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It's Day 2 at where I laughingly call my "Frustration Acres." Today the upstairs vanity in the bathroom was taken out and is being rebuilt. The drywall in the dining room and my office have been patched up. The entire ceiling in the dining room is still missing but at least there are no gaping holes the size of Wyoming jazzing up the interior, giving it a Roman ruins ambiance. My lunch date with a friend had to be canceled as she's having work done on her house, too; had I been gone, the drywall job wouldn't have gotten finished.
Will I survive the restoration of my house? It has never been so topsy turvy. I cannot find anything that I am looking for. What, besides patience, am I supposed to be learning from all of this? I am tired of learning lessons when I am already in the middle of so much. People working in my house--upstairs, downstairs, out in the garage--creating dust and chaos and rubble for me to sift through and tromp through. The phone has been ringing all day. People are making demands on me so they can meet their deadlines. This really stinks.
I am exhausted again, as it's a Thursday night and Thursdays begin early for me. I am ready to put on my pajamas by the time I get home in the afternoon and the last thing I want to do is go out on Thursday evenings. I went out for lunch after my morning volunteer job at the information desk at church and then the day was spent running errands for the seemingly endless tasks related to the restoration of our house. I chose the faucets and the light fixtures for the upstairs bathroom and my office. Cooked dinner. Collapsed.
Today I awoke exhausted. Well, okay; I'm exaggerating . . . a little. Let's just say I was very, very tired and not wanting to greet the day so early (again.) I didn't want the onslaught of contractors in my house (again.) This is a wee bit of a trial. But the onslaught occurred; they began marching in at 9:00 or thereabouts. My husband and I packed up glasses and china from the china cabinet that had to be removed today and refinished by the furniture repair guy. The ceiling to my office was scraped off. New light fixtures were also installed.
Last night was an upbeat, festive good bye, reception and a retrospective for a local clothes designer/artist who is leaving for Michigan today to finish out her time on this earth. 19 months ago, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After surgery and a very courageous fight, she is not expected to live much longer. She looked radiant last night. Most who attended wore clothes they had purchased over the years designed by her, filling The Price Tower in Bartlesville, OK with colorful garments. Wearable art paid holy, lively and reverent tribute to the artist, spoken sans words.
The sounds of summer are slowly slipping away. This morning began with silent fog filling the air and the soft lilt coming through the windows of bugs in the yard. Birds are not chirping with as much enthusiasm or frequency. They must be busy reinforcing their nests for the cold winter days ahead. The temperatures are cooling down and for this many of us are eternally grateful. The evenings begin to noticeably lengthen as September days saunter and carry us into Fall. There are still days that hold humidity and grow warmer each hour until five o'clock. Lawnmowers still hum.
Labor Day, 2009. I made this my official lounging day. Sounded good to me. With my schedule being so screwy and my house at sixes and sevens, I gave myself a day off. This began well as I slept-in until 9:00. I had been awake from 3:30-5:30 a.m. but then fell back to sleep. I lounged in bed with my laptop, coffee and email. Then I put on my tankini and took a dip in the pool. Our Golden Retriever, Maddy, joined me. Showered, grocery shopped, did laundry and made pizza at our neighbor's.
My eyes are closing. I've been ready for bed for quite awhile and sitting up in bed with the lights on, listening to "Fresh Air" on NPR. It's 11:00 p.m.. I am really tired. Today I occupied myself by doing laundry and then more laundry after that. I did so much laundry today that I washed all of the bathroom rugs and even the dogs' bed covers which leave the dryer lint filter looking like Rapunzel has just gone through the dryer. A good friend and I tried the new pub in town for dinner tonight. 5 stars.
Groggy at 7:34, I climbed out of bed in desperate need of strong black coffee. I wasn't ready to be awake. I only wanted more sleep. I had awoken during the night (again!) and fell back into a deep sleep--eventually. The contractors showed up around 9:00 but the ceilings in the dining room and my office weren't dry yet from when they applied what is called "mud" yesterday. I was able to kick 'em out before I headed out to pick up my friend and take her to the airport. We shopped first. She made the flight!
I've hit a low point in my day. Well, okay; maybe it's a high point. Because we've finished eating a very simple supper and the dishes are in the dishwasher, the garbage has been taken out to the curb for pick up tomorrow morning and the coffee beans have been put in the grinder, the brown paper filter in the plastic filter and the water in the receptacle for tomorrow morning's wake up java, I am watching a repeat of "Friends." That means I have absolutely nothing to do and am taking a break at the end of the day.
