An Update on #Build4TheGuys

By Amber Lobdell

Published on November 17, 2019

When love builds a house, beautiful things happen.

I knew the guys would love the new house when I saw the well-thought-out blueprints which took into account all of their needs and interests—an art room for Dave, two big closets for Brad, a window to see the stars for Greg, and a hidden entrance for Lane’s “bat cave.” When I saw the accessible tub, the high ceilings, personalized, and lovingly placed decor, cozy reclining spots on the couch, the amazing “flow,” and cheerful sunlight flooding the house with warmth, I couldn’t wait to show them the house. Every last detail was done with so much thoughtfulness and love. But, beyond that, knowing that people in the community made this happen for these four beautiful, deserving guys—it made me feel so warm and happy my eyes filled with tears.

I knew they’d love it.

But I didn’t expect the big, noticeable changes in the guys and their dynamic as a whole.

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In my time working with David, he hasn’t been a big fan of change. So we weren’t quite sure what to expect with such a big move. I thought David was happy in his previous home, but since moving in, David’s expressive language and chattiness has grown immensely. It is noticeable to everyone who knows him.

He had his first “toy day” in the new house, and when he got home he said, “the house is beautiful.” We thought he meant the new doll house he had just purchased and he quickly corrected us, gesturing to his home, “This new house. I love it here.”

He frequently chats excitedly with staff and roommates, and I started suddenly learning new things about him…like when we were crafting in his new art room and he randomly said, “Amber. I want to listen to Willie Nelson. He’s my buddy” and started laughing. I got out my phone and searched for Willie Nelson on YouTube and David quickly specified, “On the Road Again.” So as “On the Road Again” echoed through the house it quickly drew in Brad, then Lane, then Greg.

The guys have always been like brothers, but we are suddenly finding that they very rarely spend time in their own rooms now. They can all fit at the same dining room table now like the family they are. We have impromptu dance parties in the living room and get-togethers with friends. The guys all have cozy (even reclining) spots on the couch. And of course there are times when this togetherness brings arguments over which TV show to watch or who gets the bathtub first.

The new accessible bathtub has been a big hit. Baths didn’t used to be part of Greg and Brad’s lives. And it used to be very difficult for David to get in and out of the bathtub. Now they all have a warm bath every day. In Greg’s case, he has bubble bath up to his shoulders (and usually has a bubble Santa beard). While he soaks I can often hear him belting out songs…the other night he was belting out a love song about quesadillas. And when I poked my head in the bathroom and said, “Hey! Did I hear someone singing to quesadillas in here?! No quesadillas in the tub!” he laughed until he cried.

After all the excitement of moving and all of the publicity (now when Brad meets new people he asks either, “what station are you from?” or “are you here to interview me?”), we are truly enjoying the house and beauty of day-to-day life there to the fullest.

But I think one of my favorite representations of what this house means for the guys is something Lane said to me. We talked about how well he is doing his exercises on his stationary bike since moving to the new house. He isn’t concerned anymore about how soon he can be done, and he and rides much longer. I told him I was really proud of him and he told me, “I have more space to ride in the new house.”