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June 21, 2017

A Tale of Two Housewarmings

I started writing this blog post almost a year ago. As my dear hubs mentioned in an earlier column, I was diagnosed last fall with metastatic breast cancer. It’s been a hard fight, and it will continue, but for now, I’m doing pretty well thanks to some amazing doctors, amazing caregivers (including the aforementioned hubs, who has been my hero from day one), and a whole lot of luck.

So about the housewarmings… Last summer, two lovely homes were bought by some equally lovely friends and we were invited to come and check out the new digs. I’ve always liked the symbolism of the traditional housewarming gifts of bread (“that this house may never know hunger”), salt (“that life may always have flavor”), and a candle (“that this home may be filled with light”). So I knew I wanted to assemble two gift packages to present to the new homeowners. But no boring gift bags; I wanted something unique (much like the delightful folks we’d be visiting). And since the recipients were the sort I knew would appreciate a repurposed find, off to Goodwill I went.

As we and our fellow Good Life bloggers have mentioned a few dozen times, Goodwill is a gold mine of basketry and other containers, and this trip didn’t disappoint. I found a faux-leather-clad wooden storage bin that was perfect for the two gents & gentlewoman we’d be visiting first, and a cool oblong basket for the even-cooler lady christening her new home later that week. To add an extra bit of fun I scored a $1 sundress with a pretty watercolor print on top and a fun paisley on the bottom (plus a nice lining that I imagine will be handy for a future project).

two housewarmings trio 1

The wooden bin needed a bit of repair, but nothing a bit of superglue couldn’t rescue. A quick pass with an antibacterial wipe and a spritz of Lysol for good measure and the containers were ready for dressing up. I cut the dress at the waist (which happened to be edged with a pretty little retro bit of lace) and ended up with two already-hemmed pieces of fabric for cradling the housewarming goodies.

So on July 31 of last year, we set off to present box #1 to Frank, Richard, and Diane Kiraly at their new home.

kiraly box

It was a delightful evening, only slightly marred by an intense back ache which had been plaguing me for about six months. The next day, a CT scan revealed the source of that backache to be a kiwi-sized tumor compressing my spinal cord, along with two breast masses and assorted lesions throughout my system. Tests were run, surgery was done, and treatment was begun. Needless to say, we didn’t make it to housewarming #2 that week at the new home of our very own Good Life blogger and Refashionista, Jillian Owens.

Over the next six months, as we slogged through treatment, Jillian’s basket was temporarily conscripted to hold the things I needed within reach on a daily basis, as I did most of my recovering from the relative comfort of the living room recliner. But this morning, that basket got emptied and put to its originally-intended use. And today, nearly eleven months late, I finally got to deliver that little gift of good wishes to our friend at her fabulous abode.

two housewarmings trio 2

It was good to see her. And it’s good to be back.

Happy living, friends.