Paint fumes are filling my house so I have moved outside to the deck. The birds are serenading the morning, welcoming the sunshine and not yet hot, humid day. A breeze dances by me. My house is in chaos, as it was eight years ago when we moved in and contractors were painting and a carpenter was building bookshelves in our garage. He walked into our kitchen before my husband left for work that day and said, "My wife just called and said planes flew into the Twin Towers in New York City." New York, the city of my birth.
It's 10:30 P.M.. It feels like midnight. I've had a fairly restful day, considering. I slept until 9:00 which is lovely and I appreciate being able to do this. My husband and I attended a funeral this afternoon at 2:00 for the mother (whom I knew) of a good friend of ours. I read all morning and after the funeral, too. We went to the new pub in town for an early supper with our son. I read some more, then drove our son to a party. I spent the evening drinking ginger beer and reading.
Tree frogs croaking; wind chimes dancing. Mid-September evening has cooled; all is quiet. Began day reading, relaxing with my java. Took shower; got dressed. Unloaded/ reloaded dishwasher. Put on my makeup. Our little family departed for Tulsa to a college fair so our son could look at a few colleges. (He's decided on UAF but it doesn't hurt to explore other possibilities.) Took my husband to airport. We lunched at P.F. Chang's; ate street noodles and shrimp with lobster sauce. Shopped at Chico's. Son drove us home. Hot dogs for dinner. Ended day reading. Finished reading two books.
Week Three of Frustration Acres has begun. The painters are here; the plumber has been and gone. He'll return on Wednesday. I left the mountain and bought some donuts for the crew. I am lucky to be having so many taking care of all that needs to be done instead of just one or two working on all of the projects. Took time to visit with a neighbor down the street and gave her a donut. Notified the office I won't be in on Thursday for my volunteer job. It's raining. I look forward to yoga class at 6:00.
I've been asking myself all day, "Is it really only Tuesday?!" Ever since yesterday, it has seemed that it is a day later. I know I've been going in one thousand directions at once lately but . . . what else is new? I raised three kids. I used to meet myself coming and going, driving up and down the New Seward Highway, going from mid-town to downtown to South Anchorage and back again to College Village in mid-town--and wave! Maybe this happens when I have to get out of bed in the mornings before I am feeling truly rested.
With each additional coat of paint applied to the walls in my home, the colors are positively coming ALIVE; POPPING. The rooms are so cheerful and bright. My house is dark or I would be tempted to use some of the somber and subdued colors that are popular now: cocoa, ecru, sage and sand. If I did, they would make the place look absolutely maudlin, morose, melancholy. (Okay, so I am fiercely fond of frolicking with using a string of words that all begin with the same letter. I am SO BLASTED TIRED, I cannot recall the word for that!)
ALLITERATION! THAT'S the word I was wracking my brain to come up with last night. Usually when I can't think of a word, I will think of it eVENTually! I think of the human brain as a very sophisticated computer. If I cannot think of someone's name or come up with a word, I simply wait for the word search function to find it for me. Usually this occurs within 24 hours or so. Well, on the way home from dinner tonight, I was tired of waiting and asked my son. He immediately said, "alliteration?" "YES!" I said. "Thank you."
My middle child, my second daughter, turned 25 today. I waited until it was 11:00 a.m. central time (mine) and 9:00 a.m. pacific time (hers) to call her and I, unfortunately, STILL woke her up when all I wanted to do was wish her a very happy birthday. We laughed and she became less sleepy as the conversation went on. She was finding it a little difficult to get her mind around the fact that she's 25. I'm finding it difficult to get my mind around the fact I'm the mother of three adult children (almost.)
How extraordinarily beautiful this day is! It helps that I awoke rested instead of groggy. I was able to sleep until 8:00 and rose up to greet the morning at 9:00. The carpeting installer arrived shortly before 11:00; that job will soon be checked off, thank heavens. We are going to a party this evening for the daughter of a friend who is joining the U.S. Navy. I have NO IDEA what to get someone who is brave enough to do this in a time of war; I do not relate to this--not one bit.
What do you get for a bright twenty year old woman you've never met who's going off to join the U.S. Navy? A card. I chose a card with the American flag on it that was blank inside until I wrote, "Thank you for serving our country. May God bless you and keep you safe." And then I signed my name and my husband's name. We attended a wonderful farewell party for her at her parents home on five acres under the trees and stars and ate smoked salmon and baked halibut--brought back to Oklahoma recently from Alaska.
