Item One: Kim is in labor. Baby Izzo will no longer be "Baby Izzo" by the end of today! We're all trying not to hope for too many updates because we know she and Stephen are pretty busy right now.
Item Two: Grandma has officially left the wheelchair. The physical therapist came this morning and said her legs have gotten strong enough to allow her knees to lock when she walks, so what she has to do now is just practice, practice, practice until she gets back to where she was. He said it'll take about two weeks, in his estimation. This means that Grandma has pretty much completely healed from her fracture and is on the verge of near-independence. This is wonderful, wonderful news!
Item Three: Leah has not contracted chicken pox and the waiting period is over. We haven't seen her or Benjamin for about a month and I'm suffering severe sister-deprivation. Benjamin called up a little while ago and said they wanted to come over and did we want KFC or pad thai for supper?
Both sound wonderful to me. But not as wonderful as being able to see Leah and Benjamin.
And Ben and I took a walk in the WARM today because it was 50 whole degrees outside! It was really nice. Smelled a little like spring; which is quite a teaser when you figure we have all of February and most of March to go before we really get some true spring weather in.
It turns out Ben and I are very easily entertained.
We had to go to the store this evening to get hydrogen peroxide. After weeks of messing around trying to heal some sores on Grandma's feet using the nurse's chosen method, we're finally reverting back to the method we used successfully on the giant one now healed on the bottom of her right foot - careful baths in hydrogen peroxide followed by generous usage of triple-antibiotic ointment and a donut cut out of moleskin to protect the sore itself. This is an aside to explain our sudden after-dinner-hydrogen-peroxide emergency.
We don't get out much in the evenings these days, so when we had a few minutes to go to the store when we didn't actually NEED to do any other shopping, of course we treated it like a trip to the movies. We wandered down every aisle and looked at all kinds of things. 6-lb cans of chick peas, cereal, all the clearance sale items, birthday cards, and iced tea, among other things. We did buy a brownie mix and a bottle of Mash fruit drink to try (turns out it has Splenda in it - it would be really tasty stuff if it weren't for that because it combines my two favorite drink options: sparkling water and grapefruit), but mostly we just browsed.
It occurred to us in the process that when we budgeted our monthly needs, we didn't include anything in the Entertainment categories. No movie tickets, no pizza nights, no eating out. Right now, "going out" means fitting in a visit to my family or to church or to the grocery store. It will probably be that way for quite a while. The funny thing is that even when we were "dating", we didn't do much for entertainment. Dating meant eating lunch with Grandma at assisted living or going to church together or eating dinner with our families or stopping at Wendy's when we had errands to run and we missed mealtime at either family's house. We went out to Metro Beach right after Leah and Benjamin's wedding and took a walk on the nature trail there and that was fun. I hope we can manage another walk or two like that this summer.
But in the meantime, I'm very glad we started the way we did and that our entertainment requirements are as simple as they are. Because wandering around the grocery store is fun and that's what we do when we go out.
Ben and I have been trying to get up early enough to go for a walk in the mornings the past few days.
It started Thursday morning. We forgot to take the garbage out Wednesday evening (again! Mom Turner keeps telling us they never remember either, but they also get up earlier than we do and do not end up racing out of bed to get the trash to the curb ahead of the truck...at least, so I assume...) and Ben had gotten up a bunch with Grandma Lila, so I got up early Thursday, got dressed, and did the routine of emptying all the trash cans and taking the trash to the curb. I had felt sort of fuzzy and headachey when I got up, but the few minutes trotting back and forth taking the trash cans to the curb cleared the cobwebs and made me feel much better. I came in and stuck my cold nose on Ben's cheek and said, "Wanna go for a walk?"
I was half joking. He's asked me if I want to go for a walk a couple times in the past two weeks, but he keeps asking when I'm so tired I'm ready to take a nap. I sort of wondered if asking him the morning he was pretty tired from being up a few times would make him groan at me and say, "Go away!" but to my surprise he pried one eyelid open, grinned, and said, "Sure!" He then got up and put his jeans and sweatshirt on and we went for a walk. And it was very nice. The whole morning felt much more relaxed and productive. I think maybe we get oxygen-deprived being in the house all the time and breathing fresh air for a while makes us a little more with-it than we would be otherwise.
