Friday, June 5, 2015

Left Brain, Right Brain

I'm no marriage counselor, but I think I have some pretty good advice to couples who are complete opposites- couples who sometimes wonder how on earth they ever ended up together: 
Build a house.
Yeah, you heard me right. Sweat, swear and struggle through months of labor and hard decisions. Like me, you might find that the differences are actually a good thing.

My frustrations seemed to have taken an all time high since we've started construction. I've had to bite my tongue, roll my eyes and dig deep inside myself for some hard core "spunk". Bad words and alligator tears were never part if my personality before. And now they are everyday occurrences.
You see, my husband is a perfectionist. A mathematical wizard and de-puzzler of all universal puzzles and stupid measurements. A 16th of an inch difference is too great. A quarter inch, a sin.
As for me, fudge a little and nail the darn thing together! Caulk it, glue it, stick it together and call it done, for heavens sake!

But, you know, the whole left brain, right brain became so clear to me yesterday...
When I do what I love, which is painting or writing, I am easily distracted. And that doesn't bother me. 
If I'm in the middle of a project and I see a pretty bird outside, I get up and investigate. I watch it. Photograph it. Maybe even feed it.
I take time for long coffee breaks, I Pinterest, I stretch out for a nap if the feeling hits me. I'm laid back. Comfy. Never conforming to deadlines.
My husband gets on a roll and never slows down. He's a virtual snow ball who gains speed and turns into a nail gun, tape measuring, leveling inferno on wheels! He loses sleep over decisions, he goes without meals... he ignores those pretty birds out the window.

Yet, I've come to realize it's good thing. 
If I was in charge, we would still be carving our initials in the concrete and making handprints on the wet cement. We would still be lying on our backs on the rooftop watching deer or counting stars. We would drinking wine and dreaming. We would stop and play with the dogs, take pictures of wild flowers, and wonder why on earth that one wall was shorter than the other!
So, it's best to look at the whole picture sometimes. Now I see why he is such a good part of this marriage: He is everything I am not. And I am everything he is not. Together we make everything alright.
One thing about it, once his puzzle is complete and his vision is reality, he will take time to watch the birds with swing on the porch, to take a long walk in the autumn leaves...and finally, willingly and happily relax.
Oh, look! See that bluebird? Gotta go!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Lessons in Gratitude

There are times in our life when, simply put, we take things for granted. We whisk through our days taking advantage of fresh water, heat, air, clean sheets...We rarely imagine a life without coffee, television, cell phones...We become content. Selfish. Indestructible in a way...
Living in this small cabin for almost two years has taught me so many lessons. Lessons I never even knew I learned. But then today I started thinking about all the things I took for granted when I had a big to waste.
This is a list I made today as I started reflecting upon Things I Will Never Do Again ( when I get my new house).
1. I will never sit on the couch and eat a meal. 
How elegant and proper it will feel to sit at the dining room table with nice dishes and not juggle a steak knife and water glass...all the while, pushing aside a stack of magazines, a begging dog, and a mound of coats.
2. I will never have a dirty fridge again
Sadly, it's been okay to have wilted lettuce, soggy carrots and some unknown casserole hiding in my refrigerator. It's been okay because it's too much trouble, and frankly, I just don't care right now. I will embrace my new fridge. I will love it and clean it and not fill it with unneeded condiments, leftover fish and expired milk. Never. Ever.
3. I will remove my shoes before entering
Since all the cabin flooring is laminate, it's very forgiving to muddy boots, sandy flip flops, firewood crumbs and dog prints. I've shamefully developed a habit of not even wiping my feet when it's obviously called for. In my new house, there will be no shoes, no firewood, and definitely no ungroomed doggies.
4. I will open my curtains daily
In the cabin we've learned to conserve heat and air by closing the curtains. Most times, except a few months in spring and fall, it's almost claustrophobic in here. I'm feeling mole-ish. When I get my new house, it will be mandatory to open all drapes, blinds and curtains first thing every morning. And let 
the sunshine in! Plus, there's a added treat of beautiful, blessed scenery...
5. I will have clean, organized closets
No more piles, baskets, bags or suitcases stuffed with clothes. They will be hung on good hangers, color coded and all turned the same direction. There will be shoes in pairs. (Not one under the TV and one under the bed...)I will have a place for everything and everything in its place.
6. I will have no junk mail
No car dealer flyers, credit card offers or satellite provider ads will ever grace my clean desk area. I will never again sort through grocery sacks and shoe boxes for receipts, important papers and that forgotten address. I will have files. Pretty ones. And scotch tape, paper clips, batteries and pens- all tucked away sweetly, ready to be utilized.
7. I will not wear pajamas all day
Immediately after breakfast, I will shower, fix my hair, and dress in real clothes. No wearing pajamas all day, or unattractive man clothes that make consuming a whole cheesecake practically unnoticeable. I will have a pair of wonderful slippers, body lotion and a new and improved attitude.
8. I will never save things for another day
I will enjoy my "stuff" on a daily basis. I won't pack away my keepsakes, yard sale treasures or special photographs. I will burn my candles, cut flowers from my garden to make bouquets, waste  bubblebath and decorate the way I want -and not how magazines, TV shows and popular opinion dictate. I will surround myself with the things I love. Having them stored away for two years has made me appreciate them more.
9. I will never have another Christmas without a tree 
Having a Christmas tree has always been a "given". Two seasons without one has made me realize how important this is to me. Aesthetically as well as spiritually.
10. I will never take my husband for granted
Seriously. I have watched this man battle tree stumps, wasps, 100 degree heat and below zero temps...too-short ladders, too-long days, and a squirrelly wife. He's splintered fingers, calloused his hands, bent his back and bruised his knees. I've heard him curse, calculate and, hey, sometimes even chuckle...and yet, when he's covered in sawdust, blue in the face and sporting bloody knuckles, he still finds a moment to smile and say, " I'm building you your house, Honey."

