Occasionally in the early hours prior to dawn and before the roosters have sounded their alarms, or late into the darkness of night when the owls are hooting and the sun has long descended...there is activity in the form of home improvement on the job site. Pretty much every day all day something is happening to move this project forward. I'm bringing you an update in mostly pictures today because a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
As the weather has been so gorgeous lately, I fetched my dad to let him come sit a spell this week. Every chance he can get out and every chance we can bring him over to see the progress, we try to make it happen. So today was my turn to bring him out to the job site, and I was more than happy to do so. This morning we were up almost as early as those roosters (but not quite), and we shared breakfast before heading out...not something I get to do much these days.
As much as I hate to admit it, there are more messes during a renovation than I care to think about. I don't know what it is about this fact but it is indeed a fact: Before things can be made beautiful, they must be made ugly...or messy...or uncomely or chaotic or -- you get the gist. Think about it, when you have your hair done you must endure the tangles, the prickly hair on your neck, the foils, the chemicals, the odors -- the mess (and when I colored my own hair, I always had the mess from splattering it everywhere to clean up as well)! When renovating, just when you're patting yourself on the back for keeping on top of the dust and the sweeping and the bagging of debris, you have to start all over again because there's a new mess. Sounds a little like life, right? But keeping your eye on the prize and picturing the endgame is definitely what gets you through.
This week we have drywall coming out and being replaced (new challenges), painting being completed on the outside, and new insulation being installed. We have repaired a hole in a bathroom floor where it had rotted out (another surprise), but now standing sturdy and strong is my brother-in-law's handy woodwork and a secure floor awaiting a beautiful new covering. My brother is steadily bringing all the electrical into the 21st century and installing our gorgeous lighting and, by sometime next week, the fruits of our labor will begin showing and this house will once again start to look like -- well, a house. I am simply giddy about having ceilings in and walls moved and finished and all sheetrock completed so that indoor painting can be done and beautiful hardwoods and cabinets can find their way into their new home.
But not without the massive sanding of drywall first. And very much like flour sifted to ensure a lump-free cake covers the kitchen counter or maybe even the entire kitchen, the drywall dust will get into every nook and cranny before it's over, and will surely and most definitely threaten to step on my very last nerve!
With broom in hand, I say Happy Wednesday, y'all!
To make something like new or more useful or a bit better when others have pretty much given up on it is a source of great inspiration and satisfaction. It might be a house, a car, a piece of furniture...or it could even be a someone, and that is an effort worth making because it has eternal benefit...
Make someone's day better today!
I strolled up and down each aisle, methodically examining every item that I so desired. As I surmised I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing when I desired to be doing it, it dawned on me...I must be on vacation...and I was! The hubs and I took a much-needed three-day sabbatical away from work and the dreaded "P" subject (politics) to have some you-and-me time. What is you-and-me time? To do whatever WE choose to do, whenever WE choose to do it -- WE, not having to answer to anyone else. Do we want to have breakfast at noon? Better still, do we want to sleep till noon? How about dinner at midnight? Falling asleep in a king-sized bed with the TV on? There are no rules for daily living when you're on vacation. That is the beauty of it.
Recently I realized that we hadn't had a getaway as a couple since January. For me, that is a very long time because I enjoy travel so much and travel is one of my main sources of inspiration. Sometimes I think we underestimate the power of "change in scenery" as the great catalyst it is for bringing us from our current state of affairs to our "hopeful" state of affairs. I want to be more inspired. I want to feel more energetic. I want to get more done. Do you ever have these thoughts? I know I do and, when I start feeling this way, I count back to see how long it's been since I've had a getaway. Hmmm...May (for me) to October? You do the math. On my getaway calculator that falls deep into the alert(!) zone, signaling me that it's been way too long since I've explored a place other than my usual 100 square miles that surround me on a daily basis. As I've stated many times, fall getaways to the mountains are one of our favorite ways to de-stress, change up the scenery, and take in so much beauty that my inspiration factor goes from 0 to 10 almost immediately.
