Posts Tagged With: home

timelines and titles

Turns out I have a new title to add to my list.
Project Manager.
I mean, it’s not that serious, the title. However the project is pretty serious.
The project is getting this house ready to go on the market.
I mentioned I was concerned it felt like a long time, but between now and May isn’t all that long.
And though the list isn’t terribly long, it’s still a list.

Remodeling will be tricky with extra people in the house. But we’re just going to have to find a way to make it work. Since we’ll be down two bathrooms, (hopefully one at a time) Thing G is moving to his mom’s sooner than originally planned. He expressed his disappointment and anxiety. YBW encouraged him to examine what about the change was causing his anxiety. Thing 1 assured him leaving the home he grew up in was a big deal so feeling anxious about it was normal. YBW and I were gentle with him when we made it clear he was truly without choice in the matter and reassured him of our love and support. We reminded him he was not being thrown to the wolves but going to his other parent where he would be loved and supported. He’s accepting of the situation, and we’re accepting of his feels.

YBW and I created a preliminary timeline yesterday. One that we’re both comfortable with. It started out a bit with him questioning my proposed timing. But then I expressed my concern about pushing everything off. I said I’d rather get it all done and breathe than be panicked about getting it finished in time. When I likened it to his travel anxiety he had an ah-ha moment and agreed to my proposed timeline. (He’d rather get to the airport early, get through security then use that extra time to walk around or sit at the gate than be running through the airport to get to the gate before the plane door closes. TBPH, I feel the same damn way.)

So our prelim timeline looks like two bathrooms asap, one right after the other.
Painting immediately after the holidays.
Flooring in March.
Pressure washing the exterior and lawn and garden touch ups in April.
All the myriad things can be inserted when and where most applicable.

The master bath plain old boring builder grade stuff that’s never been changed in the twenty years YBW’s lived here. We talked about changing it many times and right about the time we were ready to pull the trigger, the new house became a thing and we abandoned those elaborate plans.
Now we’re just going to update the floor and tile, light fixture, faucets, and cabinets.
Thing 1 and I went looking at tile Friday morning. (both my girls love any excuse for a trip to the hardware store)
We found this tile for the shower and tub surround.

We chose these beautiful porcelain tiles. The white ones are .79 and the carrara looking ones are .99 and I plan to set them vertically. We found 12 x 12 squares in a gorgeous gray for the floor.
Done and done.

On my calendar today is to call the contractors.
My notebook and pen are at the ready!
I got this!

Categories: around the house | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

the view from here

The last two days, I feel like I’ve been in seriously great Momma mode!
Y’all, I’m so blessed to be my daughters mother. They are incredible women, and my love for them is unconditional and limitless!

Yesterday Thing 2 and I talked for a while for the first time since my birthday. I assisted her in some important decision making, and provided over all Momma love and support. That girl is made of some seriously sturdy stuff, but sometimes needs help remembering. It’s hard when you feel like you have to do everything on your own. Being reminded you have loving, supportive people in your corner helps get you out of your head and provides a fresh perspective on everything.

This morning Thing 1 was feeling a bit overwhelmed by her own great and arduous task of packing her house. I asked if she was needing assistance planning or simply needed to be heard. She was all about the help.
So I suggested she start with a list (I mean of course I did, I’m the freaking List Lady after all!). I suggested she plan out what needs to be packed and then create a timeline.
Of course Baby K is like, WTF mommy? when Thing 1 is trying to pack instead of playing. I know that’s hard for both of them.
But I was struck with an idea!
What if Thing 1 actively packed for only twenty minutes each hour!?! She may not feel like she’s accomplishing much, or even finish packing one box, but she might feel less overwhelmed, and Baby K won’t get her diapie in a twist at being ‘ignored’.
Set a timer! Crank the music! Make a game of it! Baby K will love that, and Thing 1 can get things done without too much stress.
And, if she does her twenty minutes at the top of each hour, they have that last forty minutes to play together!

And in this house…
Yesterday afternoon, I opened one of the bins YBW and I pulled out of the utility room.
It was labeled with the names of my grandparents followed by the words family info.
So I was pretty much expecting all the genealogy stuff my mother complied in her lifetime. That was what I remembered putting in the bin after going through all the stuff my mother’s husband gave me five years ago.
But damn if I didn’t surprise myself!
In that bin was more so much more than the genealogy information.
Some random af stuff I didn’t know what to do with when I initially received it, but felt comfortable deciding yesterday.
Grandaddy’s harmonica.
My mom’s passport in which I too am in the photo as I was in her belly.
My grandmother’s hand written birth certificate.
And this (these?) gem(s).

