Recently I saw on an Instagram post that we have reached the "half-Christmas" mark, meaning we are six months back around to the Christmas season. Really? You gotta be kidding me. Christmas in July? No, thanks.
This got me to thinking about the many different ways we, as humans, measure time. Of course, the earliest most primitive way of measuring time was by the sun, and literally today in the 21st century we are still measuring time by the sun and moon and the passing of a 24-hour period, which morphs into a full 365-day calendar year. We measure time by birthdays and anniversaries and holidays and other special dates. One way I personally measure time is by the clock tower that stands sentinel in my little downtown where I live at the moment. Just as the faint and distant passing of trains gave me peaceful moments at my last house, so does the clock tower. It is literally yards from my bedroom window and many mornings as I lie there wondering what time it is, if I am patient that clock tower will let me know. It is consistently counting out the hours and every single day of every single year calls to the folk in town that time is surely passing. There is something strangely comforting about the sound of the hours being announced and, even though I will not miss the traffic outside my apartment window, I will miss the clock tower one day when we move.
Right now, I am mostly measuring time with the renovation of our 125-year-old house. In some ways, I simply cannot believe that we have passed the one-year mark but, at the same time, it seems like it has been five or ten years. It's getting harder and harder to remember life before this renovation came along, sucking us into its possibilities, and dragging us along as we have learned and grown and made what feels like a forever friend in this old house. The memories we have made renovating her will be with us I'm sure till our final days. We laugh sometimes as we talk about sitting in our rockers at age 90 reminiscing about how a 125-year-old house just about kicked our butts. At the onset of this renovation project, it seemed like time was all we had. It was a new challenge; a fresh start; a project that was all ahead of us and our energy soared. Now, as we count down the final weeks and literally days of this project, it's hard to see that far back to when we had the energy that some days seemed boundless. Now most days are marked by fatigue and the ever-pressing urgency to get finished, get this house on the market, and move on to our next adventure. But don't get me wrong; it is indeed bittersweet. As I've said before, I have never renovated a house that I didn't think for a short minute that I wish I could live there, that too bad I wasn't re-doing the property just for me. Because, if budget allows, we do our best to incorporate all the things into a property that we'd like to have if we were to live there. I dream of the long soaks I'd have in the beautiful tubs we've installed...or watching a rabbit scamper across the acreage on a regular basis as I wash dishes in the big farmhouse sinks. I envision family and friends gathering around large tables in the common spaces to eat together or piling into the living room for a movie night around a roaring fire. It is absolutely the case that every bedroom we design or re-do I imagine my bed in there and ask myself a million and two questions about the layout and comfort factor for every guest room. Is the placement of the bed best here or there? Are there plugs and light switches conveniently located to where they'll really be needed? Is there enough lighting and is it beautiful? Have we enough natural light and, if not, can we make more with added windows? All the things I want in a home I try to do for the person who will one day in the (hopefully near) future make it their very own and, even though I may never see it for myself, enjoy my efforts on a daily basis.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for following us on this journey. The next time I post, it will most likely be to announce the listing of this house into the market. Thank you for all the encouraging words when the days have gotten long and words of affirmation for my design choices. It really encourages me to have folks out there that are willing to take their time to listen to my (sometimes crazy!) thoughts on life, love, people, and a daily journey that can be mundane and repetitious and just might include an ample dose of complaining. If God gives us grace and a few more years on this earth, we will be finding another project down the road a bit (metaphorically speaking), and will begin the process all over again, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, I will continue to guide you through life with my very-opinionated thoughts and philosophies (haha) and remind you constantly to be grateful and kind, hopeful and positive, to always put family first, and to never give up on your dreams.
We have to make our own happiness, you know.
"There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age."
- Sophia Loren
(couldn't agree more, foxy lady!)