Since then, we've been going for a walk in the morning right when the sun is coming up. I'm used to being out early in the summer, but I don't think I've ever been out early in the winter like that. The weirdest thing is the lack of birdsong. It's so quiet. There aren't even many dogs out, so it feels almost like we have the whole neighborhood to ourselves - if we ignore the squirrels, anyway. The other morning we saw clear raccoon prints crossing our front yard. The disturbing thing about that, by the way, was that they completely vanished right in the middle of our driveway. I'd really like to know where the little critter went - I sort of gingerly checked out our garbage cans just to see if it might be taking up residence in there by any chance, but no results.
One thing's for sure, though: if we maintain this as a habit - and it seems a pretty good habit to have - I'm going to have to get a hat. Boy, do my ears get cold after twenty minutes walking briskly around the neighborhood! I think they stay red for another hour after we get home...
Today is Ben's 34th birthday.
One year ago today, I met his family (except his sister Kim and her husband Stephen) for the first time. It was the second time he and I had gone anywhere together, and he'd only eaten dinner with my family once. We went over to the assisted living home where Grandma Lila was living and ate dinner in the Garden Room, played Wii bowling, and Ben and I drove Grandma Turner home to Dearborn afterward: which is when we discovered we very much enjoyed long car rides together. I remember sitting next to him on Grandma Turner's couch for the first time. That took a lot of guts for me to do because I've been a fairly reserved person in my life.
Today is the two-month anniversary of our wedding. I guess it's safe to say that in some ways, I've become a much less reserved person over the past year. Ben seems much the same as he did then, though maybe more firmly settled in things he thinks are right and good and important. This past year has been quite a test for him in many ways, a test of his mind and will and character; and he has come through with shining colors.
It was a very quiet day. We cleaned the house carefully since we were expecting planned dinner company for the first time. We got Ben's cake ready and finished the enchilada casserole. Ben got more dishes out of boxes because we only had five sets in use currently and we needed seven for dinner. We took a twenty-minute nap while Grandma practiced piano in the afternoon.
Ben says it was the best birthday ever: the first one he's ever celebrated in his own house with a wife. That's pretty special. It's the first time I've ever celebrated my husband's birthday, though not the first time I've ever celebrated a birthday with Ben. It is truly amazing how many things changed in a year; and I have a feeling it's going to feel much the same next January. Wonder what comparisons we'll be making then?
For anyone who didn't previously know, I am a cookbook-a-holic. I horde very few things, but cookbooks and food magazines are one of those things I will hang onto even when all reasonable chance of actually cooking anything from them has passed. Anything weird, new, interesting, or arcane when it comes to cooking just draws me right in; and my brain - with it's habit of retaining frivolous trivia - has a field day storing up bits of information it hopes might come in handy one day. Hey, you never know when it might be a good thing to know why you should use sea salt instead of kosher salt on that steak you're grilling.
Yesterday, Mom Turner inadvertently fed this particular addition by bringing over a small pile of Martha Stewart "Food" magazines. I almost didn't get anything useful done today. They're deceptively small, about the size of those miniature little booklet magazines you find at dentist offices and other such places. I was pretty fascinated by the recipes, though, because true to Martha Stewart's nature, there was quite an assortment of strange and interesting ideas. Lentil-Grape Salad, anyone? How about Beet Pancake with Goat Cheese and Chives? Hazelnut Semifreddo? ("Semi-freddo". What on Earth is that? A dessert or a pasta sauce?) Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower? ("Just add a little milk and you can make a wonderfully silky and satisfying soup," the latter recipe notes.)
Some other gems I picked up:
Need a healthier alternative to plain ol' baked potatoes? Make it a sweet potato; and instead of butter used mashed avacado; instead of sour cream, use a little goat cheese; and maybe a zesty twist of lime will liven the whole thing up so you don't notice it's low in fat!
I'm trying to picture serving baked sweet potato with mashed avacado on it. The colors alone make me pause, but like any recipe-a-holic, I can't help the sneaking thought, "What if that really tasted good after all?"
There was also a mushroom and leek gratin. It sounded good when you read the ingredients, but honestly, the casserole looked like rubber in a pan. Seriously! It was all textured and black and...rubber like. Ew.
And Martha apparently loves kale. I lost count of how many recipes used it. Of course, some of them looked downright tasty. Still, I found myself lowering the magazine and frowning in thought...have I ever actually EATEN kale or just used it as a pretty decoration? In some weird way, it's sort of like suggesting that since carnations aren't poisonous, they might be a tasty addition to your next fruit salad.
