Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Perfect Storm

Although it is technically a garage, we have spent the past few weeks barn raising. From dirt work to     roofing, we've once again formed a matrimonial team that wields hammers, saws, and a vision. Through the years we have somehow managed to remodel, build and create pieces of our dreams.

It's a miracle really.
...That he hasn't taken the hammer to my head or that I haven't pulled the ladder out from under him. Because it's a typical case of left brain/ right brain. He is focused on numbers, logic,reasoning. I prefer creativity, emotion and imagery. And sometimes those two brains working together create a volatile and explosive situation that no one should be subjected to.

I admit, I probably have no earthly business being a part of the process. It requires perfection, calculation, determination and critical thinking. Those kinds of things hurt my brain. So much that I want to run far, far away until its time to pick paint colors and buy pretty pillows.

I have had to grit my teeth and bite my tongue every time my husband has figured and refigured, leveled and re-leveled, squared, aligned and shimmed. "Just put a freakin nail in it, will ya?" I say to myself. We aren't building a rocket ship here!

But, you know, I have come to understand that to him this is his rocket ship. That he not only expects perfection from himself  (and other unwilling  participants), but that he takes immense pride in his finished project. That what he designs and builds and brings to fruitation is a reflection of him. And he expects it to work well, wear well and look amazing.

I guess I'm pretty lucky that he doesn't expect the same mathematical perfection from me. My height, weight and body mass index hasn't been approved by the AMA, FDA or Hollywood since I was 18.

It's a funny thing, too, how rules change when you team up on home improvement projects. Normally I am not allowed to use a hammer. This is due to the fact that I like to hang pictures and things on walls ...and my right brain never seems to get the nail placed correctly the first, second, or third time.
Drywall suffers from extreme abuse. Which ultimately leads to hammer privileges being revoked.

Have you ever had to resort to hammering a nail with the TV remote? Not good.

Yet, when it was time to build this garage, I was suddenly let loose like some freak from the movie Saw. I was allowed drills and mallets and crow bars and even a pneumatic nail gun! Yes, an air powered weapon that shoots three inch nails at the speed of light! I also got to man the miter saw on occasion. A jagged blade spinning at high velocity in the vicinity of fingers and limbs!

And to think my innocent little hammer rights were refused....

The hardest part is over. We've survived the heat and insects and each others wacky brains... so far.
The worst thing is knowing we still have an addition to put on the house. I'm not quite sure I'm ready for another abuse to my right brain. One rocket ship a year is enough to make a girl go crazy...

But, I try to see the positive side. My husband and I have gotten to spend the last few months together every day. We have built a barn. We have advanced our dream.

And, although it may be only temporary- I got my hammer back!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Pull of The Moon

Sometimes in my dreams, I am back in my old house again. I walk the floors like a ghost, the evening sun through the blinds making patterns on the soft carpet.

There is no one there. Not even furniture. Just a familiar fragrance of lost days...a feeling that I've left something behind. A memory unfinished, a day not quite done. Perhaps it is just the need to say goodbye, to touch what was so quickly abandoned, to embrace and accept the conclusion. It could be a type of home sickness. A need for old routine.

Or perhaps it is just the pull of the moon....

I tip toe down the hallway - the three doors open to bedrooms where once my children slept in sweet dreams and old quilts...their breathing like music.

In my dreams I see visions of unmade beds, overnight friends, and laughter that made the the house dance.

I go into my bedroom and remember well the nights I lay awake in bed, listening to the rhythmic snore of my husband beside me, nights waiting for my children to return home from a date, stormy evenings when lightning struck a bit too close for comfort.

I see the closet I rarely organized, the big tub I hated to clean, and dust on the imaginary dresser that my mother-in-law would never have tolerated in her own home.

In the kitchen, can still smell baked lasagna, feel the joy of new dishes, and remember the fun of baking cookies with the grand kids. I recall burnt toast, Thanksgiving turkeys, and the little gray field mouse that could never be caught.

Christmas trees, party lights, theme parties, Halloween - in my dreams they all come thundering into my head at once...a loud hum of unforgotten days that resonate like a beating heart.

I step outside...walk to the edge of the pond-  suddenly seeing my kids when they were small, pulling on fishing poles, picking black-eyed- Susan's, skipping rocks till their arms hurt.

I look up. And the sky is just as big and blue and real in my dreams as it was the day I left .

But this is just a house to me now. I do not know it anymore.
I no longer need my dreams to take me here.

Because I realize that home is where the people I love live, visit, and play.

And where the pull of the moon finds you truly happy.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bag Lady or Princess?

Sorry I have been away lately.
I've been practicing the fine art of bag lady-ness...If there is such a thing. Better yet, I just coined that catchy little phrase to describe the condition of ones fashion consciousness when they just don't give a damn.
Which pretty much points to me most of the time.

