It’s like my own ‘demo days!’

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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If any of you, as I do, love HGTV, you have heard countless men and women share their immense excitement at “demo day!” Well … I’m excited myself because we had our own version of demo day, or demo week would probably be more like it.

Although our new home had a perfectly adorable small courtyard surrounding the back patio, I began to feel a little closed in and decided to take down the fence. That was my son, Manny’s, first bit of demo, but you know that one thing usually leads to another. Next, we decided to remove the shrubbery around the fence, because it enclosed the area almost as much as the fence did.

We plan on trying to save the lovely plants and moving them to another location this winter, but for now the openness of the area is exactly what I wanted. When my son tried to remove a post, he realized the job was a pretty hefty one. The posts had been cemented quite proficiently into the ground, but he is steady at it.

Trying to put your own mark on a home is one of the things that make moving both a joy and a challenge. The joy in seeing your own vision beginning to take shape is wonderful, but the challenge lies in all the many, many decisions that need to be made.

I’ve spent a good deal of time mulling things over, and finally my vision is starting to come together. Every little thing we do makes our place feel more like our home. Some of the things I thought I would do I realized would be a little too expensive, but planning, discarding ideas, and changing my original thoughts is all part of the fun.

My boys like to tell horror stories of their dad making them get up on Saturday mornings, when they could be sleeping in to help make flower beds for their mom. I’ve always loved a beautiful yard and flowers, and he is still helping me try to create so I guess he survived all the workdays!

In all actuality, I think it’s good for all of us to get our hands a little dirty from time to time. It helps me to envision a space and then see the results after a little work from me, and a lot of work from my sweet and helpful son! It has always been a running joke for both of my boys when I talk about my new flowerbeds and such. They laugh and roll their eyes as if I didn’t help at all, but someone has to be the designer!

I feel very blessed to have such a special son that he will help me with a new creation even after all the jokes. He may even fuss just a bit, but what would be the fun in helping if he couldn’t try to get a little rise out of his mom? Ryan’s dad passed several years ago, but I’ll just bet he would smile if he could see us now.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at