It is also apparently out of fashion to use salted butter. As I explained to Mom later, unsalted butter really does have some different properties from salted - whisked into a hot sauce, for example, unsalted butter will incorporate while salted butter separates. Still, always specifying unsalted butter really is just the kind of slightly snobby touch that always seems to permeate Martha Stewart products.
Joking aside, some recipes really caught my eye, especially an enchilada casserole that actually utilizes leftover rotisserie chicken (we have half of one right now) and those strangely fascinating little things called tomatillos that I keep eyeing at the grocery story wondering whether I can figure out something to do with them. I don't even know what they taste like, but they are very intriguing with their papery skins and bright green fruit. Ben has requested "anything Mexican" for his birthday dinner and I just may try that one. I'll have to come up with something more American since we'll probably be feeding both grandmas dinner that evening and neither one is into exotic and spicy; but looking through this little pile of magazines I notice I've got quite a few pages tabbed for later review.
Hm. Hearty Kale and Bean Soup, anyone?
Since certain beloved sisters are stuck at home for various reasons, I figure it behooves me to update this blog more than normal. As I have just hit my late-afternoon crash-in-a-chair point, I think this is probably a good time to tell the Tale of the Early Bathrobe.
It begins not so very long ago (or very far away), when my wonderful husband determined that he was going to take over the late night/early morning visits to the bedroom next door to assist our grandmother when she rang her bell. Actually, at first he was assisting when she would call, but we learned something about having her call us. Because she is a little hard of hearing, when she calls she knows she has to wake us up, so she calls very loudly to make sure we can hear her. When you wake up in the middle of the night because someone is shouting your name, it tends to make for an adrenaline rush akin to stomping on the brakes because that big semi is drifting over into your lane.
No, I don't think I'm exaggerating. Much.
At any rate, Ben decided to give Grandma a little silver bell and encouraged her to ring it because he said he'd have no problem hearing it and it wouldn't be the same as a shout in the middle of the night. The very first night she rang, he leaped straight out of bed because he wanted to get over there very quickly to reassure her that ringing the bell was a very good idea and he would hear immediately when she rang.
The problem was, he was in his underclothes.
Now, ordinarily it wasn't that big of a deal to him. He'd gotten in the habit of leaving a pair of jeans at the end of the bed and throwing those on before going next door to help Grandma. That night, however, he'd forgotten and put his pants in the wash (which we've been keeping in a nice laundry basket under the bathroom sink since there's no good place for it in our room). So a 3:00, after leaping out of bed with his eyes still closed, he flipped on the light and then went racing around the bedroom searching desperately for a pair of pants while shouting, "Coming! I'm coming, Grandma!"
Grandma can't hear us even when we shout from the other room, but I think Ben was hoping she'd at least hear his voice and know he was awake.
After finally locating a pair of pants (and hopping out the door putting them on), he helped Grandma and then came back to flop on the bed and say, "I really don't feel so good."
He'd gotten up so fast and run around so much that his heart was racing and he was all sort of clammy and feeling sick to his stomach, the usual reaction when your blood has been rudely re-routed and given a hefty dose of adrenaline. He was finally able to catch his breath and relax enough to go back to sleep, but it was about 4:30 before I think we were both sleeping soundly again.
The next day, my sister Elizabeth came over and she took me out for a quick shopping trip to the local Meijer while Ben was at work. I'd been planning to go out birthday shopping, but it seemed to me a crucial necessity in Ben's life had become a bathrobe. We found one fairly quickly, but then I had to make a decision...
To give early, or not to give early.
I sort of debated with myself about this the rest of the day. Because I knew if I gave it to him right away, I wouldn't have anything for him to open on his birthday and I really love giving people gifts on their birthday. On the other hand, if I didn't give it to him, he had the potential to spend another two weeks or so leaping out of bed and trying to get dressed before helping Grandma. So I hid it in the closet and kept debating.
That night we were getting ready for bed and just as Ben was getting undressed, Grandma called him to help her with some problem she was having with her TV remote. Ben put his clothes back on and went to help and I thought, "This is just ridiculous. I'm going to feel guilty hiding that bathrobe every single time he has to get up for two weeks. It's not worth it just to have a package for him to open on his birthday!"
So I dug the brand new robe out of the closet and spread it out over the end of the bed. And it was worth it to see his face light up when he came back in and said, "What's this? How'd you manage to go get this?!"
He's been using it every single night. At first for some reason it attracted a lot of static electricity and he would snap, crackle, and pop with little sparks when he would come walking in while it was dark; but that seems to have worn off, sadly. It was kind of fun calling him Static Man.