I was able to divide and conquer everything, saving some things I want the girls to see before I dispose of them, and only had a small discard pile.
Of course now I have a stuffy headache from the mildew that clings to some of those items. It’s worth it.

Today I’m kind of being quiet. That is, not really doing much. Some writing. A bit of tidying. A bit of ridiculousness…
YBW is working from home this week so I went in there and said, You have a minute? He turned to give me his undivided attention.
Me: Wanna know how old I am?
YBW: Forty nine.
Me: Yeah, but not in chronological time.
YBW: …
Me: I think I need a neckchain for my reading glasses.
YBW: smiles but says nothing…
Me: If I’m wearing a pony or bun-bun I can’t put them on top of my head, they fall off.
YBW: serious face but silent…
Me: Is that ridiculous?
YBW: Not if me in my shorts and tee, and socks and slippers, and hoodie isn’t too ridiculous.
Me: I love everything about you.
YBW: Me too, baby.

Good Lord, we’re ridiculous!
At least each of us thinks this about the other.

This afternoon I’ll be focusing on organizing music, doing a bit of research on brain health and mental illness, and shopping for some stylish chains for my reading glasses.
Can you handle the excitement?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

time: spending spree or saving for a rainy day?

Excellent news!
The person who was in YBW’s office tested negative for covid!
WOOT!
Even though it turned out to be nothing, my husband’s company took this seriously and was proactive. The decision to send everyone home and have the office properly cleaned shows the health and wellbeing of the employees is important. While it may be a simple fact of keeping everyone healthy so they can remain at work, I appreciate the effort because it helps keep my husband healthy.

In other news:

With so much ‘free time’ we are tackling as many time consuming tasks as possible.
House things are at the top of that list. Things that need to be done as we live here, and in the knowledge that this prep work will assist us when it’s time to move into our new house.
YBW has lived in this house twenty one years. In addition to his own things, he accumulated things from his parents. This time is a gift in which to sort and purge, and make decisions about how he wants to curate his life at the end of his time in this house and the way he plans to live in the new house.

In the unfinished part of our basement in which the mechanicals are housed, there’s also shelving and storage bins. He began tackling his stored things early this year, but on Saturday, I requested his assistance to access three bins of my stuff. It was a successful bit of work as we did a quick survey and purge of other things too. All in less than half an hour!
I’ll be going through those bins this week.

I’m all about this organization, y’all!

Yesterday, YBW cleaned out his closet. And since I already did mine, I chose an activity that kept us in the same room and able to talk about what he went through.
I ironed all our napkins.

Y’all it was so damn satisfying.

Porch life is in full swing!
This week:
Nora joined me for a porch life visit.
we had a virtual happy hour on the porch with YBW’s work friends for which I quickly threw together a half-assed charcuterie board.
we popped bubbly during appropriately social distanced porch life with our neighbors.

Today we planned on a shoot day, but it’s cloudy and damp. Not the best lighting or weather for taking photos.
Maybe I’ll get on my bins sooner than I thought?

I find myself go through spurts of being uber productive. All mindful and self aware. Only to flip the coin and spend an entire day watching Youtube vids, or blazing through books.
I’m currently rewatching all the Harry Potter movies. In true Give a Mouse a Cookie form, watching them highlights how different from the books they are, and how book Ron and movie Ron are two completely different characters, and how much I adore the books, and now I find myself wanting to read them all over again.
My journaling already killed one pen.
I’m on the porch as often as possible.

Do y’all find yourselves doing the home tasks you’ve put off?
Are you using this forced free time to your advantage?
Are you equal parts ‘ruthless efficiency’ and ‘straight chillin’?
Are your streaming subscriptions at peak ‘worth the cost’?
Are you tackling your TBRs?
What about your gardens?
Are you sick of the news?
Do you miss going places?
Are you content to be at home?
Are you tired of being asked questions?

Dang! All those questions felt a bit like…

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

joy and gratitude

I know this time of year is tricky.
For some it’s a straight up ‘hard no’.
For others, it’s emotionally painful.
Yet, there are some folks for which this truly is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
I am one of those folks.
I love Christmastime with a fiery vengeance!
Even the moments when I was in full on panic mode when we first got home from our trip, I still loved the holidays. I mean, I freaked out and declared I wasn’t going to decorate this year, but that was travel (and laundry) fatigue talking.
I was out the very next day, saw a bright red Jeep with a tree tied to the top and I was instantly in full on Christmastime mode!

