April of the Following Year
Lake Forest, IL
Over the last four months, Michael struggled with many challenges. His faith in life, love, and God was still uncertain. He tried to focus his energies on rebuilding the house, hoping his faith would come along in time. With every wooden two by four that was nailed and every brick laid, Michael rebuilt the house and his faith simultaneously. He stopped drinking and started to eat again on a more regular schedule. Although he acted as the general contractor for the house's construction, he decided to work side by side with the other workers, swinging a hammer and ripping floorboards.
The process of the reconstruction of the house had been lengthy. The cleanup alone took two months. Although still intact after the explosion, the home's foundation needed significant repairs. The foundation planners argued with Michael repeatedly about knocking down the old foundation and starting fresh. They just couldn’t imagine why Michael would want to limit the construction of a brand new home to the existing foundation's footprint. There was more than enough land to expand the layout of the house to be four times the size of the original. Michael insisted that the old foundation be utilized.
Springtime arrived, and the structure of the house was in place. Michael and his fellow contractors were now working on the interior, putting up drywall, taping walls, laying floors, etc.
Michael tried to design the home's interior to match the original house as closely as possible. In many cases, this task was impossible due to the modern-day building codes in force. All in all, the house closely resembled the original 150-year-old mansion that once stood at this location.
148 Festive Lane
Carpeting and wallpaper installers arrived at the house on this bright and sunny day. May's warmer temperatures were a welcome change from the bitter cold that seemed to have lasted forever.
Michael was walking to the job site with a cup of coffee in one hand and rolls of wallpaper under his other arm when a workman approached.
“Morning, Michael, is that the paper we’re hanging in the main bedroom?” asked one of the wallpaper hangers.
“Morning Jimmy, yes, this is as close as I could come to what was originally there. Sure hopes she likes it,” Michael replied.
“Sure hope who likes it?” asked Jimmy.
Before Michael could answer, a voice came from the foyer area of the new house.
“Hoping I like it, Michael?” a female voice asked.
Michael turned to see Sharon White, the newly hired in-house decorating consultant for the construction company.
“Sharon, good morning,” Michael said.
Sharon walked into the house, stepping over loose floorboards and buckets of plaster.