Sunday, July 15, 2018

Minding Monday

Did my Parts 1-4 wear you out? I don't blame you if they did, they pretty much wrung me out too.

Or was the past week a hard one for you? Did you laugh and cry, wash dishes and get them dirty again, weed the garden and they're back again, did you get your feelings hurt and/or hurt someone else's feelings, vow to get to bed early and then not be able to sleep until dawn? 

Did you forget to pay a bill on time, forget to hang your favorite shirt up to air dry and into the dryer it went, forget to get a prescription filled, forget to turn the sprinkler off?

Do you feel fragmented and flustered? Or do you feel like everything is in control and you're patting yourself on the back? Beware of that one, my friend!

Okay, my words need to end because not only did I have too many pictures in my previous posts, Part 1-4, I had far too many words also. 

Here's my gift to you, words I've turned to for years--except when I didn't. They're not Scripture, you can't beat that, but they help me as I'm contemplating Monday morning and the week that lies ahead. I hope they'll help you.

People with great projects afoot habitually look further and more clearly into the future than people who are mired in day-to-day concerns....They do not easily grow sad or old; they are seldom intimidated by the alarms and confusions of the present because they have something greater of their own, some sense of their large and coherent motion in time, to compare the present with.

Robert Grudin
Time and the Art of Living

Do you have a great project afoot?

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Part 4, Home Hill

What is it that makes one place more than another home to one?...I think it is compatibility.
Elizabeth Goudge,
from The Scent of Water

Have you ever fought for something really hard, trying to force open a door that stayed closed in your life, and then finally surrendered to it, accepting it only to find that the door soon opened with the slightest touch?

 [Home Hill]

That is what happened to me in my desire to come home to Tennessee.

[Our front porch, neglected so far but lots of potential,
gets the afternoon sun full force in summer.]

On September 7, 2016 while living in Florida I wrote in my journal, "Four of the loneliest months of my life...RH will pick me up this afternoon for a 3 o'clock appointment with our new dermatologist to see if this growth on my nose, near where the other cancer was, is malignant or not."

["Our" pond, actually our neighbor's but
he told us we were welcome to share it.]

That night I wrote that the doctor cut out from my nose what she said was a subcutaneous horn, most likely, from what she'd seen before, a malignant squamous cell one. 

[The view of the pond from our kitchen sink
entertains us daily. We've seen Canada geese
goslings born, mallard duck families,
a Great Blue Herron, large turtles.]

In three weeks I was to go back and discuss treatment after they received the pathologist report. 

[View from our kitchen window last spring.
The only thing there was a tree and a few things
previous homeowners had planted.
RH put a bird feeder by a pipe that stuck up from the
old well and some sunflowers sprouted.
We sat out in the grass last year and dreamed of having
a patio that I could sit on and watch our dogs play, a patio that
could be done inexpensively.]

I googled treatment and found that radiation or chemo usually followed this kind of cancer. I wrote: "Life on hold. Is this why we moved? For me to die in the sunshine state?"

[View from my kitchen sink now,
after all of RH's hard work.]

One week later I received a surprise call from the doctor's office. The pathologist report was back and showed that the growth was benign.

[Phase I: Now we have a beautiful patio in the shade,
done very inexpensively.
RH painted a garden table we've had for 40 years
and 4 chairs we've had for about 20 years
3 different shades of pretty green--
an idea I got from blog friend Tara Dillard.
Coffee in the morning and wine in the
evening taste better here than inside.]

I hugged Otis and Milo, crying and laughing, and called RH and then called or texted or emailed family and friends to tell them that prayers had been answered. 

[Free concrete tiles for the patio!
A customer at our family roofing and siding company
wanted these tiles removed from his roof that another company had
recently installed, to be replaced with the steel metal
shingles that we specialize in.
And he wanted us to get rid of them.
Recycling at its best and we love all the colors and striations in them.]

I thanked God for this answered prayer and vowed to accept where I was and be grateful for my life there in Florida.

[Phase II: An old cupola came to our garden for
a focal point instead of to the dump.
It covers the ugly pipe to the well.
RH and a son--our dear landlord--built a firm base for it
and laid out a small bed on each side for
perennials and herbs.]

Two weeks went by and I refused to let a single negative thought about Florida into my mind.

But on an October day that felt like July, RH came home from work and was very quiet. We sat outside on the back porch after supper and he told me that he missed living in Nashville.

He missed working with our sons there in the family business of 30 years. 

He asked me if I would still want to move back?

Would I? Is the pope Catholic?

[Phase III: The sand bed is ready to be tiled the same as the
small patio. RH is waiting for cooler weather for this 
large one, most of it in the sun.
Meanwhile the birds take sand baths in it,
something that is very cute to see.
BreeBree and James Mason are pursuing the pesky chipmunks.]

It took a village to move us back to Tennessee, just as it had moving us to Florida, and that village was family.

[The listing photo for the galley kitchen.]

It was a physical and financial drain on so many and I will always be grateful for the sacrifices our family made to help us come home. 

