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Or not! I think “not” if the icicles are reaching from the gutter to the ground. Once, the winter after we moved into the Bungalow, Kelsea took one of her Spanish swords to the icicles, much to her satisfaction. It did seem like a good idea, but I then discovered that they must have served a purpose, as I had a leak in the bedroom window frame for weeks afterwards. Therefore, these icicles will be staying put until they decide that spring is here.


Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “A blade of grass is the journeywork of the stars.” — Walt Whitman (I would give anything to see a blade of grass. This has been a hard, bleak winter.)

Daily gratitudes:
Cuddling with MKL
Watching cat videos to keep our stress levels down
The poignant can of Hormel chili abandoned in a snowdrift
The nearly circular sundog in the sky yesterday morning
A cat that loves me

Ex-Pat remains in the hospital, and as I discussed yesterday, I have started the clean-up process in my old house.

It is terrifying.

I don’t understand how someone can let things get this dirty. I chided Kelsea about it last night (nice welcome home, huh?) and she said that she never touched half of the stuff in the house – which sounds just like her Dad. My response? Whether you touch it or  not, you still live here. So there.

I won’t gross you out with all the details, but suffice it to say that when you have two dogs and two cats, love to cook, and  live by a creek and across the street from a cow pasture, you just have to realize that  hair, dust, and grease can transform some things into creations worthy of Salvador Dali if you don’t stay on top of it. I’m so far under it in this clean-up process that it’s hard to breathe.

But progress was made last night. Several surfaces were cleaned and shined. One carpet, while not salvageable, was at least improved. Walls and ceilings were partially de-cobwebed. A load of laundry was done. The freezer was cleaned. The kitchen table is 90 percent excavated. I have made some decisions about some of my things – what to take to my house, what to leave here, and what to throw away.

This cleaning process became more amenable for me when I realized that this is another stage of leaving my old life behind. When I moved out in 2008, I took things willy-nilly, at random, because I was shocked at what I was doing. I was actually leaving him. I would grab a random stacking file here, a cookbook there, but there was no real packing. Some of my clothes are still in his closet. Which is beneficial when I housesit, but perhaps not helpful for either of us in making a full-fledged parting. Although he has been passive-aggresively letting the cats pee on my clothes that find their way to the closet floor. Grumph.

I talked to him today, and told him what I was doing,and he said not to go crazy on the cleaning. Since the house is half mine, and in the state it is in, I am disregarding that and doing what I think is right.  He may be coming home soon – depends on his fever and blood cultures – and will have a home health nurse coming periodically to help him through six weeks of IV antibiotics through a picc line. It’s my opinion that cleanliness is critical at this time. Dog hair +picc line = back to the hospital.

Kelsea, meanwhile, is embracing the cleaning with all the enthusiasm a teenager on spring break can muster for such an activity. Get what I’m saying? Yippee.

But as dear Ceciliag commented on yesterday’s post, this cleansing will be good for all of us.

Assuming we survive it.



Photo title: Back To The Wild

Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.

Quote of the day: “Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves.”  —  Emile Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Daily gratitudes:
Getting off the bus yesterday
Clean dishes
Happy cats
A new project

The seemingly endless move is finally done. 

Done is, of course, a relative term. 

But when I say done, I mean that the last item was carried out of the Cottage – by me – today.  Before I left, I walked through each room.  The painter was already working, so it didn’t feel like it was my home anymore, but still, the memories remain.

Tearful conversations and good night hugs.  Holiday dinners eaten over the stove and on the kitchen floor.  Happy showers.  Love and laughter well made in the sunny bedroom, with hopes of shocking the Sunday morning congregations.  Naps on the red couch,  A lot of memories.  And a few tears as I left, with that one last item, a wine carafe experimented with with much mirth.

Everything is here now.  And I have been sleeping here for almost a week.  I sleep well here.  I am exhausted.  I haven’t gotten home from working, moving, cleaning until after 8 every day this week. I come home and forage for food and crawl into bed.  I’m the lead writer on a huge proposal at work, so even after crawling into bed, I was editing until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  So unpacking didn’t happen this week.

The movers were … okay.  One was great, but his two adolescent helpers were dawdlers, and so I wound up paying extra for their time, which pissed me off.  But Ruben did take apart and put together my bed, which was really, really helpful.  Although he made it higher than it had been, somehow, so I almost fell out of it trying to reach something on the floor, which was greatly amusing to me, even in my exhausted state.  I only had one casualty – the bookcase.  You know the one, right?  The one put together without any nails?  Yea, that one.  It didn’t survive.  And I didn’t think it would, so … okay.