I'll have to be honest. The day we left, I almost backed out; I was somewhat irritable that day. Before we could even head north, we had to check "in" on our responsibilities and check "off" a few to-dos. That's one of the downsides of being self-employed and also being a human being. There is never -- well, I won't say never, but hardly ever -- a time when you are completely 100% free from the duties of work and obligations. You have things that have to be attended to, people and places and jobs to check on and those things don't go away just because you decide to take a trip. So by the time we crossed all our t's and dotted all our i's, it was late in the day before we had even headed out... and I was a grouchy greta because of it (no offense if your name is Greta). What is the use, I thought, since we're getting such a late start? But because I knew deep down how much we needed it, I pushed forward in the hope that the stresses and irritations of daily life would ease as we got farther down the road. I was right. By the time we got to the North Georgia foothills, I could literally feel the stress falling away and a soothing sense of peace and calm taking over. It is a good feeling indeed. But because we got such a late start, we decided to spend the night in a town which was not our final destination and tackle the 35-mile trek over the mountains the next day. The sun was dropping low in the sky and, as it slipped behind the horizon, I could tell the shrubs lining the highway were a deep russet in the shadows and, for that reason alone, I needed another day in the area to breathe in the colors of autumn.
So what does one talk about with their mate when they work with their mate and the discussion of work is off-limits? That's a very good question! If 50 percent of what you talk about is work, 10 percent about the current news (or less for me if it's politics!) and the final 40 percent is about family, that leaves family since the other two topics are off limits! I remember when our children were young and we counted the days until we could have a date night and dinner alone. We got dressed, got a sitter, settled down in a nice restaurant for a stress-free dinner and what did we talk about? Our kids! I've heard the same stories from other parents but if, like us, your life is centered around family, you have nothing in common more important than family. Family was, still is today, and forever will be the foundation that grounds our lives, brings us great joy, and ends up being our first and foremost topic of conversation. If your children are in elementary school, middle school, or high school, you may be finding more and more time to do things with your spouse. Take advantage of those times the kids have their own activities as opportunities to find common interests for the future. Because I promise you, before you know it, the children will be off and you may be sitting across the table from your better half one night wondering what in the world you have in common with this stranger. It's a sad place to be.
So much to my own relief, I have found that couples CAN have common interests after the children are up and out of the house, even if those little troublemakers have been your sole focus for most of your adult life. I think that is the great fear of couples as they approach the empty-nest time of life when their full and devoted attention has been on rearing children for 18 years. Some of our common interests are newfound since becoming empty-nesters, but I do believe they were waiting to surface. We were just too busy to notice and I just wish we'd discovered them sooner. We love going to movies. We love hunting for bargains and frequenting our favorite discount/junk emporiums. We love long walks and hiking in the woods, going to the beach, and eating dinner in front of the TV, something I never allowed when the kids were coming up. We love eating ice cream together, but I won't even go there. At the top of the list? Taking impromptu trips in the fall to revel in the glories that only the North Carolina mountains in autumn can produce. Of course, on those trips our main conversation topic is how much we think our kids would love it all...the sights, the sounds, the smells...and we talk about maybe -- just maybe...we'll bring them along next time.
In retrospect, I have the stinking suspicion that hubby slipped off in the wee hours of the morning to the hotel lobby to get some work in, while I snoozed the morning away. He best be glad I didn't catch him working in the no-work zone. I mean...really?
Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
- George Eliot
(Warning: You most definitely WILL want a cup of apple cider...or a corndog...or a funnel cake after reading this post. Just sayin...)
