Category Archives: HGTV/DIY/Design

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a real tree

28189-beautiful-christmas-tree[1] December 1. Steve’s official start of retirement. A day to celebrate. Under normal circumstances, I would be jealous, looking forward to another four or more years of work while he stayed home, completing his honey do list and puttering around the house. Nothing normal about our current situation. We’re both retired, home together, 24/7.

We have only one vehicle now. Already we are missing the company truck. Can’t just run and get a Christmas tree, throw it in the back of the truck. This year we borrowed Chris’ truck and took Elise with us to Windy Ridge Orchard to cut our tree. I’ve thought about buying a nice artificial tree (we put a cheap one in the gazebo that caused a few arguments as it was being assembled) but I can’t quite make myself do it. I like real ones. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a real tree.

Last year Steve and Sheffield bought an already cut one while I lay on the couch recovering from my surgery. It was not what you would call a pretty tree although he claimed it was the best one in the lot. I recall that Steve and the grandkids decorated it. I didn’t much care what it looked like. But I definitely cared that we had one. It meant that everything was normal. Even though it wasn’t.

This year everything is pretty close to normal. Except we are preparing for our trip to Arizona and packing up the house so that our contractor can renovate the kitchen and install new tile in the mud room. And I get to tear up the old tile! So excited! Our contractor even left me a real tool to do it with—a mini jackhammer. I can’t wait to get started. I’ll probably hate it or, more likely, not be able to do it, and Steve will have to take over. And all of those hours spent watching HGTV will be wasted.

Sort of like writing. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long and now that I have the time to do it I realize how much work it is. (I certainly can’t delegate it to Steve.) So it doesn’t get done. That’s why I didn’t “win” NaNoWriMo (yesterday was the deadline and I never got beyond 11,000 words). But I did get a good start on a novel that I like and that I hope to complete – “Claire.” Eventually. Even with Steve hanging around the house…….

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Are 50 t-shirts enough?

As Joy has rented out her cabin and my DIY fun there ended with decorating the porch with a tablecloth and vase on the table and new cushions on the (purported family heirloom) rockers, I am turning my focus to Jesse’s house. I feel so fortunate to have the time (and hopefully permission) to help her with this project.

My entire day is a blank slate looming in front of me (when I’m not visiting DHMC) with time to write. Spend time with family. Dream about designing. Is this what cancer patients mean when they say they feel blessed to have cancer? Or just my shallow interpretation?

Hanging out with Jesse and her kids, working on my book and blog, reading lots of books, napping every afternoon, watching HGTV/DIY—these things might sound totally unproductive to most people, something they might indulge in on vacation or over the weekend—and not that long ago I was one of them—but now I see that life isn’t necessarily about being productive in the traditional sense of the word.

I can be fulfilled without a career, a paycheck, a title. Yet I spent so many years feeling otherwise. (Yes, I am fortunate that my husband can support me—maybe not in the style to which we were accustomed when we had two incomes but we manage to pay our bills and eat out!)

Have my priorities shifted? Most certainly. I’m finding that the 50 t-shirts that I own are enough, especially since I’ve only worn 15 of them this entire summer. So no more time or money wasted on weekend trips to West Lebanon to buy even more clothes.

I hope this is just the beginning of that shift. That there are more changes to come.

Yesterday I stayed in my pajamas until 4 o’clock, working on my submission for my writing group tonight. It was a gorgeous day and yet I stayed on the couch, weighted down by my laptop, afraid that if I got dressed I would venture out of the house and end up embarrassed tonight at writing group. Which I will be anyway.

I’m still not comfortable with going public with my writing. (And that includes this blog.) It wasn’t very long ago that I would hide my writing from my husband. Yet I can’t realize my dream of being an author (meaning a published writer!) unless my work rises to the level where I am not only at ease with others reading my work but proud of what they will be reading. And it won’t do that all by itself.

Wannabe designer

My daughter Joy has graciously allowed me to stage her cabin at Mountain Lakes. I’m hoping it will help her sell it while allowing me to leverage the thousands and thousands of hours (it only seems it, really) that I have spent watching HGTV and DIY.

I purposely went to the cabin alone. With my notebook in hand, I toured the cabin and recorded measurements of windows, chair cushions and beds, easy, inexpensive projects that mainly involve buying or sewing. I indulged myself just a little by listing the projects I would do with an unlimited budget. And more skills than can be learned from watching TV.

That’s where husband Steve (pretty talented as a handyman, simply lacking in motivation at this point in his life—he’d much rather be on the golf course) comes into the picture. He wasn’t invited because he would have found plenty of reasons why the DIY projects can’t be done.  He should know by now that the majority of them will be done. And he will help do them. Or rather, I will help him do them!

I watched a video on replacing the screening in window screens (amazing how easy it looks!) and think I’ll tackle a few windows at the cabin. That way when I get to replacing them at our house I will be an expert. This I can do on my own….I think.

It’s such a cute cabin, it would be so much fun to add my stamp to it before it is sold. Joy hopes that the next time she sees it is for the closing. That’s liberating for a wannabe designer like me as it will be too late for her to complain about my decisions!

Joy doesn’t know that I spent some time there the other morning actually working on my Anne novel. Writing! I know she would be happy that the cabin is serving a purpose even while it is unoccupied. Amazing how a change in environment can get the creative juices flowing. No TV. No telephone or cell service. Nothing to distract me from that blank piece of paper. I wrote a page about Anne doing renovations to an apartment she owns. Next thing you know, I’ll find a way to incorporate cancer into her life……..

Of course, that was before my decision to stage the cabin. Now if I go out there I’ll be compelled to do something besides write. Probably involving a paint brush.

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