It's raining this fine and foggy Monday morning. I LOVE the rain, especially when I can enjoy it from inside of my house and not have to be out in it. It began earlier this morning around 6:00 and then stopped for awhile. Another storm has moved in and the rain is splattering on our wooden deck, pinging on our green heavy duty picnic table. I was awake from 2:30 until 4:40 this morning, listening to far off and distant thunder. I could hear noises that sounded like they were coming from upstairs. My son "sleep cleaning?"
It's a gray Tuesday. It began at 6:00 A.M. because I'd been told the painters would be arriving. They had been coming at 8:00; here it is 8:51 and still no show. Sigh. House restoration/renovation/repair; it's a bummer--but nice when it's finished. Yesterday it rained all day. Lightning streaked across the sky, thunder roared, rocked and rumbled. (I'm still liking alliterations!) (Could be worse.) My friend received a good report yesterday from her soon-to-be surgeon I took her to see; he doesn't think the polyp he will be removing is malignant.
We are born hardwired with certain propensities that are knit within us while still in our mother's wombs. Gender is only one aspect of our being and the variations of our maleness or femaleness are as deep as the sea and wide as the sky. This is how it has come to be that we are each unique, not born blue or pink: we are an expansive mixture of personality types, bone structures, muscle mass and aptitudes. Nature creates us male or female and cultures place expectations of masculine and feminine. Nurture accepts that we are a bit of both.
No one has mentioned my new haircut except my best girlfriend. She saw me just hours after I'd had it done. It's not like I went from raven to platinum; it's been chestnut for years. It's not like I had waist-length locks chopped off into a sassy spiked-do; I just had it trimmed and shaped in back to the length of the sides. I'm actually growing it out from short and spiked to a bob. Not like I went from no bangs at all to Buster Brown blunt cut bangs; have always had shaggy bangs touching my eyebrows.
A little poem: "Opens Today in New York and Los Angeles" And who are we, those 48 other states, woefully placed between the two mighty stages of theatre and cinema on the east coast and the left coast? Red states and blue states alike, we are anonymous, faceless pieces of a puzzle, snapped together, comprising the rest of the continent, all who do not, cannot, may not, are not allowed to have the newest of the new on opening night. Who are we? Chopped liver. I'd sure like to see Vince Vaughn's latest movie, "Couples Retreat," but I'm in Oklahoma.
Ooooops. I was in error yesterday when I mistakenly thought that yesterday was the opening day of "Couples Retreat." Turns out that opening day is not until John Lennon's birthday, October 9. That's something to look forward to. I do hope it opens in Bartlesville, OK that day or else we'll have to drive all the way to Tulsa--which is 40 miles south of here. Why not simply wait until it comes out on Netflix, you might ask? I don't want to. It's that simple. I know that the trailers have probably shown all the good parts; tisk, tisk.
Today: an admixture of everything good. I slept-in knowing I cannot do that tomorrow. I relaxed with coffee and emailing. I wore one of my favorite outfits--same outfit I wore last night when my husband and I took a friend out for dinner. This included a lovely summer-weight turquoise sweater from Chico's and a beautiful hand crocheted necklace, also turquoise and shimmering green. Went out for iced tea and fried gator for brunch with a gal pal and then picked up two guys for book group. Back home, I read, emailed, made ham and beans for supper.
OMG, I'm STARVING! It's 6:00 P.M. and the flooring installation guy is STILL HERE! He's been here ALL DAY! We are nearing the end of the endless home restoration projects and my nerves are just about shot. I thought he'd be packing up to leave at 5:00 so I could relax a few minutes before our neighbor comes over for dinner. SHE'S BRINGING THE BEER; HOORAY!!!! Thank God for neighbors who drink here in the Bible Belt. What would I do without her? I'm making pizza with pesto sauce, artichokes, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese.
A fine white dust covers my world--or at least every inch of every surface in my house. The house renovations have done this. I know that eventually things will be back to "normal," whatever "normal" might be. Normal in my house has never meant that magazine photographers would be able to appear at any moment and start clicking away for the cover of a future issue. Our house has always had what is called--perhaps euphemistically--a "lived in" look. This varies between fairly organized to the casual observer and having the appearance that a bomb has struck it.
IT IS FINISHED! No, I'm not quoting Jesus here; not really. His work was a lot more important, exhausting and eternal than the renovation of my house but--for the most part--it's DONE. The flooring looks beautiful. The paint looks beautiful. It's so nice to have the ceilings and walls without big holes in them. It's so nice not to have workers showing up at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, too! All of our furniture is arranged differently and my husband said just what I was hoping he'd say: "Looks like a new house! Great job arranging the furniture."
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