I'm very glad he's had it the past few weeks. Maybe I can just think up something else for him to open Saturday...
This could almost be a sequel to the last post, but there's another observation we've been making over the past few weeks about the little things that keep people going: subtle routines that make people feel normal.
When I get up in the morning, I get little or nothing done until I get dressed. I don't know why. Pajamas make me disinclined to do anything busy, like make breakfast or take the laundry down. I learned a long time ago that if I want the day to be productive, I have to get up and put my clothes on right away. Keeping PJs on for the morning has never been a good option (except on Saturday...but even then I find I don't really enjoy staying in pajamas for long). And when I get dressed, if I REALLY want to be productive, I must put my shoes on. Then I'm ready to zip around and do what needs to be done.
Even when I'm sick (as in, sick enough that I'm actually having to lay around and not do anything), I usually get up, get dressed, and do my hair before going back to bed. Because then I actually feel better. More normal.
A lot of people need their cup of coffee in the morning to feel normal. Even if not technically addicted to caffeine (they drink decaf or only have that one cup per day), without their morning coffee they don't feel up to doing anything busy like the grocery shopping or vacuuming or even making meals.
In living with Grandma Lila, it's been an important process to pin down exactly what things were going on in her life that left her unsettled and feeling like she was, as she puts it, "not entirely well" even when her leg was healed and she was no longer feeling pain from it. As we've been finding and rectifying these things - many as simple as having the right kind of socks on - she's been acting more and more herself.
If a person wanted to increase productivity in their day, it seems to me that a good exercise is to identify those things that make you feel settled, normal, and ready to do some work. Whether it's the kind of perfume you're wearing, the time you get up in the morning, whatever you have for breakfast, or even what kind of music is playing, I think there are a lot of little keys in a person's life that can trigger their "productive" brain even when they're having a day when they are inexplicably feeling too lazy to get anything done. Or even feeling sort of sad and tired or generally not themselves.
I doubt those things are generally very complicated. Like I said, for me it's a simple as getting dressed right away and putting my shoes on. Somebody told me this week that this is a suggestion from someone called "the Fly-Lady" who apparently specializes in giving housekeeping advice, but I came up with it after I realized my ankles are so weak that I actually walk much better with my shoes on. When I can walk better and move faster, I feel more like doing things. Very simple, very effective...very useful to know. Because when I have a day that I can't seem to get anything done, I can stop and think, "Okay...what didn't I do this morning to get going?" and then do it!
Ben and I have been having a long ongoing conversation ever since we started discussing living with Grandma Lila. It involves what it really means to live and what makes people interested in living.
The first premise of this discussion is that "living" is a lot different than "existing". There are a lot of people out there who are still breathing - even without help! - and yet aren't really living. Just sort of...existing until it's time to stop breathing. Most people recognize this and tend to apply a lot of different standards to a life to try to define what it really means to live ("if you don't have your health, you're not really living!"); and it's in that process that people can frighteningly come up with the idea that if you're not living the "quality of life" they define as "really living", you're probably miserable and it would be a mercy to put an end to your useless existence.
Ben and I haven't been discussing whether or not some people should go on living: we've simply been trying to identify the characteristics that define a person who is really living and has that unique sparkle in their eyes.
One of the things we've noticed is that people who are really living often have a variety of things they do to feel useful.
Depending on the person, sometimes those are very small things; or they're a whole lot of really big things. People who are interested and engaged in life have at least some tasks they feel responsible for. If you start removing those tasks - even if it's out of kindness - you can see an immediate decline in that person's enthusiasm for living. Irrelevance is a deadly thing. Human beings need to be needed or they sort of waste away.
When my family moved around the corner from my Nana and Papa eleven or twelve years ago, one of the things they were concerned about was that we would start trying to take over things that they were handling just fine on their own, like cutting the grass. They had noticed with their parents' generation that when people got such tasks taken away from them, they would start declining and actually be no longer capable of what they used to enjoy, which led to sadness and general lack of desire to live. We had to be very careful not to help them unless they really wanted help. You really can kill someone with kindness, they taught us.
When we looked at Grandma Lila living with us, we started considering what things Grandma might need responsibility for to keep her mind engaged so that she still had LIFE, not just a boring existence. They didn't have to be big things, simply things that every day Grandma was responsible for so she would be living, not declining. Grandma's personality is such that she's not a "busy" person and is quite contented to have a few small things she is responsible for every day. One of the things we figured out is that she cares very much for how she's dressed, so we've been backing away as much as possible from getting her dressed so that she has as much in her command as she's capable of. It takes her a long time, but when she gets herself all dressed and puts her jewelry on and puts makeup on and does her hair and brushes her teeth, she tends to be much more alert and engaged than if we're in a hurry and need to hustle her through the process.
