Laying on the Couch Reading (The House of the Seven Gables) when I should Clean

I am a broken jar

held together by the hands of those who love me.

feigning adulthood

with weekly trips to the grocery store,

budgets carefully crafted in Excel (including formulas)

and the nagging sense that any moment

someone will see me–

the fifteen year old running the show

behind thirty two year old eyes.

My daughter reminds me often

how little I’ve changed since I was born.

I am still just as frustrated at being told what to do (or not do)

and would rather eat chocolate chip cookies than whatever is for breakfast,

lunch or dinner.

I would rather lay on the couch and read

than anything I’m supposed to

and I often do only what I must to keep up the appearance

of responsibility

and make room for what makes me happy.

I am still sometimes surprised

to find myself a wife and mother

with still more years spent

a lover of books, horses, and water

than these other, more demanding roles.

I love them all-

my faces, my costumes,

(even the grown-up one)

I wouldn’t wear them if I didn’t.

And the theatre (if not always the audience)

seems to forgive me if

I don’t find my way to my mark on time

or miss the occasional cue

while distracted backstage with an especially good book.

 

 

 

Where the Time Went . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Heart is Full . . .

and so is my dirty laundry basket, but I’m going to continue ignoring it for just one more nap time so I can get a post written.  : )

My parents were here for two, magical weeks and after saying goodbye and safe travels I walked through the airport ugly crying while strangers politely looked away.  We are making a home here in Massachusetts and have been luckier than I could have imagined in finding the most wonderful neighbors and friends, but there’s just something about having your mom and dad around that takes home to a different level.
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While they were here, my mom cleaned everything (meaning everything is now cleaner than I will ever be able to make anything in my entire life), my dad sanded the crib (a project I desperately wanted done, but was likely never going to actually do in time for my sweet Sunshine to sleep in it again), I got the pantry table primed and painted (there are many mistakes but I am ridiculously proud of my handiwork!), and I got the changing table/dresser primed.  We also ate a lot of food, talked until our voices went hoarse, laughed like hyenas, and drank a number of mimosas (what number, I’m not exactly sure, our counting got a bit iffy.)  Needless to say, I was not ready to see them go and I cannot wait to see them again.

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In the midst of that visit, my little love and I jetted down to Pensacola and spent a couple (literally two) days on the beach with a few of her namesakes.  That little stretch of the Gulf is, without question, my favorite slice of water on this earth.  My dad grew up in that area and we’ve been going back to spend time with family in beach houses there since I can remember.   I have no accurate description for how good it felt to watch her love and be loved by the people I love most or how happy it made me when she grabbed my finger and walked straight into the Gulf like they were old friends.  So I’ll just leave it at that.  : )
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Now, we are facing the monumental task (which is actually what feels like 10,000 smaller tasks that equal the one, big one) of getting my horses from Idaho to Massachusetts.  I’m worried about everything.  I’m worried about getting the barn ready.  I’m worried about putting them in a barn when two of the three of them have never really had that experience.  I’m worried about the trip and how they’ll handle it physically.  I’m worried about getting a good enough fence up.  I’m worried about getting water to the barn in a way that it won’t burst pipes during the long, cold winters and I’m worried about what will happen when (not if, mind you, but when) Tristan somehow escapes (as he has from EVERY SINGLE ENCLOSURE we have ever put him in).  I’m just plain worried.

Yet again, in the midst of all my fears, we are surrounded by incredible people.  The neighbors have all offered to help and rustled up people they know to help us as well.  Our friend Doug flew in from Oregon this week to help us out.  And, I’ve recruited two of my closest horse-girl posse to help me figure out how in the heck I’m going to get them from point A to point B as safely, happily, and inexpensively as possible.  Bottom line: I could not do this alone and I count myself beyond blessed that I don’t even have to try.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love my friends and family?  Probably not, because I don’t have words for that either.  <3<3<3
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So that’s what July-September are all about: horses, horses, horses!  I’ll do my best to keep sharing updates about what we find in the barn and how progress is going.  As always, wish us luck!  We have a long way to go and a short time to get there.  : )

Awkward Girl: Flies

Good morning everyone!