So I’m negotiating around boxes, trying to unpack when I can.  Trying to get things washed and sparkling.  The Bungalow is happy to have me here, and it feels very homey, like I’ve been here for a long time.  It is quiet at night, and the birds are chirping and cooing in the mornings.  I even saw a bunny in the alley today.

Being as old as it is – 111 and one of the oldest houses in town – it has its spirits.  I have glimpsed them out of the corner of my eye.  They are curious and embracing, but slightly surprised to have someone here with any sensitivity to them  We’ll see how that relationship evolves.

This will be Kelsea’s first night here.  And Niece One’s as well.  She is going to live here until August until she goes to teach overseas.  I hope they are as enamoured of it as I am.  It is a great little house, and I want it to be a home. 

I know my true home is where my heart lies.  And my heart is both waiting and restless right now.

Well, I did two loads of laundry at the Bungalow last night without causing a flood or a fire, so I consider that a hopeful sign.  Still terrified of the beautiful stove, but then if it’s heard anything of my culinary history, it’s likely terrified of me. 

There is still so much to be done before move-in, and, as I just told a friend, while it’s not a money pit, it is certainly making me house-poor.  I try so hard not to resent the fact that I completely furnished and accoutremented one house already, but when I suggest taking anything from what is now ex-Pat’s house, I am met with resistance to the point that it’s less costly to go replace whatever it is than to engage in the emotional battle for a pair of pruning shears.

Last night, though, at 11:00, as the laundry was finishing, I lay on the area rug in the living room – the rug so soft that Kelsea and I have named it God’s Cat, and the only thing in the living room besides a lamp and a 5-foot tall spoon – I felt at home.  Somehow, I was reminded of my parents’ house – there was something comforting and soothing in the space around me.

Yes, it felt like home. 

There will be other homes in warmer places, maybe even on a boat someday, but for now, it will be nice to be home.

In my hair, on my shoes, under my nails, on my clothes.  But my bedroom is now painted, except for the ceiling and the trim, and Kelsea’s has its first coat.  It took almost 4 hours.  Tomorrow, Kelsea and Uber-Cool Will (and maybe one other friend) will be tackling the living room, while I address the needs of the clawfoot tub and get started in the kitchen.

We took our first load o’stuff over today, and put it in the garage.  Everything’s going in the garage until I can tackle the floors, and I can’t do the floors until the painting is done.  And my landlord wants to start showing the Cottage next weekend, so I have to get a lot more o’stuff off the floor, and basically just leave the big furniture.  Which means more loads must head over after work daily next week.  Which means I need boxes.  Which also means I am exhausted.

But it was interesting last night, when I was coming home.  I was in a sad place, and I found myself wanting to go to the Bungalow.  I was thinking of the Bungalow as home.  Not the Cottage, which has been my home for 2 1/2 years.  I’m really looking forward to my little house adventure.  Yes, I am lonely.  But it’s great to have the kids around. 

I sure do feel independent.  And sleepy.

Kelsea's room before painting

It has happened – finally.

That one day in Spring when, all of a sudden, it’s as if you have opened eyes that have been closed for six months.  You look up and suddenly you see that the willow trees have sparked into green.  That there is grass – actual green grass – where before there was just a brown memory of grass.  I almost wrecked the truck the other day because I caught a glimpse of white bud blossoms on a passing tree and tried to crank my head 180-degrees for a better look.

At the Bungalow, things are growing.  I have no idea what they are, and won’t until they are in full-bloom; I suspect the bush by the back door is a lilac, which would make me terribly happy, but honestly, I won’t care what it is.  I do know that there are tulips by the front fence.  In the Fall, I will plant some fragrant daffodils, like those coming up at Ex-Pat’s house, by my doorstep.

It hasn’t seemed like we’ve had enough moisture to make things green.  Unlike my friends in Chicago and Boston, we’ve had a fairly easy winter, weather-wise.  Emotion-wise, it’s a different story, at least for me.  I backslide emotionally – as I did last night – and so I hope the inspiration of spring, which does not backslide but continues to grow gracefully into itself and the next season and the one after that, will serve me well this year.  I need it.

Time to go pick up Kelsea, paint and the surprise.  Have a lovely day.

Things are moving along.  I told my landlords that I’m leaving.  Work has begun on what (for now) I’m calling The Bungalow.  Harry the Handyman pulled out the sink and vanity and ripped up the carpet in the bathroom.  And as an added yippee, it wasn’t the hot water heater leaking, it was the under-sink pipe.  Much easier to fix.

