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It took time to settle into the land of dreams last night, with my mind spinning with remodeling ideas for my sister’s house.

Accompanied by our aunt and my daughter, my sister and I sashayed through the aisles and departments of a local big box hardware store, gathering up potential pairings — paint samples and stain samples, tile samples against carpet and counter top coverings; the choices were perfect for Christi as everything grew out of her choosing rather than what the three of us might have each selected for our own homes.

And while my mind was spinning with colors and textures as I laid my head upon my pillow last night, it was the heaping portion of concern sprinkled over all the remodeling possibilities  — for I long to help my sister get exactly what she wants for her ‘new’ old home — that kept me from falling asleep.

Budgets are always tight in a remodel.  We who remodel want what we want and it’s hard to settle for less.  We know we’re going to have to live with the results for a long time — and while we say we can do ‘this’ or ‘that’ later, we know we won’t.  And we know that there will be a budget surprise or two — something that costs much more than anticipated — or something that breaks unexpectedly, a Murphy’s Law sort of day when “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”   Inevitably, most of us are forced to settle on our dreams, forced into taking care of needs first and prioritizing wants with whatever money is left over.

Every bit of work I can help my sister do is a dollar saved, a dollar that can be devoted to getting something done that must be subcontracted.   Will I climb a ladder to heaven to paint that high gable?  You bet I will.  Will I scrape popcorn texture off the ceilings and sport unusual looking dandruff on my heads and shoulders?   No problem.   Will I ask my husband to install all of my sister’s new light fixtures?   Will I scavenge around to see what skills my two son-in-laws can contribute to the remodeling effort?  Absolutely — this sister isn’t too proud to beg for a sister in need.

Amidst that waist-size budget that’s too tight, perhaps we’ll run into some bargains.  My sister has always had good luck — whether it’s the luck of the Irish or not, Christi always seems to receive exactly what she needs when she needs it.  When Christi decided it was time to get a job, she had two job offers.  When she was desperate to sell her building, she had two interested parties, with one buyer offering her a cash deal.

I think my sister’s good luck stems from having good family, one that actually descends from great-grandparents whose last name was Murphy.  For the sake of my sister’s house remodel, I’m hoping our Murphy ancestors are a zillion times removed from those who birthed Murphy’s Law.   With high hopes and tight budget, here’s wishing for a bit of Murphy’s luck.  We need it.

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