Another place we see Grandma really come alive is when it comes to playing (and teaching) piano. She will work hard on that for hours and she's in a rare good mood when she's decided she's done. I love to hear her play because my mom is very similar in that she'd practice for hours and hours a day if she had time. Grandma playing piano sounds like home to me because she likes all the same music Mom does. We've been encouraging her to keep playing everyday to regain the nimbleness in her fingers and remember pieces that got rusty over the weeks she was confined to bed because when she works on the piano, she feels as though she's really DONE something with her day.
Tonight she's actually giving Ben lessons on reading and playing proper sheet music. She's being quite a drill sergeant. I told Ben she's getting him back for his tough drilling on her daily leg exercises.
We've seen a lot of change in Grandma since she's been home and we've been seeking out what things we can make her responsibility so that she will feel truly alive, not just like she's passing the time. She's become much more independent, getting herself around the house, clearing her own dishes off the table, and generally living like she's home again rather than in an institution environment. Hopefully, she feels like she's living. I know right now she does - she has a light in her eyes when she's teaching piano like no other time.
And the light in the eyes is a sign of someone who's living.
When people used to ask me what I "did" (as in, "What kind of job do you do?"), I used to tell them I was a purchasing agent. It's actually not too far off the mark. If you wanted to give me an official job title, it probably would've been something like "Executive Assistant and Chief Purchasing Agent", which is just a fancy way of saying "Chief Cook and Bottle Washer". I grocery shopped and usually cooked for 10 - 12 people on a regular basis (nothing compared to a friend of mine who regularly makes dinners for 20+!) and I'd been doing it for a long time. Eleven years, I think.
When Ben and I got married, people had a lot to say about how it was going to be tough for me to adjust to cooking for just two or three people. I said I didn't think it was going to be, mostly because my method of feeding people was to figure out what constituted one serving and work from there. As it turns out, that method is still holding true and I'm doing pretty good with feeding three people. There are a few amusing things about it to me - if I want to make lasagna for two nights and have spaghetti sauce left over for a third, it takes only one 28-ounce can of tomato sauce to make that amount. My normal amount would've been three cans for just one meal. I might be weird, but I actually start laughing about that. And meatloaf - meatloaf is hilarious. I made meatloaf this week calculating by how much I would make for ten how much I needed for three and it was the tiniest little baby meatloaf I ever saw...and we ate about two-thirds of it. I guess half a pound of hamburger makes plenty of meatloaf when you've got baked potatoes and salad to go with it!
Our menus have been about the same as what I would make at home - I always chose meals that included a protein (usually meat), a starch, a green vegetable (other colors are okay too, but there usually needs to be one green one), and a salad. There were some variables at home, however, that don't come into play around here. For instance, Dad long ago declared "Soup is not a meal. It's a side dish." Therefore, any soup had to have some kind of meat, starch, and salad along with it. For example, we might have grilled chicken, broccoli soup, garlic potatoes, and salad for a meal.
Ben doesn't feel the same way about soup - in fact, he likes soup for dinner. I still haven't quite gotten out of the habit of wanting to add all the other stuff to it, but I'm restraining myself because then we eat too much. Grandma pretty much only wants to eat salad, so salads have developed from lettuce and some salad vegetables to every vegetable I can find plus some cheese and a little meat. So our meals have been a lot more about salad and bread with a smaller main dish than usual. Last night, we had egg rolls, salad, and ice cream with fried apples for dessert. Granted, that was a throw-together meal because Ben and I were out until close to dinnertime; but still, that's not a meal we could've ever had for dinner with my family!
Menu for this week and part of next:
Monday: Chicken Soup, Bread, Salad - Done
Tuesday: Meatloaf, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad - Done
Wednesday: Enchiladas, Rice, Salad, Turkey Bacon for Grandma (spicy and Grandma don't get along) - Done
Thursday: Egg Rolls, Salad (this was supposed to be Grilled Chicken and something else, but I don't remember what!) - Done
Friday: Lasagna, Rolls, Salad (I put a lot of vegetables in my sauce and the filling for lasagna, so it's a one-dish meal) - Tonight
Sataurday: Leftover Lasagna, Rolls, Salad
Sunday: Yogurt Chicken, Rice, Broccoli, Salad
Monday: Pot Roast, Vegetables, Salad (this is hilarious because a little top loin steak is enough for pot roast...)