Maybe it's not a new house you are waiting for...
But no matter- don't take anything for granted. Consider those fresh tulips in a vase on your counter, shine those dishes like they were heirlooms, kiss your loved ones, love your "stuff" ...and be your best you. 
For I have learned slowly, bitter sweetly, but just in time-
Gratitude is a daily privilege.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ghost House

As I embrace my cup of coffee this morning, I try to relax. I listen to the dogs barking outside, the crow of our rooster, the tick of the big clock above our bed. I try to remember the excitement I felt when we moved here. The romance. The thrill of falling into a life of simplicity.
And yet...nothing is ever simple.
Construction continues in our building. First we must finish the new garage in order to clear out the old garage. ( not old really...we built it in the summer of 2013). Then the old garage will become our house. My brain calculates and focuses on a daily basis. Imagination goes wild trying to see my kitchen cabinets, the bath tub, the windows that aren't yet there. My heart rolls and turns and flops into some weird and mighty need to have this all done. To walk in and feel it. Touch it. Know it is finally time to stand back and adore it.
I love my husband, but his need for perfection is sometimes overwhelming. And my need to gaze out on the woods, watch the wild birds and laugh at the puppies seems to trump steadying the ladder, cutting insulation or finding that lost drill bit. This leads to friction. And slowly I realize that this entire house will be built from friction. Yikes!
It's hard to understand, I suppose. How this is a sort of limbo. An in-between life where I shamelessly wish away the days. Where I want to hurry up, hurry up....hurry up.
So, this morning, I try to breathe. Find my peace. Slow down, saddle up and go with the flow.
And I remind myself once again that nothing is ever simple.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Let It Go, Let It Go

These cold January days have made me feel guilty. When I'm sitting on the couch reading, watching TV or clicking through Pinterest, I always have this nagging conscious that says, " You're lazy". 
I look around to see the origin of the voice. Was it the dirty dishes in the sink? The soap scum in the shower? The stack of papers I still haven't sorted through? The supper I need to plan? They all add to the guilt.
Usually I silence them. Unless it's a giant loud voice like cleaning the garage, waxing the truck, or clearing the woods.( I shut those voices out as long as possible.)
But washing those dishes and throwing away junk mail doesn't take long. Thawing out some chicken breasts and setting aside a couple of nice potatoes takes only minutes. A few quick sprays and wipes will get the bathroom decent enough for a few days. 
I find that takes care of the guilt for awhile.
Even so, I sometimes take pause in the mornings. I'm on my iPad, husband is on his computer. We share a pot of coffee. I make eggs and toast. We rarely speak. We stay in our pajamas and watch old movies. We stoke the fire and return to our chairs where we curl up and surf the web. We YouTube. We Facebook. We email and blog and read.
Is this really laziness? Or is this life?
Is there anything wrong with doing what is comfortable? Have we not earned the right to wear pajamas all day, nap in the mid afternoon, stay up till after midnight to watch reruns of King of Queens? Who is to say it's not right to close the curtains and play xBox, dream over home design magazines all day and eat salt and vinegar chips at 9 am? 
Come summer, it's a different story. We eat an early and quick breakfast and we start a project. It might be planting a garden or mowing the yard or building our barn. It could involve cutting trees or painting trim or weed-eating brush. We move logs, plant flowers and sweep the porches.
Sometimes we work so late that it's dark outside before we slip in the house and eat supper. By then we are usually tired, dirty, hot and hungry. But our day was full and chores were finished. Amazing how hard work can make you feel so good! I decided to let it go. Ignore the guilt and live my life. 
It fits us well.

Vinegar chips, anyone?