Dear Readers,

I’ve spent the last few months AWOL. Missing. Absent. I’m sorry. I’ve been absent from my personal life and from this column because, well, I bought a zoo.
Not really.
In truth, my husband and my business partner and I bought a building to house our little company. We have a new home for our catering kitchen, showrooms, offices and storage rooms. It’s like buying a zoo, but without cute animals. We bought the building out of foreclosure and brought the building back to life through many weeks (13) of renovations and a fair chunk of investment.

All facts and figures aside, the biggest investment the last few months has been in the form of my (and my partners in this project) spirit. My closest friends are joking lately that they are excited to see my personality come back!  Apparently, I developed resting b—- voice in addition to the face!

I admit I’ve been lost the last few months – lost in paint chips and floor samples and flood insurance and discussions about where the dumpster should go. I’ve learned more about building codes and health department guidelines than I ever wanted. And in the midst of all that, I lost some fun and spark. I lost that flicker in my soul that makes me break into song at a moment’s notice or smile at random people on the street.

There were other things affecting my summer slump. Changes at church, a lack of vacation (i.e., I haven’t seen the ocean in almost a year now), and a strange obsession with World War I novels all contributed to the Debbie Downer Days.  But the renovations on a 3000+ square foot building pretty much summed up my summer and managed to suck the life out of it.

So, dear readers, I apologize.  But I’m back now, and hoping to restore myself to your good graces. While I am certain I observed lots of tends and traditions related to the construction industry, none seemed article-worthy until now, when the literal dust has settled.  Here’s a little insight into what I’ve learned:

Men who work with their hands in extreme heat every day are the real superheroes in this world. A man named Jamie climbed into the attic of our building to weld (with a super-hot flame) parts of our fire hood. I took his picture I was so impressed with him. The air conditioning hadn’t been hooked up yet and it was August. In Georgia. And he was welding in an attic. He’s a Superhero. As the summer went along, we did our best to keep ice water and Gatorade available for the men who were working. It wasn’t much, but a small gesture to acknowledge just how hot we knew it was working in our space.

Men who work with their hands every day in the heat will like you more (and listen to you more) if you get sweaty working alongside. So we tried. We did our best to put in a bunch of sweat equity hours on parts of the project where we could. My husband certainly wins the award for the most sweat-equity hours. It was hard to balance our time with doing our actual jobs, but worth it to prove that we were willing to work hard to get our project finished on time.

My husband actually deserves his own paragraph. Can we just say “3 cheers for marriage” right about now? If not for counting on the strength of my marriage (and a good bit of ice cream), I seriously might have lost my mind during certain days when inspectors and gas companies continually aggravated me. If you are married, please stop reading right now and look at your spouse and thank them for listening to you when you were so angry and frustrated that your words didn’t make any sense. Do it now.  Go thank your spouse.

Lastly, the summer construction months have reminded me about why I do what I do. I had to explain to lots of people what exactly an event planner does and why we aren’t a restaurant but we do cook food. In all those explanations to new neighbors and plumbers and drywall installers, I remember why I love weddings and parties and family celebrations and why I’m excited to get back to it. I’m grateful to a city and community who have embraced this business and helped us grow.

Mostly, I’m grateful to have a certificate of occupancy (who knew how important that would become?) and to have a nice place to work. Walking past flower boxes and turning a key on a door to our new work-home has restored my spirit. I caught myself singing yesterday, for no good reason.

Thank you for giving me the summer off and for letting me come back to you this month. I hope I can continue to entertain.