As I consider my holiday joy, I find a great deal of gratitude.
Please indulge me as I share my gratitude and joy with you.

bucket list trip checked
three glorious weeks away with my husband
gorgeous weather in Costa Rica

outstanding customer service
not living in Panama City
strong black coffee
first hand knowledge of how lock systems work before entering the Panama Canal
cocktails
an absolutely delightful lounge act (And he played our song!)
my precious husband drinking wine on the balcony all Thanksgiving day
City Lights Bookstore

YBW’s sense of humor
reading books
having my pillow on vacay
meeting new people
finding the most perfect hand carved nativity in Cartagena
stunning sunsets

photo cred: YBW

my laundry machines
sleeping in my own bed
coca cola
YBW’s patience
talking on the phone with Baby K
extremely detailed sub plans
with YBW on a blanket on the floor by the Christmas tree and fireplace
decorating
shopping
wrapping
trees on cars
hugging Holly
movies with YBW (Knives Out)
a play and dinner with Mike and Josie
being with Thing 2 Friday
being with Thing 1, Husband N, and Baby K Sunday
holiday music
two of my three alternative healthcare providers
monogrammed rain boots
heated steering wheel

I feel absolutely merry and bright!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

didja miss me?

Didja miss me?
I missed y’all!
I was silent for longer than I expected!
I was a straight creeper, reading your blogs, even commenting on some, but not writing at all.
After the sadness and grief of leaving Thing 1 and Baby K, I needed time to fit back into this house, this life.

The first week I was home, I saw girlfriends and got my hair did.
I went back for the last two days of school, mostly to say goodbye to students and staff.
We saw our last play of the season at Woolly Mammoth.
I cleared the DVR of HGTV shows that got recorded in the six weeks I was gone.
I finished the third of five books for one of my last five courses, wrote a quick essay about it, and participated in a book discussion.
YBW and I got invited by friends to go to Williamsburg for a couple of days.

I did a great deal of this:

For the most part, the weather has been beautiful! Cooler temps, lower humidity, and good breezes keep me on the porch. When it was hot and humid last week, well, we were in Williamsburg sweating our balls off. But, I was able to come back home to great porch weather and be out there with my books and iced tea.

I knew it would be hard to come home after being with my daughter’s family. And with the exception of some acute sadness and grief the first three hours in the car the day I left, I’m handling it well.
I miss them. I want to be near them.
But we talk frequently. And they’ll be here in less than thirty days!

We sent Baby K an ipad so we can facetime with them.
Yesterday when YBW came home from work, I was facetiming with Thing 1 and Baby K and he got SO excited! But here’s the thing, Baby K got so excited when she saw her Papa YBW’s face, she broke into a HUGE smile!
That girl smiled at her granddad, y’all! She knows what’s up!
She did not smile at me. She pretty much ignored me while I talked to her mom. She did however, look at me when I said, “Birdie loves you, girl.” And she attempted kisses which pretty much turned into her sticking her tongue out at me when I made kisses at her.
God I miss her!
But seeing her is such fun!

Here’s a pic just in case y’all want to see her too!

Gah! Don’t you just want to squeeze this deliciously fat baby!?!

I have a bit more course work to knock out. Two more books, five more annotated bibliographies, a hefty paper, and I’m finished.
I’m eager to tackle my TBR stack!
This summer I’m all about me on the porch with a stack of books.
Bring it.

I missed writing. Sharing my thoughts with you.
But I needed to circle the wagons a bit as I reacclimated myself into my life here.

Since Easter, everything has been all about Baby K. Well, Thing 1 and Baby K. And I’ve absolutely adored every moment of that time. But I’m beginning to realize not everyone is as hype as me. (mais pourquoi pas, je ne peux pas dire)
I’m beginning to remember that life is a bit bigger than that precious baby bubble.

My (summertime) life is farmers market Thursdays and day drinking with Holly. It’s me porchlifing my ass off. It’s books and magazines stacked up near me to pick up when I can. It’s laundry and groceries and Target runs. It’s weekends with friends, and YBW and I having ‘shoot days‘.