When I was in high school I struggled with algebra. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why we even needed to know what a or b was in a problem because I didn't have a problem for which that formula was needed; my problems were centered on who liked who and when the next social event was coming up. But my husband has since convinced me that algebraic formulations are key in figuring out some things in the computer world. Well, since I consider him a computer whiz, I will take his word for it, but I'm still not convinced. Geometry, on the other hand, I dig, and I was quite good at it in class. I have the ability to take a box and see through it to the other sides, and imagine the area of each side of that box standing there empty or filled with something and the ability to take a formula and measure what the area of that space will be; to me, that makes perfect sense and is totally usable. I love geometry and it has helped me in recent years to see beyond the door, beyond the room, beyond the broken down shambles of a house, see what it could be, and put it down on paper. If I have one gift, it is probably that -- being able to see how things will look before they're finished. Maybe it's a gift; maybe not. But I do believe it has been hugely instrumental in my abilities to design spaces and then see them magically come to life.
I said all that to say this: I AM FINALLY BEGINNING TO SEE MY VISION FOR #OUR1892ADVENTURE COMING TO LIFE! It seems that just a short time ago, I was seeing only the same boring, ugly things I had been seeing for going on a year -- old dirty wood, nasty floors, things broken and sad. I have been longing (as you know) for the beauty of a finished project...clean, fresh, beautiful, but it has seemed so long in coming. In fact, I've wondered at times if it would ever happen. And I owe that to my tiredness. Folks, I am tired; I go to bed tired and I wake up tired. The fact that I am at home working on the blog and not at the jobsite tells me one thing -- that I was tired this morning. And if you don't believe that, would hearing that I literally slept 12 hours last night convince you? I thought so. Plus, we were down to our final underwear so I had to stay home and do laundry. You know you need to do laundry when you have to wear underwear from your thinner days that are a size or two too small. I'm telling you from my heart, friends, this girl is worn slap out.
So since my underwear conversation is probably a bit too much info, I'll get back to the renovation at hand. We are literally seeing the last stages of this project, and are on the final lap. For the first time in a year, I am beginning to see a beautiful old farmhouse rise up out of the ashes of a neglected home that only God knows what has seen in its 125-year-old history. I just know the person out there who will see the beauty in this gem of a home is looking, just waiting for it to come on the market for them. We have taken the best this house had to offer (a great little floorplan; solid wood construction; history; a gorgeous piece of property in proximity to the best shopping and business in the area to name just a little) and morphed it into a beautiful two-bedroom cottage for living in the 21st century (technologically friendly, luxury amenities; open-floor plan) and it will be the perfect home for a young couple starting a family, a single person, or a couple who are ready to retire and wanting to downsize. If you love history and repurposing and preserving the past, this beautiful 125-year-old farmhouse will fill your senses. How's that for a precursor for what's to come soon?
The past two weeks have brought those changes that are bringing us closer to completion. The heart-pine floors have been completely sanded, stained, and finished. The painting and trim are well under way. We are beginning to put up the lighting that has been patiently living in storage for over a year now, including a chandelier in the master suite that just about drove me and the hubs to the nuthouse during installation. Plans are in the very near future to host a reveal and an open house. We are truly on the road to being finished.
Sometimes when we languish in the present over our long-term responsibilities, our daily duties, our inabilities to get rested before we have to go at it again, we fall short in seeing how far we've come. It's so easy to forget what we were up against in the beginning and how perseverance and hard work have brought us to a much different place...to a place we were only dreaming about but are now seeing come to fruition. Sort of like life, right? Life is a long, hard road sometimes, but we must never lose sight of the goals we have set for ourselves and we must never -- NEVER -- forget how far we've come. I would never try to make someone think that every single little thing has come out exactly how I had imagined in the beginning with this renovation. You know that isn't true just from reading my monthly confessions. There have been changes, setbacks and, most of all, lots and lots of compromise. But isn't that what life is all about? It's the challenges, the hardships, the day-to-day stinkiness of the normal life stuff that molds us into completeness.
I'll sum it up with this...I'll take a broken down needs-some-love house any day over a brand-new one because it reminds me of how much we all need a second chance. Although, building one from the ground up has recently been added to my professional bucket list, but only time will tell.
In the meantime, I've got to put my painting britches on over my too small underwear... and head on over to the jobsite.
Happy Hump Day, ya'll!
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Posted by CC
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