Friday, January 20, 2012

Clean Sweep

I just revisited 30 years of my life over the past 2 days.  Amazing that cleaning a closet is akin to an archaeological dig.  What was I thinking to keep all that stuff?  But I am getting ahead of myself.

Yesterday I came across my wedding dress from 30 plus years ago.  I knew it was somewhere in the house, but it still surprised me when I opened the box labeled 'Diane'.  It is a beautiful dress and still in good shape.  Somehow I couldn’t quite  bring myself to take it to Goodwill.  Any ideas on what you do with an old wedding dress?

And then were the decorating phases.  I must have saved every throw pillow I ever owned.  Actually with some sewing skills and my thrifty ways, I usually made pillow covers that matched the d├ęcor.  Pale pink and light green along with shades of orange pillow covers were a part of my Cedar Rapids days.  A blue and white braided rug took me back to my wonderful 3-season porch where books and naps often beckoned.  Maroon sheets and comforters were part of my early days in this house which tied to a 'lovely' carpet of the same color. 

Waves of distant laughter washed over me as I pulled Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit off the shelf.   Pente and Backgammon brought me back to early years of my first marriage. The Harley Davidson coloring book brought back memories of coloring with the small son of good friends (he is now in his 20's).

Imagine my surprise at finding a bear rug wrapped up in a large garbage bag! Actually I made Mike open it since I didn't want to touch it!   I do not recall anything about this rug, but maybe I just blocked it out of my head.  I'm at a loss on who would want this rug as I don't think Goodwill would take it.  Suggestions?

And like my mother and grandmother before me who saved scraps of material for quilts, I also saved leftover material from my sewing projects.  I found scraps from an Amish quilt I made years ago.  And then there were leftovers from all those pillow covers and curtains.

I made a clean sweep of most of these items with a couple of trips to the Goodwill.  It really was cathartic to get rid of this stuff!  Of course some things I couldn't let go including  the coloring book,  the scraps of fabric, a couple of  college t-shirts (you just can't get rid of a little 500 biking t-shirt) and one of my dad's Pepsi uniform shirts.  I do have to ask myself why I needed so much stuff to begin with and why I kept it so long.  Definitely points to a different way in the future...


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Back to Reality

Well, it's back to reality.  We arrived at my house late Saturday night after a month's hiatus from home repair.  At first it felt strange to be back; I suppose it's like people going to their vacation home or lake house except this house is now a work in progress.  We ate dinner at our favorite pub and got involved in a killer Scrabble game on my iPad.  I recognized that we might be getting a reputation when the waitress remembered us as the "Scrabble players".  Ok, my Scrabble game is improving with retirement...

One of the first things I noticed at my house was a weird noise coming from downstairs.  Mike immediately recognized the sound from the downstairs furnace.  He diagnosed a motor problem and spent a good portion of yesterday replacing the motor in the furnace.  It is pretty amazing that he can do all of this work himself.  He called around and found a motor, and I got to make my first trip to  Grainger, which had all kinds of interesting tools, pumps and other stuff I don't know what you do with.  I always find it interesting to be in a store where I couldn't find a single thing I could buy and use.  Of course that "estimating calculator" was pretty interesting!

As expected, at breakfast on Sunday, I prepared my "to do list" of things to tackle on this trip.  I was pleased to check a few things off the list.  We already had the drywall company in to give us an estimate on replacing drywall.  Today the garage door company comes to replace a spring in the door.  And the list goes on...

I tackled a stack of mail that was at least one foot high.  We originally planned to be at Mike's for 2 weeks over the holidays, but due to other circumstances (a birthday party, Mike getting the flu and a snow storm), we ended up staying 4 weeks.  Thank goodness for on line bill pay where I could check the timing and amount of each bill.  That allowed me to stay current without the actual paper bill in my hand.  Anyway, yesterday was sorting through all of that stuff and getting things filed.  It's all caught up now which is always a great feeling.  With each bill in front of my I also used this as an opportunity to turn off some services that aren't necessary since we are traveling so much.

Like everyone else in the Midwest, we are enjoying a very strange but mild winter.  The last 2 days it was 45 degrees, and today it's cold and snowy.  Later today I am having lunch with a friend, and then we plan for a walk in the park.  But don't worry, I'll also be tackling my to do list.  Let's see, do I tackle another closet, or is it time for replacing ceiling tiles in the laundry room?  Decisions, decisions...


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Shooting stars

After a great New Year's feast with good friends, New Year's Day was a quiet day at home watching TV and reading.  We enjoyed the down time and a day without commitments and 'to do' lists.

I read about an upcoming meteor shower, and it didn't take much to convince us to get up at 2:30 am on Wed. morning and head into the country to watch the show. We parked the car, opened the sun roof and leaned back to watch the sky. Quiet of traffic, noise and people, we had the entire sky to ourselves.  We saw some blazing streaks of light, but the most spectacular was watching 2 shooting starts go right through the cup of the Big Dipper!  If you've ever star gazed, you know the feeling of being such a small part of the universe.  It felt like God was all around us as we watched the night sky (or was that because we parked in the church parking lot?)

We finished boxing up items in the 'scary room' to go downstairs into the basement.  During the process of reviewing this information, Mike found out some things he didn't know about his dad's military service(received the bronze star) and his work as an apprentice in watch repair.  He shared these findings last weekend with his good friend Kevin, and they enjoyed reminiscing about 'old Joe'.

I have been loving my foray into decorating in the 'scary room' and transforming it into my own space as a study/hobby room.  I decided to be bold with shades of orange(think Sedona), and the room has this great energy and vitality that invites creativity. I am excited to furnish the room and look forward to moving some things from my house soon.  I have high expectations of this room-I hope to write my first book here!  Hmm...should that be an expectation of me instead of the room?  Nope, don't need that pressure!

Mike and Chuck let me join their lunch since I'm 'one of the guys'.  We had a great time talking about everything under the sun including music and inventions.  Mike assures me that this is the normal conversation during their regular lunches; rarely do they talk about their wives.  I don't know if I buy that so I think I'll be scarce during their future lunches.

One of the highlights of the week was a birthday dinner party at Atanas and Elena's house.  Over some great food and wine, we had a chance to reconnect with old friends and meet some new friends.  Although I am in the minority in these gatherings (only person who is not an engineer, biologist or professor and doesn't know about plant shutdowns, clinical trials or regulatory approval), I don't let that get in my way. It's amazing what we have in common when there is the opportunity, time and energy to explore.  I am enjoying meeting new people and getting excited about the permanent move to Mike's neck of the woods.

With the holidays behind us, we are getting ready to resume work on my house.  We are excited to get it moving again but somewhat daunted by the volume of work.  It will be an adjustment to be back in my house after 3 weeks away.  I'm starting to view my house as a construction zone, and Mike's house as our home.  I think the mental shift of moving  is already underway.