So this poor blog has been sparse but I’m going to quickly discuss what else we’ve been up to besides homeschooling, working, knitting, and occasionally rowing…interspersed with current pictures. 🙂
I have always liked this Thursday link-up series because it challenges us to find contentment in our everyday lives. The little things that are, heh, pretty, happy, funny, and real. I’ve struggled a lot over the years with being content in some of these areas–mainly in being content with the house we’re in. Raising five toddlers/small kids in the Old Haus challenged that to the nth degree! And just when we finally found contentment in our little cottage, we found out that Miss M was coming and bam–we moved. 🙂
Ostensibly the instant we moved into a house with twice the living area you’d think we’d have contentment, right? And there was a lot less stress. But there was the niggling reminder as well that we couldn’t seem to find a buyer for the Old Haus. The market isn’t kind to starter homes of a certain vintage that need flood insurance. In fact, we still haven’t found a buyer. The Old Haus is on it’s second set of tenants in four years, and from August ’13 to August ’14 it stood empty.
That was a low point. We poured our energy and money into repairs to the Old Haus, as much as we could reasonably do, during that year, We put off things that we wanted to do with this house, the one we’re living in. It got frustrating that at last the Old Haus looked as I had wanted it to while we were in it, but we weren’t going to be in it. We had three more children (Littlest on the way at the time)! There wasn’t room! And we had the house we’re in!
Add to that the fact that the summer failed at being very restoring. It felt like we were still in “survival mode” from the baby coming, and the plans for extra help had a hiccup. Haus Meister worked a lot of overtime toward the end of summer, all the way through Christmas. The Old Haus had a renter, but our house looked tired and as if we’d been in “survival mode.” 😉 I walked down to the mailbox one day in September and looked back at our house and thought: Why do I still feel more as if the old place is “home” when THIS is my home now? We’ve been here three years; why doesn’t it feel like home?
It may have been the next day, or the next week, when Haus Meister–who rarely complains–confessed to me that he felt tired (as in physically drained). Now all wives know there’s two responses to this: the “how can I help?” response or the “You think YOU’RE tired, well, that’s nothing to MY tired…” martyr rant. Thankfully I did the former–this time. 😉 But instead of asking I began to think of ways to improve the looks of the house. After all, don’t we all like to find rest at home? And as I said, it was time to get out of survival mode.
I started in our room. The day he left on a two-week outage trip I whipped out some paints. I painted over the Sharpie marker “art” that Sunshine had attacked our closet doors with shortly after we moved in. I tore out the ugly wallpaper in our bathroom, rendered even less appealing due to pen marks from the same daughter around the same time. Do not ask me why it took me three years to do this; suffice to say there was always something else to do. But amazingly, not seeing that wallpaper or those penmarks immediately improved morale. 😉 I also discovered that a lamp behind the bed for nighttime reading/knitting surely improved the ambience.
I grew bold. I tore out the wallpaper–even uglier–in the main bathroom. I painted it a reddish/rust tone. Admittedly I didn’t do as well of a job in this bathroom, perhaps because the hours of 11pm-2am was my best painting window. Yet I was determined to finish, as I knew his work schedule wasn’t slowing and the last thing he needed was to come home to my unfinished project. Luckily he was very pleased when I skyped him and showed him the finished product. I was too proud to wait and surprise him.
This was the thing we both needed. From then to now we’ve been busy working on this house. We’ve torn up all the carpet except what is on the stairs. We figured out new ways to organize things from the plates on the sideboard to the laundry bins in closets. We discovered IKEA (so glad we live too far to visit the store often–it’d be too dangerous). We fixed the old light fixtures and replaced the basement bulbs to brighten the area. The puppy-chewed, toddler bounced & stained thrift store furniture finally made it out the door. There’s a bare spot in our upstairs that is waiting for just the right couch but this time I am waiting for just the right couch instead of buying a junk one in an effort to feel frugal (the frugality is questioned when you consider I did this twice over the period of three years). Outside, we potted mums in the Fall and this early Spring we planted apple trees.
Meanwhile life goes on and there are, of course, still days where we fall into bed exhausted. The kids keep us on our toes and there’s still the chance that the renters will move out in August and we’ll be back playing the market game again. But we do not regret the time and effort we chose to put into our house at last. And came the day that we stood in our front lawn and he said, “You know, I could stay in this house till I died.”
And I knew I could too, and that at last, we were content again.