I'm taking a break today from renovation news (although it's going strong and even beginning to pick up its pace) to talk about the weather that is beginning to slowly permeate our area and to share the inspiration (finally!) that comes from an infusion of change taking place in the elements around me. Now that the fury of the hurricane season has subsided (at least for now), I see cool autumn starting to emerge all around us. We've had local temperatures dipping below 60 degrees in the wee hours of the morning and barely topping the mid 80's by heat of day. The humidity is down to 20 percent instead of 90. Here and there I see touches of red and gold and, even though it might be Thanksgiving before we see that real breathtaking beauty on nature's palette, every day brings hopefulness of those autumn changes that take us gently into the colder months. I am so thankful there is a gentleness in the changing of the seasons and we don't go directly from the brutal heat of summer to the bitter cold of winter. That's why autumn is my very favorite time of year. The days are warm; the sun is out against the bluest of blue skies; and there is a nip in the air!
As a young family, we tried most falls to take a trip to the mountains to experience the cool, the color, and the majesty that is the Great Smoky Mountains in autumn. It was so invigorating to put on our layers and walk the streets of Gatlinburg, Tennessee (our usual destination) as we drew inspiration that followed us right into the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. To this day, our kids love this time of year and they express their nostalgic longing for the cooler places of their youth during September and October. Honduras, Tampa, and Houston just don't have the distinct seasons my kids grew up with and for that I say: "That's what you get for moving away from your mama!!!" But in all seriousness, we are a fall-loving family and look forward to the many activities that go along with this season. Picture this: Sitting on a bale of hay, bundled up in a thick cable-knit sweater in 60-degree weather, eating a caramel apple or sipping a cup of hot apple cider as you take in all the fallish sites...people scurrying about already working on their Christmas shopping...folks boarding scenic train excursions...foodies feasting at that favorite roadside hole-in-the-wall that serves those chili cheese dogs they've waited for all year. It's an experience that, season after season, fires my inspiration like nothing else. I'll never forget the fall when our kids were young that we took a trip with our church to Stone Mountain Park and took the hayride around the foot of the mountain. I wondered as the teenagers indulged in a "hay-throwing battle" if I'd gotten myself into more than I'd bargained for, but I also remember smiling later that evening as I dug the hay out of my underwear! Good times I say. Good times, indeed.
Even though our kids are now grown and having children of their own, we continue, even more so maybe, to try and carry on these traditions with our grandchildren. We look for things to do that will enhance their experience and instill in them a great love for the changing of the seasons we have in Georgia and all the joys that come with that. This past weekend we visited our local corn maze and dipped our toes (literally...but more on that later) into everything representative of a country fair. There were games for every age, a small zip line that delighted our little Preston, pumpkins galore, a corn maze that we did, much to my relief, make it out of, a petting zoo, pony rides, and my favorite -- you got it -- a concession stand serving every kind of carnival food your heart could desire -- corndogs, fries, popcorn, snow cones, and funnel cakes. Needless to say, we tried to eat healthier the next day. There is nothing better than being outside eating the food of the fair gods with the ones you love.
Now, as for the dipping of toes -- and not just toes, but our whole bodies, it was not into water, it was in corn! Right, a huge covered box filled with dried kernels 18 inches deep! It was a sight to behold; tiny ones, school-aged children, and teenagers and adults alike literally swimming in the corn! The little one even got her Poppy to come out of his shoes and socks and step into the wonder of corn-swimming. She SO has him wrapped around her chunky little finger! Unfortunately, Nana had a hard time getting out of the corn, much to my son-in-law's amusement. He finally did have mercy on me and offered me his strong 6'3" frame to hang onto and literally pulled me up out of the (corn) pit. I challenge you to take your family out this fall on a similar outing if you haven't already. Experience the sounds, sights, and smells of the season. I probably had the best time I've had in a while partaking in this autumnal delight. No, it wasn't Gatlinburg, Tennessee; it was right around the corner from my home, but it had all the makings of memories that won't soon fade. They are etched in this Nana's heart for another 30 years...or at least until I go to that great cornfield in the sky.
And for the record, like the hay so many years ago, we also dug the corn kernels out of our underwear. Too much information? So sorry.