[It was obvious that the previous owners didn't do much cooking.
We do a lot of cooking, rarely eat out, and so we replaced the
refrigerator and range, and turned a coat closet into a pantry,
freeing up valuable kitchen cabinet space.]

You'll be glad to know that I won't write here any of the three months of my journal entries documenting each day that passed as we waited while our youngest son and daughter-in-law drove several times to Nashville looking for a house to buy for us and then went through the hours of paperwork required and inspection and finally the closing.

Yes, that's right, we have the sweetest
landlords ever!

[RH and his brother built the open shelving I wanted,
making all the corbels themselves, and the pretty rod and hooks
hold all our All-Clad and iron skillets,
freeing up even more kitchen cabinet space.]

Another son flew down to help load trucks and drive us back, and our daughter and son-in-law in Florida took time away from their jobs to drive vehicles also, then flying back home. 

[RH and I have learned to work very efficiently together in a
galley kitchen, even with two dachshunds under our feet.]

Meantime, work was being done on the house before we returned, a new dishwasher installed, a safer path for me to walk on outside and the bathtub being converted to a low step in, all for my safety.

[If you want to know what accessories I love,
then this sweet old picture and frame from Goodwill
should give you a clue.]

And the third son, our firstborn, brought his wife and sister-in-law here the day before we moved and spent a whole day cleaning the house from top to bottom.

Best family ever, right?

[My bedroom; the biggest project in here was tearing down a bad ceiling
and installing bead board. New ceiling moulding and a paint job.]

When we drove up the driveway to Home Hill in January, 2017 on one of the coldest days of the year, the yard and roof dusted with snow, I knew this 1935 farmhouse was home.

[My bedroom is not large but it is room enough
for me and two dachshunds and my reading chair.]

I was home. Otis and Milo were home. 

I was in love with a house again.

RH, not so much, not at first.

[RH's bedroom. The knotty pine walls and ceiling in here 
made all his western things look better than ever before.]

He was exhausted and he was cold and he wondered how we'd ever get by with one bathroom.

[My writing room. BreeBree is in there guarding it and
heaven help anyone who tries to come in except for her mommy
and James Mason. 11 pounds of dachshund can be ferocious.]

We sat down the night that all the family left, in the large room that was paneled in the beautiful wood boards that pre-dated the 1950s pine paneling in the Pickwick pattern that was in his bedroom and my writing room.

[The listing photo for the large room that much of our living is done in.
It was slightly underwhelming with its furniture lined up around the walls.
But I studied it for two months and knew exactly how it would work.]

No lamps were unpacked, no pictures, no mirrors, no books.
We were surrounded by cardboard boxes.

[Remember when I asked your help in naming this room?
Well, it became the dinning room, the breakfast room,
and the sitting room, depending on which part we were in.
The harvest table, with both leaves in, seats 10 comfortably,
12 in a pinch. All we have to do is pull it out from the sofa back.
The breakfast table is over by the red curtains.]

I told him, "Give me a month. I promise you that in a month you'll think it's pretty and cozy...

[This red leather Ethan Allen sofa that we ordered 14 years ago
will last us our lifetime. We love it as much now as we did when
it was brand new. 
The black and white ticking Ralph Lauren pillows are 14 years old too.
I simply turned them inside out to hide the ruffles when we moved here
because this is not a froufrou house.
The blue and green 100% wool hooked rug was $19.99 at Goodwill and I stood guard
over it until RH arrived to put it in our basket. It suits the house
better than the braided rugs I first thought the house would need.]

Let me get our things unpacked and lamps around and curtains and mirrors hung, I told him, and you will love it...

[Mirrors helped tremendously, 2 large ones, 1 medium one and 2 small ones.
All in one large room.
A storm door installed both here and in the kitchen let in even more light.]

I promise you," I said.

Guess what? Now we both love this house!

And we hope you like it too.

Most of you know that we lost our dear dachshunds Milo and Otis to leptospirosis last fall. We thought we'd never recover from losing them. And we didn't. But we went on to adopt BreeBree and James Mason and discovered once again that we are dachshund people. 

A house is just not a home to us without a dachshund or two in it. 

I know that many of you understand that. And I think that those of you who have visited here since our days at Valley View and saw the old 1920 farmhouse we lived in there can easily understand why I felt like I was coming home when we moved into this old cottage on a hill that at one time was the only house around for miles.

It was a little unappreciated by the previous owners, I thought, but had so much potential. Now when I walk around and see all that we have done in the house and RH outside in the 2 1/2 acres, I wish they could see it, see what a little loving and care did for their old house. 

And I know that the very first owners, the farmer and his wife that built this sweet cottage back in 1935, would be pleased to see that it was still being loved today.

She had loved it at first sight; and now, as it companioned her day by day, she made her impress on it as it made its mark on her. She fitted into it as a body slips into a new and shapely garment made to measure, and went on her way warmed and protected and subtly changed. For it altered her, as a garment can alter personality, giving fresh confidence.
Elizabeth Goudge in 1939's story of a woman
and her house,
The Middle Window