At This Moment

Today….

Is a not-so-regular Friday sandwiched between two feast days.

Yesterday was a relaxed Thanksgiving with some of my husband’s family.  Our name cards were thoughtfully designed by my niece.  We ate Grandma’s mashed potatoes made with the extra special ingredients of sour cream, cream cheese, and love.  We also had green bean casserole, corn bread stuffing, and pumpkin roll.  We listened to Christmas music while we ate dessert.  I was hungry and it tasted delicious.  (Well, I wasn’t hungry for dessert, but I ate it anyway.)  The company and conversation made for a mellow evening.

Tomorrow we will spend time with my family.  We’ll eat more turkey, mashed potatoes, and corn.  Instead of corn bread stuffing, my mom will make her sausage stuffing, a family tradition.  We’ll have jellied cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and homemade pumpkin pie.  The meal will end with a time of thanks shared around the table.  We’ll fight over who gets to hold the three-month old nephew and probably play a game or two.  A good time spent with very important people in my life – I’m looking forward to it.

On this sandwich Friday, though, other things are on my mind:

– Will my home ever be put back together?  It is turned completely upside down with the remodeling project and I’m not sure how much more I can take.  My husband and brother-in-law made huge progress today laying the hardwood floor.  The living room is almost finished.  To accomplish the job, however, everything in the living room was transferred to the dining room.  It looks worse than moving day in there.

– What a beautiful day it was!  And the only outdoor activities I engaged in were walks from the car to a store and back again.  Shame on me!

– Speaking of shopping, my daughter and I stumbled upon some great deals today even though I really don’t do Black Friday.  I nabbed an artificial tree for the family room at a local garden center for half price.  We also found a comforter set for Lovey’s bedroom makeover for one hundred dollars off retail.  The bonus – she loves it! Oh, how I love a good bargain.

– Speaking of my daughter – she is fifteen.  Fifteen.  Fifteen…..

– I’m sensing a growing anxiety about two major projects required for my current classes.  I’m having trouble focusing on the tasks and finding uninterrupted time to work on them.  It’s beginning to make me nervous.  (At this time, blogging could be construed as procrastination.)

– I have no idea what to make for supper.  The kitchen is a disaster area and not conducive to cooking anything.  My conscience is pressuring me to make something healthful for my family, but all I really want is pizza and a cold, fizzy Coca Cola.

– I just want to play with the kittens and forget about everything else for a while.

– Is it really time to start decorating for Christmas?  With the condition of the house, I almost can’t bear the thought.

– I love Christmas.

– I am thankful.  I’m thankful for a hard-working, determined husband who is almost single-handedly making this renovation happen.  And, although I’m complaining about the state of my dwelling, it will look gorgeous when it is finished.  I’m thankful for a job I love and the financial security to be able to do it.  I’m thankful for my children, who are my greatest sources of pride and pleasure.  I’m thankful for Target (Hubby probably not so much), and for Starbucks hot chocolate, and for the great little black dress I bought on sale at the Banana Republic Outlet.  And, finally, I am thankful for a God whose mercies are new every morning, who delights in giving us second chances, and who offers us salvation no matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done before now.  God sees me as I am and loves me anyway.  Now that is something to be thankful for indeed.

As I write this, one of my newly adopted kittens has fallen asleep in my lap.  He is one of two brothers who are already firmly entrenched in the hearts of my family.  His name is Sam.  He is covered in soft, long white fur with some grey splotches tossed in.  His warm little body is nestled in my arm.  This is a small pleasure I’ve been missing for a while and it’s so good to be enjoying it again.

This is where I’m at tonight.  It’s not such a bad place to be.

(The idea for this post came from The Blue Hour and A Sweet Spoonful.  These writers seem to be able to pull off the concept in far fewer words than I can.)

Renovation Times Two

Today was a momentous occassion.  The very first boards of our hardwood floor were placed.  Considering that this home improvement project began in April, the new floor was a long time coming.  The project itself has been a huge undertaking for us.  We’re attempting it ourselves, with the generous help of my dad, who has been involved in construction his entire working career and who built, from the footers up, two of the homes I lived in as a child.  So far, the remodel has involved just about every area of the first floor of my home – or will, by the time we are done.  For the past six months, we have been living with some degree of demolition/construction with no end in sight.  I’ve forgotten what it feels like to take a Sunday afternoon nap on the sofa.  And forget about entertaining family and friends – there is no comfortable place to sit anywhere in the main part of the house.

Anyone who has ever attempted a renovation soon realizes that projects take on a life of their own.  And, they often take many moons longer than originally anticipated.  Ours certainly did and is.  Hardwood floors were always part of the plan, but waiting three months between ordering and delivery was not.  In the throes of framing, drywalling and spackling, my retired father took a part-time job and the demands of Mr. Whimsey’s job increased exponentially.  Trying to find a time when everyone is available has become challenging, to say the least.

For my part, I keep increasing the degree of difficulty for everyone because I can’t make up my mind.  – “Yes, tear out the balusters, newels, and handrails and build a wall right there so I have an inside wall for my piano”, I insisted.  My obliging husband and dad did just that.  And….. I hated it – a huge, cumbersome eyesore that ruined the expansive feeling of my living room.  So, the wall is coming down and new newels, balusters, and handrails are replacing it.  It also took me forever to choose a paint color for the living room, which seemed to make everyone else, including the painter, nervous.

When I’m not second guessing every single decision, I’m coming up with grand new ideas.  “Since we’re already ripping the carpet out in the living room, let’s change the fireplace stonework to dry-stacked schist while we’re at it”.  Or, “Because we really don’t want to tile around the toilet and sink in the powder room, let’s just rip everything out and start fresh”.  Mr. Whimsey is gung-ho for just about every idea my scheming mind produces.  The only thing he flat-out refused me was replacing the tile back splash in the kitchen.  The agreeableness of my worker man has been great for me and the house, but horrible for the time line.  I’m starting to believe that I will never see my home put back together again.  It can be rather discouraging.

That’s why it is so good to see real chunks of progress.  It reminds me that there is a light at the end of this dark and dirty tunnel.  While Dad and Hubby worked on the floor, I did some renovating of my own.  Whimsey Pie has a brand new look.  As technically challenged as I am, I’m tickled with the results.  What do you think?