It's okay.
I've actually come to admire those ladies whose hair dye has faded into soft silver...those wise women who refuse to wear bras, makeup, uncomfortable shoes and attractive clothing.

But you, see, my stretched out yoga pants, paint spattered tee shirt and worn out sneakers have simply become my uniform. This is a perfect ensemble for a day of hammering, fetching, waiting, sweating, mowing ,and catching gnats in your eyelids. Nice jeans and Cross Your Heart bras are so very inappropriate. No one wants that pesty underwire to come creeping up while you're holding a 2x4 above your head in a mud hole. And one inconscious wipe of a caulk-sticky hand can ruin a pair of expensive pants in a split second.

Do I need makeup to measure wood? Or to find the hammer? No.
Do I need deodorant to go outside and bake in the hot sun and ride the 4 wheeler to fetch lumber? No.
Do I need to blow dry my hair, do my nails, or pluck my brows to haul the 4 pound hammer across the yard or plug in the miter saw? Absolutely not.

I must admit right now that my comfort level is practically perfect. So much, in fact, that I went into town wearing my uniform yesterday. Something I would never have done in my old hometown. Despite the trouble of rolling on a sports bra, I went "as is". Oh, believe me, it was so nice to break down those walls of pretentiousness and stressful fashion preparation.

Sunday we did laundry and although I barely had a clean thing to wear, I was the best dressed person in the whole place. And, forgive me, but I felt like a princess in a meth lab. Apparently, the bag-lady-ness has caught on rather well in these parts. Although I must say, there are definitely different levels of it, most of which I would never stoop low enough to adopt on a daily basis. In public.

Living loose like an old hippie has just made me appreciate the times I can style my hair, wear nice outfits, apply eye makeup and sport some jewelry. Being comfortable does not mean I've neglected my hygiene or my manners.

I'm still a lady.
Though in the quiet of my little forest home, it's bag-lady-ness at its best...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Rainy Time-Out

The rain hits the roof here in soft snaps and the woods look wet and thick with life. Everything is green. Except for a slight part in the treetops where strips of inky blue clouds announce there is a sky. I feel as though I'm in a snow globe, but with rain falling. Like a terrarium ...and I 'm the tiny plastic figure in the little house under an umbrella of massive leaves.

There is a comfort in rainy days. Time slows down. Plans are changed. Yet, floors beg to be mopped and pillows plumped and crooked pictures on the walls make you question your good taste. The dog sleeps. The  husband reads. The big clock ticks louder and faster ...and you wallow in your blessings. You breathe. Pray. Give thanks. Take total advantage of this interruption of a busy life.

I have a box of papers to file. Things I've stuffed away " for later". Important bills that need attention and receipts that still suffer wrinkles from a hurried stash into a crowded purse. I will listen to the rain and organize soon as I finish my coffee.

My coffee is Coconut Cream Pie. A new gourmet flavor by Folgers that seduced me in the aisle at WalMart by merely it's smell alone. It's pretty good. A bit coco-nutty with not a lot of creaminess and no indication of pie whatsoever. But it's coffee. And it's hot. And I need it.

On days like this when I have the chance to reflect and ponder, it seems strange living here. Or so it must seem to other people. Why would I give up a beautiful big house in a quiet country neighborhood to live in a little cabin stuck in the middle of the redneck woods? 
Well, all I know is, it feels like I have lived here forever. That my wings led me to this place. That my nest is meant to be built here. That my roots cry to be planted here. That my heart doesn't care if its carpet and cushions and extra space to spread out. That I am content with a tin roof and wooden floors and a  living/ kitchen/ dining combination that seems to work quite well for me.

I'll be honest. I do miss my bath tub. Giant, perfume-y bubbles, a water- spotted magazine and body wash that smells like a tropical island. A fifteen minute soak in the hottest water I can stand...then a lather of lotion and pj's. 

(Yesterday while at the feed store, my husband offered to buy me a galvanized water trough to use as a bath until our addition is built. It would be hooked up outside the kitchen porch and equipped with hot and cold running water and a little stopper on a chain.)

I should have said yes.

Speaking of pajamas, they are practically my choice of day wear. A pair of Old Navy drawstring pants are adequate for sitting on the porch as well as for digging ditches. And my chubby Nana arms are finally seeing some sun. Where tank tops were taboo before, I now wear them without fear of being seen (and ridiculed). Anyone approaching our place can be heard early enough for me to go running to the house and flip on a tee shirt and Capri's. So far, I have only had to make that Olympic sprint once. And it was worth the fresh eggs from my husbands cousin.

My coffee is getting cold and so are my toes. The cold front coming through with the rain has forced me to find my fuzzy black slippers in my makeshift under-the-bed closet.

Here they are!

Nothing quite as cozy as a rainy day in a little red cabin. With the man and the dog that you love.

Thank you, God.