Gloria's House Partaaaaay / by Dana Bergstrom

I'm feeling pretty great about Fixer Upper #5 now. Blabbermouth blogging about Fixer Upper #4 was cathartic. It really helped, as have several fun days of getting good n' sweaty while working on the exterior and allowing the creative remodeling ideas to flow.

We've named the new house project "Gloria", after our favorite octogenarian neighbor lady who lived there when we first moved into Fixer Upper #2 next door. She was funny, outgoing and didn't seem to have a judgmental bone in her tiny body.

Gloria was also the first neighbor I remember feeling comfortable with when I mentioned our occasional pastime - yelling. I didn't want anyone calling the cops on us, so I gently informed her that we're kinda loud and we also love to work things out at a high volume. "There's really no need for police involvement," I explained. Gloria laughed it off, saying she was losing her hearing and wouldn't notice the hollering anyway. Perfect!

A model for aging with fun and grace, Gloria practiced with the local senior women's dance troupe, composed of highly fit, happy, little, old ladies in short skirts, fishnet stockings and high heels. The performances we went to see were beyond fabulous; the dancing ladies made me smile so hard that my cheeks hurt.

Gloria danced with her troupe until she passed peacefully in her sleep at age 83. It's never too late to dance, dear reader! Never!

Gloria danced with her troupe until she passed peacefully in her sleep at age 83. It's never too late to dance, dear reader! Never!

Gloria literally skipped and hopped as she dashed from one activity to the next. Every sunny summer weekend she'd blast Elvis at top volume on her cassette player and wash her car in her cut off jean short-shorts, tiny tank top and bare feet. Afterwards, she lie out on her lounge chair, crack a beer, close her eyes and catch some rays.

When Pauly and I went to help my terminally ill grandfather make his transition out of his earthly life and we ended up spending a whole month in Nebraska, 80+ year old Gloria was the neighbor who mowed our lawn that month. No joke!

We both adored Gloria and talk to her spirit every time we walk in the house, so it only seems fitting to name the home after her.

One of our remodeling traditions is to have Before and After Parties for our fixer uppers. It's fun to be in a space before it's transformed into a completely new one. You get the 3D version of before and after pictures with bonus food, chatting and laughter thrown in. Your entire being gets to take in what's there (including the odors, ya!) and then really notice how different it feels and smells afterwards.

We essentially do the same kind of thing with houses that Pauly does with his Jin Shin Jyutsu energy work. We spend time with the house and listen. What does the energy feel like in here? Where does the energy want to go? What feels natural to the flow of movement throughout the space? The house always lets us know what feels good - take this wall out, put a window here, re-do the floors, etc - and then we do it to the best of our ability.

If you wanna come to the before party and we're not Facebook friends or even if you don't want to party, make the friend thing happen here! We'd love to celebrate with you. We'll be sending out invites to all local Facebook friends soon!