I’m gently stepping out of the bubble to embrace my life.
I feel a little out of practice, but I’m a quick study.
It’s easy to want to be in your life when you love it, and y’all, I do love my life!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

what kind of mother does that? or love and hope make me whole

It’s no secret I have mother issues. Normally they’re on the DL, you know, just kind of there minding their own business. But Tuesday? Well, Tuesday they threw a f**king parade.
YBW and I were with our therapist Tuesday. And while discussing something (that at the time seemed) completely unrelated the teenage girl in me was triggered.

*****
The summer after my freshman year of high school, my mother literally removed all trace of me from my home. She packed up all my belongings in black trash bags and left them on the porch. When my father took me to pick up my things, my mother would not allow me in the house. She actually stood behind the storm door long enough to deny me entrance before closing the big door in my face. I wasn’t allowed to say goodbye to my brother. I never got to hug my Grandaddy. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my cat.
When I was fifteen years old, my mother sent me to live with the father who abandoned me when I was five.

I know you want to ask why.
Believe me, I asked it enough. In fact, the last time I made the attempt to speak with my mother about it, she politely told me she was not going to discuss it. That it was over and there was no reason to go back to it.
UM…NO REASON TO DISCUSS THE SEMINAL MOMENT IN MY LIFE!?!?
So, to answer your question, I don’t know why.

I do know that she didn’t like the fact that I was beginning to become my own person. I no longer wanted to be a girl scout. I no longer wanted to be a memember of the CAR. I didn’t want to do the things she forced me to do. I wanted to do things I was curious about, interested in, not just what she decided I would do.
I wanted to play softball. I wanted to take theater, and dance classes.
I played briefly at not turning in homework and skipping classes. That didn’t last long, I love(d) learning and understood it was ridiculous to miss out on something I loved to spite my mother.
I started dating a very sweet guy that was instantly hated simply because of the timing. He was kind and caring and was actually good for me, encouraging me to be more focused in school, etc.
I wanted to choose more for myself. I was weary of living the life she designed, I wanted to be my own person.
Of course, this is actually developmentally appropriate behavior for teenagers.
And I was not drinking. I was not doing drugs. I was just trying to figure out what I wanted my life to look like.
That was not what my mother wanted. She expected me to do all the things she wanted me to do. She expected me to live my life for her. She didn’t want any part of a daughter that didn’t keep her head down and do what she was told.

According to my father, my mother called him one day at work and when he answered she said, “If you don’t take her, I’m putting her in a home.” His reply…? “Who is this?”
(I learned this as a 40-something year old woman)
Yeah, these two f**kwits were my parents. Yay. (sarcasm, just so we’re clear)

I didn’t do what she wanted me to so she got rid of me.
Let that sink in. I didn’t do what she wanted me to do so she got rid of me.
No conversation, no talk with me about ‘getting it together’, no warning. Just me calling her from my dad’s one afternoon in the summer asking her to pick me up so I could come home and her telling me, “You’re not coming home.”
Let that sink in. “You’re not coming home.”
That was her solution to her problem of me. Her first born child, her only daughter. Her solution to the problem of me not doing what she wanted was to get rid of me.
What kind of mother does that?
*****

And even after my deep-heel-digging-in resistance, this all (and more) came out in our therapy session.
So. Many. Tears.
I didn’t want YBW there. I didn’t want the therapist there. I’d rather never have to be there, but of course, ‘there’ is always down deep in me.
Here’s why I don’t want anyone there.
First of all, it was the most damaging moment of my life. In that moment I was taught that if I didn’t do what someone else wanted/expected/told me to do, I was so unlovable that I needed to be disposed of. In that moment I learned that without knowing all the rules all the time I was never going to be safe. In that moment I learned that home is nothing but a noun.
Secondly, I have so much shame regarding every single bit of that.
I am so ashamed it happened to me. Ashamed because I feel like I’m betraying my mother if I tell this story.
No one should experience what I did. Even secondhand.

Of course, that’s not how therapy works. And I’m a weeping, gasping, snotty mess talking about how my mother didn’t love me. Talking about how I was sent away from my little brother. How I was sent away from my own precious Grandaddy.
I wanted to run as far away from that room as my feet could carry me. I hated every single moment of sharing that story. To be perfectly honest, I would rather have removed my own tongue than share that experience.