Tuesday: General Tso's Chicken, Rice, Pea Pods, Salad (I'm trying this out!)
Wednesday: Beef Soup, Bread, Salad (Beef Soup has a whole lot of vegetables too, so this is another cheater!)
Grandma always wants desserts after dinners and sometimes Ben and I have some too because she doesn't like when she gets something and we're not eating it too. She eats a lot less than us, we usually point out, so it's not like she needs to be saving up her calories for dessert. She really likes just plain vanilla ice cream, but chocolate pie is her favorite and pretty much anything sweet is good by her. Except for fried apples. She didn't like the skins still being on them. She didn't say anything about it, but first she kept eating the apple slices and putting the skins on her plate, and then she quit eating them altogether. Oops. As a silent apology, tonight I made apple crisp. With the apples properly peeled. She likes that because it's like apple pie without the crust and she often leaves the crust off apple pie.
And Ben likes everything. Oh. Except for beets and steak that's pink in the middle. Since I'll even eat raw steak (hey, when it's marinating for shish-kabobs, it's soft and spicy and really tasty!), this is sort of foreign to me; but I tried making steak tips for him and he liked the little bite-sized pieces much better. And if that's the only food-foible he's going to come up with...could you ask for anyone easier to cook for?
I've been pretty pleased to note the shopping bill is about what we expected when we budgeted, even a little lower. I would always like to get it lower, of course, but it's good to at least be hitting somewhere about at the same mark. And our eating-out expense has dropped to zero. We were spending a fair amount on fast food before we were married simply because we were always between our families' meals and didn't have much of a way to make our own. Ben keeps asking me to estimate how much the meals are costing because he likes to know how much food he can get at home for about half what he'd spend getting half the food even with his bargain-shopping tricks at Wendy's and McDonald's. We have to do a fairly big shopping trip once a week, but when it's all added up...it's a lot cheaper eating at home!
Of course, these days when asked, I no longer have to come up with some odd name for what I do. I can legitimately say, "Housewife" and people know what I do. Though of course, to be honest...my old title of Executive Assistant and Chief Purchasing Agent really still applies.
When we moved our stuff into the house the week of our wedding, we realized we had a slight problem. There wasn't enough room in our closet or bedroom for both our collections of clothing.
Now, part of this problem was not having a dresser and that was easily solved when my family gave us one. But the closet was still pretty small and we had boxes of clothing to unpack. When Ben moved home in September, we just packed up his clothes without sorting them; and though I'd sorted mine, it'd only been a quick job before everything was folded away in boxes and brought over. We initially put the boxes and tubs in Grandma's room; but as soon as she came home those had to go somewhere and that "somewhere" ended up being our bedroom. It was actually kind of funny because our bed looked like an island of settled neatness in the middle of a storage space.
Over the past week, it's become my mission to get rid of all the boxes in our room; and not only get rid of them, but have everything in them have a place. We bought an interesting device from Walmart that hangs on the original clothes hangar in our closet and extends down with another rod beneath so that our closet space is doubled for short things like pants and shirts and skirts. Then I started unpacking and sorting one box at a time. We had Ben's old dresser downstairs and decided to fold up and store all our summer clothes, since rotating seasonal clothing would save at least half our space. I ruthlessly went through and got rid of things that were too big or too small or never worn or even (in the case of a pile of Ben's socks!) missing parts. We filled a large tub with things to donate, made some choices on what should get folded in drawers and what should get hung in the closet, utilized the clothes' storage rack that had a lot of Grandma's things in it downstairs, and finally got everything taken care of. I unpacked the last box yesterday.
The way our days have been going, any project like this usually takes days to accomplish but I feel really good when it's done. Order is gradually emerging from the piles of things that were lying around the house and things are more and more under control. This is important, because with all the changes it was sort of like the straw that broke the camel's back to have no place to put things away that they really belonged in! Not to mention having to climb over piles of boxes to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I was just waiting to really take a tumble over one of those.
Next on my mental list: I REALLY want to get all the doorjambs in the hallway painted. Some are new and some are heavily patched and repaired, but all of them need finishing. Right now they still give the impression that things are unfinished and out-at-elbows. And the more settled and finished things are, the more like home this house becomes and the more peaceful everything feels.
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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