I peeled off about 50 years worth of wallpaper today, and rid the backyard of a few years worth of branches.  I bought about 300 pounds worth of tile – that is heavy stuff, man.  And, in my quest to restore the bathroom, I bought what I’ve always wanted:  a 1922 cast-iron clawfoot bathtub.  It needs a little elbow grease but not too much.  I’m so happy!!

While I was out getting the tub, a former resident of the house stopped by.  He told Harry that he used to keep a pot-bellied pig in the house – so what I thought was a dog door was actually a pig door!  Somehow, I really like that.,

Kelsea and Uber-Cool Will and I were in the house last night, sitting around on the floor talking.  It felt wonderful.  His suggestion for the Bungalow’s name is Innovo, because it means “to start again” in Latin.  That’s a good one.  And it’s the only idea right now.  So again, a little help here, all my creative friends?

Tomorrow, we’ll start painting.  And, if it’s still there, I’m going to go get the most awesome surprise for the garage.  It’s interesting how my mind is starting to compartmentalize what I have to do for the little bungalow.  We’re starting with the kitchen, bathroom, living room, my room and Kelsea’s room.  The Shaman Room, little office, laundry room, greenhouse room and hot tub room will have to wait.  As will the floors – although I will clean them before we move furniture in.

My heart is still broken, but the world warms up, it seems to heal a little bit each day (except on those backslide days).   I’m tired, but happy right now.  I have a date to go dancing tonight, and a nice gentleman with whom I’ve been Skypeing.

Yes, life goes on.

Yes, it’s true.  And I didn’t even throw up on the closing papers.  I come close to doing that when I have to hand over large sums of money. 

My realtor was amazing, and if anyone in Colorado needs to buy a house, Brad Klein is the guy to see.  And the gag-me check that I had to give birth to and give away was even slightly smaller than I had anticipated.  There was last-minute drama and delays with the closing, which was supposed to happen on Friday afternoon.  But it all came together on Monday.

So, here I am.  With one HUGE accomplishment under my belt – I have my own house. No one helped me.  I did it all by myself.  On my own.   Just me.  Brave little independent me.

Of course, an hour after I owned it, Brad called to tell me he’d dropped off the keys and that the hot water heater was leaking. Guess that means I really AM a homeowner.

My handyman is coming to purge the bathroom and replace the floor, the tub, the hot water heater and the sink on Saturday.  The place is 111 years old and hasn’t been lived in for over a year.  I’ve been inside the last few nights, just feeling the little house’s happy energy.  It’s looking forward to being loved and transformed.  I can do those things well.

I have two lamps from last weekend’s auction in my bedroom, and am playing with paint chips and feeling generally overwhelmed.  But it’s all mine (well, and the bank’s, but they’re soulless, so we don’t count them.)

Uber-cool Will says it’s like a full-size playhouse.  That’s because he lives in a newish sterile Rock Creek home.Still debating a name for the little place.  Real Courage?  True Grit?  WADU? 

Kelsea and I will discuss it.  It’s a whole new life.

It’s almost spring, which is wonderful.  Just to give you a quick update on where things stand (and remember it’s all about me today, so every sentence will start with “I”):

I am jumping through hoops for the house, and it’s still touch and go.  If I close, I close on Friday.  I haven’t said anything to my landlords yet, and will probably stay at the Cottage for a month longer as there is much to get done in the new house.  Which, by the way, needs a name.  Any ideas?

I continue to be frustrated by a temperamental hot water heater.  I DO NOT LIKE COLD SHOWERS IN THE MORNING.  Serious boo.

I still have not figured out how to juggle everything with this commute.  The Cottage needs cleaning, the recycle needs dropping off, the oil needs changing, the bank needs visiting, the taxes need to get to the accountant, my body needs working out.  I need some “me” time, other than on the bus, I need some Kelsea time, and I need some social life.  Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of this stuff soon.  Other people can do it – so can I!

I am thrilled that Spring is almost here.

I have this awful bruise on my arm that I have no idea how I got.  Why does that happen?

I love my job.  My brain is just so engaged all the time!  And I’m really improving my editing skills.

I dislike the fact that my landlords are running the sprinklers all the time.  It’s like walking through a downpour to get to the Cottage.

I am sad to report that my hot flashes are returning.  It seems that stress = hot flashes.

I am going to go find the spot to watch the Supermoon rise tonight.  I think I know just the place.  If any pictures come out, I’ll share them.

January 2023


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