After the worst of it, I talked about Grandaddy. How he was the first man I ever loved. How he taught me how to give and receive love. How he taught me to express myself and not be passive aggressive like my mother. How he once told me that if anything every happened to my mother, I never had to worry, I didn’t have to leave him, he would keep me with him always. How until the day I left Thing 2 in the NICU, the day he died was the worst day of my life. How even though he could sometimes be a grouchy old man, he was chock full of love.
Our therapist suggested that I’m kind of a grouch in love because that’s how I learned to love.
I actually laughed out loud! She’s right.
I’m gruff but loving.
Velvet hammer, much?
I love the way I was loved by the only adult who loved me consistently and unconditionally.
(I suspect the girls will experience a great “Ah ha” moment at reading this.)

What kind of mother throws away her child because she can no longer control her?
My kind of mother.
All my issues with trust, with always having to know and understand what the rules are. All my issues of never feeling good enough, or truly lovable. All my issues regarding feeling safe. And my issues regarding house vs home, wondering if I’ll ever feel at home anywhere again?
These are directly related to that trauma.
That trauma she caused.
The one she flat refused to discuss later on in our lives.
And still I have the guilt. Still I have the shame.
It feels like, I shouldn’t talk mad shit about my mother. I should protect her. She loved me. She did the best she could.
How every single bit of it still feels like my fault.

Our therapist asked YBW to be my fifteen year old self’s ‘champion’ as a way of having an adult speak to my mother.
First he told her that I am an amazing, beautiful, loving, woman and mother no thanks to her.
He told her I was fractured, but she did not break me.
He told her that I learned love from her father and that he is a part of me every single day and she is not.
He told her that I am a really wonderful mother, and she should never have told me otherwise.
He told her that because I’m so lovely he was blessed and honored to be my husband.
He told her a great big f**k you!
And finally, he told her that all I wanted to do was go home, why wouldn’t she let me go home?

Years ago, I used to say, “Home is where the Roby is.”
I didn’t realize it was because I felt so f**king homeless. But I was determined to create a home where I felt safe, so wherever I was, that was home. Only I couldn’t love myself unconditionally enough, so that didn’t quite work out.
That’s why I’m so hell-bent to build a home with YBW that’s just ours, not one he already had, not one with any of our kids in it. Just him and me, in the home we create. Where we’ll both feel safe and sound and loved and wanted.
One day…

This story has been in me for thirty two years.
This experience of sharing it has been upsetting me for the last couple days.
I’m feeling pathetic and needy. I’m wanting to be snuggly. I want to, as Grandaddy used to say, “crawl into a hole and pull the hole in after you”. Mostly I want reassurance that I’m lovable and not disposable. YBW’s on it.
I laid my head on him this morning, and he asked if I was OK.
No, I’m not remotely OK, I told him, but I feel better now.

Here’s what I know now.
If I hadn’t been sent to my father’s I wouldn’t have met my ex-husband, and while that may have been a bonus, I would not have my girls. And my girls are everything!
I wouldn’t have been in British Lit senior year of high school with a boy I took no notice of, but twenty years later took great notice of. So much so that six years later, we got hitched.
I wouldn’t have Sundance, or Sally. Don’t want to live with out them!
I might not have Jessica, or Nicole, or Becca in my world.

I know that I’m not the perfect mother, I know I’ve f**ked shit right up for my girls. But, I do know that I did everything in my power to make sure they felt loved. To make sure they felt safe. To make sure they could make their own choices.
It is my ultimate hope that they know I love them more than anything else. Ever. In the history of the world!
For me, however bad things were, I wanted them fiercely and I wanted them to know that.

I know that I’m flawed.
Jesus, by this time in my life, it’s simply part of my charm!
I know why I’m flawed. I know my responsibilities in my flaws. I know that these flaws make me the woman I am. And steaming hot mess or not, I’m full of love. I’m full of hope. It slips in and fills in the cracks from those long ago fractures. Love and hope make me a whole woman.
For how much more could I ask?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

pretending the bed is a raft

I once had this book called Pretending the Bed is a Raft. It’s a collection of short stories written by Nanci Kincaid. I remember the stories were beautifully written but devastatingly sad. I’m not sure what happened to that book. A quick scan of my shelves and I don’t see it. It may have gone to the used bookstore during one of my annual book purges.
What I have to say isn’t really about the book anyway. It’s about the title.

Pretending the bed is a raft.
I love this concept! Let’s pretend the bed is a raft.
I feel like it’s a game of make believe we might have played when Thing 1 and Thing 2 were little. They would have wanted to be pirates on that bed raft. They would have had us all dressed up with scarves and eye patches and Thing 1 would have wanted to be the captain, but Thing 2 probably would have been calling the shots. I would have been the dutiful first mate, responsible for the safety of the crew while the captain(s) lead us into death or glory. I can hear Thing 2 in her ‘little old man’ voice saying, “Storms a-brewin!”