I’m writing today to let you know that I had a run in with Awkward Girl yesterday and, as per usual, hilarity ensued.  It all started a couple weeks ago when I was offered a very part time gig at a farm near our house that sells BBQ on the weekends.  They needed a hand taking orders, and Lord knows I’ve needed to get out of this house, baby-free, for some grown up time.  It was a win all around!

That said, I was also nervous.  I get nervous about things like this.  My last position was about as far from taking orders for BBQ as you can get and while I’ve had lots of customer service roles, nothing quite like this before.  Also, Carl and I are still working on building a life here and I wanted to do a great job and hopefully make a few more local friends.

I showed up about a half hour before the BBQ pit opened so I could get a little tour of employee areas, grab a farm shirt, and get some training on the (thankfully very easy) point of sale system.  It was just as that training was beginning, that Awkward Girl opted to make herself known.

Picture this, the BBQ pit is a very small area with a roof, a fire in the center, cooking and prep areas at the back, and three registers across a counter at the front.  At any given moment, there were roughly 8-10 employees working in this small area and, just then, there were about five people gathered up front, waiting for the work to begin.  We decided to do introductions since I hadn’t met anyone but the person training me.  Everyone gave their name, then the supervisor started to tell me about something and one of the ladies I had just met, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Jesse, come here.”

That in and of itself was a bit awkward, but I crossed through the center of the group and leaned in, at which point she informed me that my fly was completely down.  When I glanced, not only was it down, but my hands were in my pockets, which meant the zipper was WIDE OPEN revealing a good portion of my most large and comfortable blue and pink flowered granny panties–a leave over from my biggest pregnant days.

Feeling completely mortified, I looked up, flashed the group a grin, and did what any self-respecting mother would do–I blamed my daughter/mom brain.  But you, dear readers, know the truth, that’s really  just how this Awkward Girl rolls.  It’s okay, it won’t take long for everyone in Massachusetts to catch on.

The upshot is that all of my nervousness completely melted away and I had a blast!  Seriously, how nervous can you be after an intro like that?

Happy Sunday, everyone and don’t forget to embrace the awkward.  : )

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Mac n’ Cheese Manor: So Many Things!

We are FINALLY moving our bed out of the living room today!!!!! : )

I unpacked the rest of my summer clothes and hung them up, so I am no longer using a cardboard box with five outfits in it for a wardrobe!!!!! : )

I cleaned and polished my beautiful bookshelf (still my favorite piece of furniture, sorry new couches!!!) and unpacked my beautiful books.   A house is just not a home until the books go up.  : )

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It was a lovely moment in time, going through my childhood books, combining them with all the books she’s been given, and putting them together on the bottom, two shelves where my sweet Sunshine can reach.  : )

We put the screens in our doors, so there’s fresh air all through the house!  : )

We now have big cans for our bottles, our cardboard/paper, and our garbage and all three of them are out of sight/smell but still easily accessible.

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We put our air conditioner in the living room window so we don’t expire of heat/humidity!  : )

We got a coat of paint on the pantry and, with my parents coming for two weeks, we might just get it finished!  : )

We completely cleaned/cleared out the entry way and organized all of the fix-it-up tools, tool boxes, ladders, buckets, etc upstairs!

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And, of course, we made time for some baby snuggles and giggles.  : )

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We have been busy!  Too busy to write.  And even though I’m technically still too busy to write, what can I say?  The coffee is hot, the baby is asleep, and here we are.  As we get things cleaned up, organized, cleared out, etc, I am falling in love with our house all over again.  For awhile after we moved in, everything was so desperately disorganized, it was difficult to live in, especially with a baby and often, I felt frustrated and overwhelmed.  Now, with my books on the wall, my furniture free of laundry, my clothes in an actual closet and the things we aren’t using tidily stacked in empty rooms upstairs: I can breathe, I can relax, and I am not constantly worried about what my Sunshine might find and ingest.

