Breaking down and building up

Fall and summer keep playing musical chairs – one day cold and blustery and then t-shirt weather. Axel is busy with estate management which keeps trumping his professional ambitions. Often I find him at the end of the day rather grumpy and exhausted.  He needs a housewife and handyman. I try to be the first whenever I am home and the handyman we hire sometimes. And so squeak along until winter is here and there is nothing more to do outside.

I have started to dismantle a chair that I found by the side of the road decades ago. I learned about upholstery on this chair in a class at a vocational school night program in the late eighties – about the same time Axel build his dory in the same school. Tessa’s dogs had taken possession of the chair years ago and abused it to the point that the insides of the chair started to come out and the springs went in every which way. We made a trade: Tessa and Steve got our 3-person couch and love seat – which had always been a bit too big for our small living room and we got the old chair back.

Every night last week I dismantled the chair a bit more – I even got the springs out, untied them, cleaned them, got all the nails out and now the chair sits there – just a frame, waiting for its renewal. I have an upholstery book by my side and tons of supplies in boxes in my office. I have never redone springs so this will be an adventure. It is also a dry run for the re-upholstering of my mom’s little couch on which she spent the last years of her life. That one also will need to be stripped to its base frame. But first things first.

Last night we had a colleague from Afghanistan over. He and I worked together for 2 years and I saw him in that time move from program manager to chief of party, a very talented man. He is here for 2 weeks and got to experience Halloween. Picture him next to a female colleague in a devil’s costume, red tutu, horns and a tail – it was too funny.

He gave me a better insight of Afghanistan under the new president and told some stories that gave me much hope that things may turn around. People voted to avoid the fate of Iraq which was too painful to consider. A return to warlords would surely lead there. They picked a man of great intellect and integrity, a statesman rather than a warlord. We hope he can withstand the pressure from people who stand to lose a lot with the transparency he is after.

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