Pretending the bed is a raft.
I feel like I’ve done this my entire life, only I never used that phrase until I’d seen this book. It stated simply the concept I’ve always understood.
With absolute certainty, my most fundamental belief is: When the going gets tough, get in your bed.

I’m a big fan of getting in my bed when I’m feeling…well, anything actually. I mean, obviously when I’m tired. But, I’m thinking about all the other things I feel. Emotional exhaustion, frustration, or illness. These could all be considered fancy words for depression. Some people use ice cream. I use my pillows. Because nothing comforts me like my bed.
Loneliness and heartache send me straight to my bed.
When I’m craving peace and quiet. If I’m overwhelmed or overjoyed, I take to the comfort of my bed.
That bed is my raft in the seas of all feeling.

My perfect bed is a dark wood farmhouse canopy, made with the most crisp white cotton known to man. This bed is my cocoon. I bought it to keep me safe the first time I ever lived alone. Newly separated, children part time at my home, part time at their father’s, I knew I would need a haven that made me feel safe and sound.
This bed carried me safely through the feeling seas for many years.
Sweet Izzie kitty, so grouchy with everyone but me. She would curl up next to me in that bed and her soft purring would match my breathing and we’d sleep happily together.
My girls snuggling in that cocoon with me. Thing 2 coming in every night for months with her pillow and sleeping with me. Thing 1 didn’t sleep with me that often, she’s an active sleeper, making full use of her bed. But when she came for a snuggle it would be an event.

YBW was invited into my cocoon.
He invited me into his bed, he named it serenity.
The first time I came here, we went to bed and he told me to close my eyes…when I opened them there were stars all over the ceiling. He told me on the phone that when I came to his home, I would sleep in serenity in a sea of stars. He made that happen for me. We could be together in the cocoon or in serenity and it was lovely.

When I moved here, the cocoon moved to the guest room.
We bought new mattress and foundation and I began to sleep full time in his bed. I’d lived here for almost a year when we had a little mishap and broke the bed. I fell in love with a bed and took him to see it. He agreed and the new bed came home to our room. The bed we share is a beautiful dark wood, with a very high headboard and drawers in the footboard. It is made with crisp white bedding.

When I’m in need of pretending the bed is a raft, I don’t often take to the bed I share with YBW. I’ll go to the cocoon. It’s not that that I don’t feel comfortable or safe in serenity. It’s just different. I think it’s tricky when you share a bed with someone. That bed is our shared space. Where we have conversations. Where we make love. Where we occasionally keep the other awake. The bed is lovely, especially when properly made, but it’s not a bed I’m inclined to pretend is a raft. I think it’s because it doesn’t fully belong to me.

In the old days, my bed was a place where everyone just kind of piled in and we hung out. Small children all in it together with story books or soft toys. Grown up girls doing each other’s make up. Sometimes, if they were very lucky, little girls having their make up done. It was a place for snuggles and giggles and opening birthday gifts first thing in the morning. It was a place to simply be. And to feel loved.

My sister in law’s bed is like that too. We all just go in there and pile up on the bed. Sometimes the TV is on. Sometimes there are books or computers or tablets or smartphones. Sometimes we just all get in and talk and talk. Kids, grown ups, boys, girls. It doesn’t matter. We get in her bed and without even knowing it, pretend it’s a raft. It is one of those rare places I feel nurtured without having to do the nurturing.

When my heart was freshly broken, I came to be with Sundance. Her sweet husband went to sleep elsewhere in the house so I could sleep in bed with Sundance. She helped me heal as we talked quietly in her bed. We poured each other into that bed after we’d had way too much to drink. Her bed was a raft that I didn’t have to be in alone at the lowest point in my life.

I have a friend who has the unbreakable rule that no one is allowed in his home. He never shares his bed. I sometimes wonder if he feels like his bed is a raft in a safe way, of if it’s a raft in which he drifts, lost at sea. I respect the desire for privacy. For boundaries. No one in your sacred space ensures safety, but it seems to me a lonely life.

Pretending the bed is a raft means something different to each of us. Our bed means something different to each of us.
Your bed can be a haven. Or your bed can be the place where you live your life. Your bed can be a playground for children. Or a sexual playground for adults. Your bed is a place to rest your weary head.
You can share your bed or choose not to share it.
The bed I share with YBW is the place for us to be together.
But, my bed is a sacred place. The place I feel safe and sound. It is the raft on the feeling sea.
And even though it’s now the beautiful and comfortable place for our guests to lay their heads, it will always be my cocoon. My space.
If you’ve been invited into that bed, know how much you are loved.

