Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Open Letter to Mike and Anna Wangemann (and the rest of the neighborhood)

September 30, 2014
Mike and Anna,

You silly fools!

You asked me if there was anything you could help me with and I said no.  You continued to ask, as good friends do to help.  You have helped us out (and continue to help) with family home evening lessons and activities.  But yet you continued to ask.  As time to transplant came closer, all the various trips to and from the hospital, all the dealings with IV's and drugs and everything with Tiffany, with school starting, and heavy work issues, I admitted that it would be a huge stress reliever for some help to get the house ready and finally relented, asking if you would come in and help me replace some floors while Tiff was in the hospital.  Tiffany needed to come home to a clean house, and with carpets as old and worn as they were, we needed to replace them and get the vents cleaned, with the idea that we would clean the rest of the house and that would be good enough.
Well, it wasn’t good enough, apparently.  You had other plans while we were at the hospital!

I have tried to list everything that you (and the literal legions of people that worked along side you) did for us, and the list continues to get longer each new day as I notice something else that has changed, better organized, cleaned, fixed, etc, etc, etc.

Though I know you know what you did… let me list what I KNOW has been done, so you can see what you accomplished in just over two weeks’ time.

  • Painting of bathroom cabinetry
  • Replacement of master bathroom countertop
  • Awesome brand new master bathroom sink
  • Brand new faucets (in both bathrooms)
  • Brand new shut off valves (like, everywhere).
  • New toilets in the bathroom (master bath has a extended height toilet and kids bathroom has a lighted lid for help at night)
  • New king size bed and headboard (understand people from Logan made this happen)
  • New sheets, pillows, blankets for new bed. (and this too)
  • New dresser to match headboard (and this as well)
  • New fan light in master bedroom
  • Organization of closet/dresser
  • Removal of stair banisters and replacement custom built banisters (And I mean awesome custom)
  • Wall addition in family room to create an office room - allowing kids to watch TV or do homework in the area while I work.
  • Repairing foundation wall crack
  • Duct work into office.
  • Re-wiring of light fixtures into office and in family room
  • Custom shelving in office
  • Flooring in office
  • Mold and dust cleaning
  • Fresh paint in Bathrooms, Office, Master Bedroom and other areas
  • Adding an additional cabinet (thanks to mom and dad)
  • Painting of kitchen cabinetry
  • Adding hardware on the kitchen cabinetry
  • Adding can lights in the kitchen
  • Replacement of the range oven - with a nice flat top cook area finished in black and stainless steel 
  • Replacing our little microwave with a microwave range top
  • New stainless steel sink, with amazing faucet hardware.
  • Removal of our old swamp cooler vent and controls
  • Removal of creeks in the upstairs hallway
  • Adding a HEPA filter on to HVAC system
  • HVAC system (including duct work) cleaning
  • New entertainment center and coffee table in TV room
  • Re-finishing of my Great-Grandmothers dresser (now being used by Emma)
  • Refinishing of our desk/hutch, re-purposed for an awesome setup in the TV room.
  • New lamps in the master bedroom and TV room
  • New side tables for the master bedroom and TV room
  • Various new wall decoration/ornaments throughout the house
  • Changing of all brass light fixtures, door knobs, and hinges to a polished nickel, including new chandeliers in the front entryway and over the kitchen table.
  • Additional shelving in our storage room (thanks mom and dad)
  • New light switch in our storage room (thanks mom and dad)
  • Cleaning out my garage
  • Taking old items to DI/garbage
  • A deep/steam cleaning of the whole house just prior to Tiffany’s return

And on and on and on (just found out that the Afgan was crocheted by the wonderful hands of Sister Darrington - wow).  My fear is I have just left something off.  I know I have.

And then there are the stories from EVERYBODY who I come in contact with.  I can’t go out in the neighborhood/church without somebody telling me of coming and helping.  I know that you didn’t do it all.  I know that there were people with experience and expertise that helped.  It constantly amazes me the sheer number of people who helped with the project.  My parents, who had the wonderful opportunity (ha, not sure they would call it that ;) ) to live through the craze, suggested it was just a constant buzz of new people coming and going and doing so many things.  Everyone that shares the stories with me share it with a smile on their face.  They share of the joy they had doing it and the fun being able to talk and work next to others in the neighborhood. 

And when all is said and done, not only was the place amazing, but it was clean.  Cleaner than any other option we considered.  In fact, as Tiffany and I discussed what to do after the hospital stay, we wondered if it might be better to stay somewhere in Huntsman related housing, partly due to cleanliness, but mostly due to distance.  But there was no other place that would have been more prepared for Tiffany to stay.

You asked me what my favorite room was.  And to this day, I am in awe of each room you guys fixed up.  Seriously, when I enter our bedroom, even a week later, I just go in and think – wow, this is nice!  It's bright, beautiful and the feel is just amazing.  Then I go to the master bath and think the same thing.  When I sat in the kitchen cooking dinner today, I thought, wow – this place shouldn’t belong to me – this is too nice.  I then walk downstairs into my new office and think to myself – “I have an office!”.  Of course, to get to it, I have to walk in the downstairs family room and there is now a sense of awe as I look at what you did with that space.  

No, there are no favorites.  All we all feel is a sense of humility everywhere we go.  I don’t know how to get that across to anybody the depth of gratitude we have for what you have accomplished.  Our home will never again be “our home” but rather, the “neighborhood-home,-built-with-love,-and-we-get-to-stay-in-it” home.  We are indeed indebted to you, and though you will always say we don’t owe you, which I understand, please understand our side of this, that we look forward to finding a way to properly thank you and the neighborhood. As you come in contact those that helped, would you give them a heart felt thank you for us?  We would be most grateful.

We came home that Saturday and Tiffany’s eyes were welled up with tears as we ‘toured’ our new home.  She feels just as deeply of gratitude and humility that I feel.  We will ever be grateful for it.

Thank you.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.

The day after we came home, was the day the Ogden temple was re-dedicated.  That temple had received a makeover of enormous proportions.  It is now more beautiful than ever.  We felt the same way about our home.  So we opted to hold a very special family home evening the next night and in similar fashion, re-dedicated our home.  As such, it will always be a place for people to come and feel the spirit.  We think anything less will be a stain on what you have done.

Thank you, to you and everyone, for all you do in making our little neighborhood a little piece of heaven.  No, strike that.  A large piece of heaven. 

With much love and appreciation,

Nathan and Tiffany

PS - to you and everybody else, thank you for filling up our freezer with meals.  It is full to the brim - this really assists me many nights when I am working till late and can get a meal on at a decent time.
Oh - also - a big thanks goes out to the people who have continued to weed and mow our place.  I know you had an 11 year old scout group come and mow one night.  Dallin deeply appreciated that!

Before - Front Room
After - Front Room

After - Front Room
Before - Front Room
After - Front Room

After - Front Entry

Before - Dining area
After - Dining Area
Before - Kitchen
After - Kitchen
After - Kitchen
Before - Basement Family Room

After - Basement Family Room

Before - Basement with office Alcove
After - Basement TV room with built out office

New Office!
Before - Bathroom
After - Master Bathroom
Before - Master Bedroom
After - Master Bedroom (with model)
After - Master Bedroom (with model)
After - Going down to TV room from Kitchen

After - Detail work of the banisters