so much for picture perfect Christmas

Christmas. I had it all planned: Perfectly wrapped gifts, elegant meals and the return of family. Then we bought a door to replaced the sliding glass door.
The cats had shredded the screen. A rock thrown by the lawn mower had shattered an outside double pane into a million pieces and ruined the insulative effect of the door.
My favorite repairman removed the trim, pried out the sliding door and wedged in a traditional door with matching window. It was a smooth transition except as my repair man removed the trim, he also removed the paneling around the door and replaced it with dry wall.
I knew that sooner or later, we would replace our 15-year-old paneling with sheet rock. I though it would be later. Later came with a stack of drywall lurking in the garage, ready to invade with a remodeling mess.
I thought it was the new door holding in the heat when I felt feverishly warm – until I started sneezing. I had a perfectly timed winter cold: The biggest holiday of the year; three sons coming home, one with a wife and nine-month old and all I wanted was a tissue box, a glass of juice and plenty of peace and quiet while I slept.
There was no peace and quiet.
We had decided that sooner or later we would replace the vinyl floor in the kitchen and dining room. I thought later. My eager-beaver decided sooner. He and three adult children sat on the floor with chisels and hammers, for hours and only removed a third of the stuff. The Monday after Christmas he replaced his helpers with a machine. The noise was horrendous. I heard it from the street as I drove in after work. One son had gone to visit friends. Another son and daughter huddled in the bedroom, as far from the noise as possible. Then, they escaped to New Orleans to pick up their niece, brother and sister-in-law. With my head cold, I slept in spite of the background noise of an air hammer whacking at the floor. The next day, I went off to work, leaving the whacking man pecking away at the cracks and crevasses the machined could not reach.
He still wasn’t finished when I came home at lunch. I grabbed a jug of juice, a cold tablet and collapsed into sleep to the sound of the tapping of hammer against chisel.
I woke with a start. The house was quiet. I wandered out to the great room, cluttered with furniture covered with a layer of white dust. It looked a lot more like fall cleaning than Christmas. I blew my nose and picked up a dust rag.
We wearily moved furniture back into place, dusted and vacuumed until the room was presentable, if not perfect. I wiped dust off the Christmas packages. My husband pulled out the tree.
The floor was stripped, the wall unfinished and the door lacked paint. But we had a place to keep warm, a house full of family, plenty of food and presents with dusty ribbons. And that’s all that matters. We’ll go for the picture perfect look next year.