Categories: around the house, love, me, on being a mom, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

feather your nest

You know when an idea takes hold of you and you can’t see anything else? I’m experiencing that right now.
My sister in law suggested I somehow parlay my mad organizational skills into a business. She called it “feather your nest” as a play on The Robynbird’s Nest.
She suggested that I provide organizational services for people’s closets, pantries, etc., as well as packing for trips.
I should have taken photos of my bag packed coming home from Charleston as an example…but I unpacked it too quickly this morning to remember.

I haven’t the marketing skills to help it go from idea to income. But I have the organizational skills to make it work…
You know, the more this idea sits with me, the more I fall in love with it.

It reminds me of this children’s book by Kobi Yamata, beautifully illustrated by Mae Besom.
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Pretty much the gist is the child has an idea but doesn’t know what to do with it at first, but it continues to follow him around.
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But sometimes asking what other’s think about an idea isn’t the simplest thing.
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The last page of the book says,
“And then, I realized what you do with an idea…
You change the world.”

Now, I don’t expect to change the world with this “feather your nest” idea. But I will say this. I changed my friend and mentor’s home. I changed my own home…several of my own homes. My sister in law is adamant I come change her home.
So maybe, just maybe, this idea has room to grow.

Categories: around the house | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

a guiding light

Lighthouses stand stalwart and true where land meets the sea.
An important navigational aid to guide ships into port, That light was the only thing standing between a ship and disaster.

The legend of Nags Head in the Outer Banks of North Carolina tells of land pirates hanging a lantern around the neck of a horse and walking her along the huge dunes at Jockey’s Ridge. This was to trick ship captains into running aground on the shoals so the ship could then be looted.

My mom loved lighthouses. She collected little lighthouse tchotchkes, anything from pictures to candles to actual replicas of lighthouses.
YBW loves lighthouses too. He also has a (much smaller than Mommie’s) collection of lighthouse tchotchkes.
I asked him what he loved so much about lighthouses and this is what he told me:
Lighthouses represent adventure. They make me feel like being on vacation.

Now, this fascinated me! He loves lighthouses because to him, the represent the freedom to travel.
This quick conversation lead me to consider what a lighthouse might mean to me, and here’s what I came up with:
A lighthouse is a beacon, a guiding light to keep you safe.

I see how differently my husband and I view lighthouses. To him it’s adventure and travel. To me a haven. These views are absolutely influenced by the way we grew up. He grew up sheltered in a safe and idyllic family, I grew up abandoned by one parent and discarded by the other.
But together he and I create the complete lighthouse concept. At the edge of land, at once sending you off on adventures and welcoming you home again.

I would love to know why my mom loved them…I wonder why it never occurred to me to ask her that question?

Lighthouses continue to stand long after outliving usefulness.
We explored such a lighthouse on our honeymoon.

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Harrison Point Lighthouse
St Lucy, Barbados.

This lighthouse was built of concrete in 1925.
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It was deactivated in (approximately) 2007 and has been abandoned since (approximately) 2011. We visited the lighthouse in 2015 and this is what we found.
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The red steel door torn from the hinge.

P1090161 Ruined motor and electrical panel. P1090165

Starting up the steps.
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Curling up higher and higher.
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No more concrete.
Rusted metal steps to the service room.
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At the door to the service room.
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The floor here is beginning to rust straight through. We tread with great care.

This panel is worse off than the one downstairs.
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I crawled with hands and feet up these rusty ladder stairs to the lantern room.
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A look back at the lantern room door.
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The lens was long gone. Most of the lantern room glass too. We found the broken bits on the ground at the base of the lighthouse. Some huge chunks of Fresnel lens mixed in with so much window glass. (YBW brought some home and keeps them on his desk at work and here at home.)

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It was breathtakingly beautiful.

The door to the outer ring around the lantern room was open and as I leaned the top of my body out, YBW urged me to stay put. He saw the rusty railings, knows I’m a bit klutzy, put two and two together and said: If you fall, you will die, I can’t be a widower when we’ve been married less than a week. Please don’t.