With my parents here to help, we are hoping to finally finish the pantry/laundry room and maybe, if we’re lucky, get the bedrooms and/or living room painted.  There isn’t much we can do to the kitchen this year because once we start, we’re going to have to tear up pretty much everything.  So, once the pantry/laundry room is complete, we’ll go back to sealing the house and begin work on the barn and fencing.

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I cannot wait to share more of our barn with you all!!!!!!  It is huge, it is old, it is beautiful, and it is full of random stuff!  Before my much-missed horses arrive, we’ve got to clean out the upstairs for hay, buy hay and get it up there, figure out some kind of solution to the sort of bat problem (they are only sort of a problem because they poop, they are sort of awesome because they eat all of the bugs I don’t like!), and get a fence up.  You know, just a couple of paltry tasks, should be no big deal . . .

So there we go!  Now you’re up to date and I’d best get back to work!  Happy Monday, everyone!  : )

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac n’ Cheese Manor: The Water Problem

We have a water problem . . . er, water problems, I should say.  Back when Mac n’ Cheese Manor was first built (1790), sealed windows, insulation, and proper venting simply weren’t a thing.  And, while many updates have been made over the course of the 230 or so years she’s been here, many others have not.

Our unfinished basement leaks badly enough that where there’s a window under the pantry, there are plants growing.

We (read “Carl”) tried to replace the pipes under the sink in the bathroom and found that no matter how hard he pulled or twisted, the pipe going into the wall (which should pull off without difficulty) will not budge and we’re going to have to cut into the dry wall to see why.

There are no fans in the bathrooms and we found mold in the bathroom closet (Please note, if you find mold in your home, DO NOT read ANY blogs about mold in houses!  Go straight to the CDC website where there is excellent, science-based information on what to do rather than worst case, nightmare stories.).  This means we are going to have to cut a hole through the house to install fans.  I admit I’m kind of excited to cut a hole in the house since I’ve never done that before and I wonder what it looks like.

There are no vents in the roof.  This will definitely require a professional to fix.

Before the new roof was put on (fairly recently, though I can’t remember the year), there were numerous leaks that were bad enough and went on long enough that you can still see water stains in the ceilings of the bathrooms and kitchen and the wall under the stairs.  Not to mention a huge crack in the ceiling of the kitchen that sags a bit.

And so we are continuing to compile what we lovingly and only somewhat jokingly call our “Twenty Year List.”  : )

Luckily, my husband is rather handy (give that man a YouTube video and he can do anything!!) and has taken care of all the leaky faucets, fixed our kitchen sink so the water doesn’t spray everywhere every time you turn it on, removed the extremely gross sink from the laundry room/pantry, and replaced the PVC to the outside faucet so we can fill our doggie/kiddie pool (and properly bathe our stinky dogs)!

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Goals for this week include cleaning out the second, downstairs bedroom, continue going through our clothes and putting the fall/winter things away, and making as much progress on the pantry and furniture I am (still) trying to finish sanding/painting as possible.  It’s gonna be a busy week!  : )

 

Rain, Rain

I’d tell it to go away, but it’s just too beautiful.  I love the way it rains here: big, cold drops that soak everything, a fine mist hanging in the air like we live in a cloud, and the world is all in shades of blue.

I have made so much bread this past month that my favorite, base recipe is memorized and I’ve gone through almost twenty pounds of flour!

Last week, while unpacking and going through my clothes, I found all my work slacks and blouses and had the surreal feeling that I was unpacking, shaking out, folding, and repacking a whole different person.  One year seems like a lifetime ago.

I don’t think I’ve ever taken so long to try at putting a new life together.  I could tell you it’s because I was so tired and so busy with new motherhood or I could tell you the truth; I didn’t want to move so, in my stubborn way, I did, but I also didn’t.  I’m incredibly grateful we happened upon this crazy, lovely house in this tiny, lovely town.  We have been welcomed so warmly, I’ve found it impossible to hold on to my anger and depression.

There’s a patch of blue sky getting bigger outside my kitchen window and the weather app says we’re heading for over 70 degrees . . . I think I’m going to pack up my sweet Sunshine when she’s done napping and find some water today.  : )

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