, and one nail at a time. Rather than hammers and nails, we discovered screws and drills. I remember my father crafting birds out of red cedar branches and him saying to me, “Anyone can do this. You simply have to take the time and try.” It’s strange how memories like that come back and serve as motivation to help us get past moments of uncertainty and indecision and allow us to simply move forward and not be afraid of making mistakes. Building a deck also includes wooden or metal skirts around the edges, keeping unwanted renters like possums, racoons and skunks in someone else’s back yard. This weekend marks the end of summer and deck time may have to wait till next year. But I’m hoping something larger took place this summer, working with a few of my kids. I’m hoping this experience will serve them well if, and when, they will do some renovations in their homes in years to come.