He was scared for my safety. The more I looked out at the very thin railing rusting at all the important joints, I was compelled to stay where I was. The warm afternoon light gave me the gooseflesh.
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I wrote about lighthouses because I read a post early this morning about praying at the edge of the sea.
I was moved by the visual created by those words. The sea carrying a prayer to the far reaches of the world then returning it magnified.

What if that’s what lighthouses really are?
What if they continually send and receive prayers?
What if they are the “guiding light” of all the seaside prayers? Or love? Or adventures? Or safe havens?
And even after they no longer light the sky they never stop sending and receiving those all-important intangibles?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grandaddy’s house

I grew up in this house.
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I always consider this my home, but never actually call it “home”. I only ever call it “Grandaddy’s house”.
My room was the window above the porch and the first one on the side of the house.

Grandaddy and my grandmother moved to this house from N Barton Street in Arlington when my mom was three or four. So that was 1947 or 1948. It was built in Falls Church. A post war, GI bill-sort of neighborhood called Tyler Park. The house is on the corner of a street with a big hill and a relatively flat street that dead ends into a church.

It was a great neighborhood to grow up in. We rode our bikes all around, up and down the hills. We played touch football and kickball and soccer on the open lawn of the church. We played on the playground and sledded down the hill at Tyler Park. Later on, when I was in middle school, it even had one of those brown Fairfax County Park Authority signs. (Why did I remember that?)

Last Saturday, YBW and I had an errand day that took us farther from home than normal. It started with me craving arepas on Friday. The closest Venezuelan joint is in Falls Church so I created an entire day around eating this food.
Saturday took us to Tiffany’s to leave my bracelet to have the new charm attached. Then to the jeweler to see about sorting the fact that my wedding ring is a teeny smitch smaller than my engagement ring. The goldsmith was precious and assured me it would be perfect when he was finished.

Since we were in Falls Church, I decided to take YBW to where I grew up. I know where he grew up, my girls went to the elementary school literally across the street. I’ve been there and seen the addition and listened to his stories. Even tried to find his family’s hand prints in the concrete of the end of the driveway apron addition.
I love that feeling of seeing and beginning to understand where he comes from.
It was time for us to experience that with my early life.

I told stories of landmarks that are gone or of new ones that sprang up as we drove from the actual City of Falls Church into Fairfax County but still ‘Falls Church’. I was amazed how excited I was to share my young life with him! This is where I went to second and third grade before they closed the school. It was Fairfax County’s Child Find building when I was last in this area. (About ten years ago.) But now, it has beautiful new additions and is a much needed elementary school once again.
Careful, the turn you want is on the curve in the road right across from that huge stone wall…

I forgot how narrow the streets are in Tyler Park. These mostly are yards with no driveways, so cars park on both sides of the street. So many of the little cape cods have been built out into huge living spaces to accommodate the large families now residing in them.

When we got to the top of the hill there was a car behind us and we couldn’t stop to look at Grandaddy’s house so he listened while I talked and we went down towards the church to turn around.
This is where my friend Jennie lived. Her mom left their family. It was a big deal in the late 1970s. Her grandmother still lives up the street across from the park.
Oh look! We used to sled on that same hill!! Hmm. I remember it bigger.

Here’s Grandaddy’s house now.
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That whole bit in the back of the house is an addition. The original house stopped where the roofline changes pitch. It struck me as interesting that the new owners built this huge addition but left the original metal casement windows.

I have great sadness that all the beautiful trees are gone. Two huge maple trees in the front yard. The one on the left of the sidewalk I could climb high enough that I could see all the way down the hill to Graham Road. The apple tree in the side yard that had long ago stopped producing apples but stood beautiful and proud anyway. All the gorgeous flowering shrubs. Mock orange and azaleas and hydrangeas. Pampas grass, forsythia, and flowering vines along the fence in the side yard. The sweet shrub and hosta that flourished in the shade along the left side of the house.

Here’s the house from the front. You can see where the porch used to be. There are two windows upstairs on the front of the house now.
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I could see people moving around inside through the storm door. I teased YBW they were feeling a whole lot of WTF? that I was leaning out the car window taking photos with my phone.
Honestly there was a part of me that wanted to boldly knock on the door, explain I grew up there and ask to be let in to look around. I didn’t though. Partly because of the language barrier. Partly because I wasn’t sure I could bear it.
I have wonderful happy memories of growing up and being loved in that house. But that was when it was Grandaddy’s house, and it’s not really his anymore. Hasn’t been since 1992.
It belongs to those new people. And with my whole heart, I hope they’re having a wonderful life there.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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