Laura thought she was close to becoming an empty-nester with a high-schooler on the brink of leaving for college and a 20-something daughter already launched. “I was so looking forward to some time of my own, enjoying the peace and quiet, the luxury of having my own space. I love my family but I longed for a quiet peaceful corner somewhere – anywhere, ” says Laura.
However, by this time in their marriage, Laura’s husband was used to having her 24-7 in a role similar to Donna Reed of the 1960’s. Laura’s 20-something daughter not only didn’t move out, but moved in her piano, opening a music studio with a dozen children traipsing through Laura’s front door to take lessons. The high-schooler was an eagle scout, on the community golf team, active in a variety of interests and had teenage friends who filled the basement, overflowing upstairs to the living room. Laura bought micro-wave pizzas by the case at Costco.
Reaching her limit on just how much one woman can take, and not wanting to get a prescription for anxiety-relief, Laura did the next best thing – she reclaimed the tree house in the backyard her children had outgrown.
Laura lived in a subdivision with set-backs, city codes and building permit requirements. There wasn’t room in the landscaped backyard to build a new structure, even if the city had allowed it.
Reclaiming the tree house, Laura first decided to make steps for easy accessibility. “I wanted something a little more comfortable than climbing up the rope ladder the kids had once used,” says Laura.
Using a piece of left-over lumber from a recent home-improvement project, purchasing a few things from the lumber yard, and borrowing her husband’s tools, Laura first made a set of steps.
She swept the interior of the tree house, removing leaves and twigs blown in from the open windows, and then moved in her favorite chair, a side table, and a few accessories.
Time: Two days
Outcome: Emotional longevity and a restored sense of self.