Happy Monday, y'all!
It's well into October and I haven't posted. It's not uncommon knowledge that my life has been crazy the last couple of weeks (I predicted this), but I've also been suffering from a lack of inspiration. I can't figure out why but, alas, 'tis the heart and mind of a writer. I've heard it said that writer's block is experienced by all those who put their heart on paper, as is trying to find that next round of motivation by all the many creatives living in this world. One day you feel full of inspiration and it flows out like a robust fountain. Then there are the days that just getting a few words out on my Instagram feed is about all you can hope for. So here I am on this overcast Thursday morning with my slightly weak cup of Joe (ugh...out of coffee so making do!). And even though I am suffering from that dreaded illness of "inspiration-lack," I owe you my readers an update on the reno and my very exciting life (haha!).
The renovation is moving along but, as in my last post, I'm just waiting for the fun to begin. Giving the ol' girl a checkup and making sure she's in good health before putting on the makeup is a necessary but slightly agitating procedure. We've had two million and two folks out there checking her inner workings...you know, her lungs (HVAC), her head (roofing), her urinary system (plumbing) and the like, and thankfully everything seems to be checking out pretty well. We are coming in slightly under budget so far (a miracle in and of itself) and, if things continue like this, we may have her ready in six weeks. But we all know that the devil is in the details, and I've known the finishing touches to drag out and try their darnedest to punch you in the gut before it's all over. Still I say, bring them on...the pretties...the flooring...the kitchen and bath upgrades...the lighting...all those things that will once and for all give this gem at heart her final facelift and we can present her to the family who will take her into the next generation.
On a more personal note, I have so many things for which to be grateful, and I never want to neglect open and direct thankfulness for such. It has been an unspeakable blessing to have my oldest daughter living back in the states and my life has been blessed by this in so many ways. Even though she is not completely out of the water when it comes to the risk presented by the Zika virus on her pregnancy, baby girl appears to be healthy and strong. My baby girl (unlike her mama) doesn't especially love being pregnant -- the actual state of -- and finds her lack of energy and cumbersome ever-growing belly aggravating for much of her day. She focuses on the end-game, which is putting her hands on the little angel with whom, for nine long months, she is one. Pregnancy for her is the means to an end -- or really, a new beginning with this precious life. I, on the other hand, loved being pregnant. Once I got over the initial morning sickness and could eat, I thought it my high and well-deserved privilege to eat anything and everything in sight...hence, the 50-lb weight gain with my last baby, which still hangs with me today. I can't really blame my extra pounds on that anymore though, right?! But having my daughter home to share a friendship that only grows deeper with each and every passing year has been a healing salve for my soul. I am having a window of time (however long that is) to catch up on the things most mothers and their daughters take for granted. For this I am thankful. Beyond thankful. Extremely thankful. I truly wish it could last forever. There also is a distinct possibility that I might -- just might -- have my entire gaggle of geese home for Thanksgiving. This is something that I always long for at the holidays because having my entire clan together is a rare occurrence. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.
(Note: I had the awesome pleasure of photographing my sweet girl and her family this week. Check out my photography page to see our photo shoot...this now-defunct train track reminds me that life is a journey...)
Today we will be traveling to a nearby town to check out a possible house for our next reno... I know, I know, are we crazy? Yes, sometimes I think we are. But this is what we do, and my life is full and for that I simply cannot complain. Loving this life but sometimes...just sometimes...I need a pittling, do-nothing, stay-in-my-nightgown-all-day kind of day. This would be a great day for just that, what, with the clouds and cooler temperatures outside (another thing for which to be thankful!), but it's simply not possible. Must work today, looking for potential in another renovation on the horizon and be back in time to take sweet baby girl to the corn maze, which is a very autumn thing to do.
Now, that is something that gives me inspiration.
"A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil."
Couldn't have said it better myself...
Posted by CC
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