Monday, June 30, 2014

Saving Things for Good

Erma Bombeck once listed some of her regrets.  Among them was the line:

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

The line has stuck with me, and it comes back to me when I find something ruined because I was saving it for good.

The latest was a cute little bottle of Burt's Bees lotion my daughter got for me a couple of years ago.  Why didn't I use it right away?  I don't know.  I thought I had to use up my regular lotion first.  I thought I needed to save it for something special.

Turns out all I saved it for was a trash can.  By the time I got to the bottle to open it, the mixture had congealed and I didn't get to use it at all.

I hate it when I do this.  When, exactly, do I think I will enjoy the special things that surround me if I don't enjoy them now?  Is there some just-around-the-corner tomorrow where the stars will align and I will feel I have worked hard enough to use the special instead of contenting myself with the everyday?

It's OK to eat the last of the raspberries - I don't have to save them for tomorrow; they'll be bad by then anyhow.  Likewise the chocolate.  (OK.  It'll last longer than the raspberries, but still.  How many times have I gone to the cupboard to find a delicious piece of chocolate gone gray and stale because I was saving it...)

It's OK to dip into my savings because my project is over budget.  Hoarded wealth benefits no one (that was a quote earlier this week - I looked for it, but couldn't find it again...)

It's OK to use the little bottle of lotion.  If it's gone, it's gone.  At least I would have enjoyed it.  And if I really like it, it's OK to buy more.

It's OK to treat me as if I'm special.  As if I deserve to be treated now and again.  Or even every day.

I'm going to try harder to enjoy the beauty around me.  All of the days, not just the predetermined special ones.  I know that more days could be special if I'd let them.

I will try.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Not Exactly the Ritz!

I'm deep in the slog part of my project.

It seems like I've been living in the midst of dust and debris for about a decade (I only exaggerate a little), but it's still not worth cleaning the house because we'll just make another mess within a day or two.

We've hauled load after load to the dump, but there's still more to be hauled.  (OK - I actually went with Joe to the dump with exactly one load; he's taken the rest himself.  But I have helped load them all onto the truck, if that counts for anything!)

The tear out is almost complete; the last part to go will be the bathroom walls, which will be gone sometime this week.

There's a lot left to do, and nothing, but nothing is complete.  Nor is it ready to be completed.

Living here right now is a bit of an adventure.

I still have a sink in the kitchen, and the microwave and fridge in the dining room work just dandy.

I may not have a bathroom upstairs, but we've cobbled together the necessary facilities in the basement.  Admittedly, there's not a ton of privacy down there, but we're careful to check what the basement occupant is up to before heading down the stairs.

I can't turn the air conditioner on - there are too many holes in the walls and it would be unable to keep up with the airflow.  Fortunately for me, the weather's been unseasonably rainy and cool.

This weekend's priority will be to insulate the walls; according to the forecast, I'm about to the end of my cool-weather grace period.  I've scheduled the furnace company to come out next Thursday to run the new ducts and move the air conditioner to its permanent home.

As hard as it is to see right now, we are making progress.  The framing carpenter is done, and the house is weatherproof.  I finally quit dithering and ordered all the tile, which got delivered today.  My brother will be back next week to work on the plumbing.

I'm still hoping I'll have a semblance of order here by the end of the summer.  It'll take a bit longer than I'd planned, since I'll need to finish building my kitchen cabinets without Ron's help, but I'll get there.

One step at a time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Remodeling Break

Last weekend, I interrupted my regularly scheduled work on the house with a trip to Hastings, Nebraska.

My older brother, who has always loved Porsches, has decided to indulge his midlife crisis by racing a perfectly good, quite expensive car around in circles with other people afflicted by the same excess of money and a need for speed.

He invited us to come watch him race in Hastings this past weekend.  When you start racing, they put an X on the back of your car; sort of a 'Student Driver' sign for race drivers.  You get to take the X off after you've successfully completed four races without incident.  He'd completed two races last year, this set was to be the one where he graduated.

Curious to get a taste of a Porsche club driver's life, the kids (Kate and the baby are here) and I piled into the car and made the six hour drive after work last Friday night.

We got to the track in time on Saturday morning to watch his first practice run.  I was catching up on the latest family news with his wife and kinda-sorta watching him drive when the cars on the track all came to a halt.  You could see smoke off at the far end of the track - right about where Michael had been driving.

We watched anxiously for his car to pull off with the others, but didn't see it.  We COULD see the white roof of the car that was burning; the same color as his car.  Since the waiting ambulance didn't take off, we weren't panicked, but at the same time...

Sure enough, when his car came off the track, it was on the back of a tow truck.  Once off the track, they pulled it over to the side and doused it with water good to make sure the fire was out.  It turns out he'd taken a turn wrong, run onto the grass, got a load of alfalfa stuck under the car and the heat of the engine set fire to the hay.

I was quite sad.  We'd driven a long ways to see him reach for a dream, only to see it go up in smoke.  Little did I know.  They brought the car back to his spot, and within a few minutes he had all four tires off.  He and Joe climbed under the car to pull out all the packed grass; his wife wiped the extinguisher residue off the exterior.  By the time his first race started 90 minutes later, the car was ready to go.  I was impressed.

A couple of hours later, he had his two races tucked safely under his belt.  Relaxing in the condo after the event, he was tired, but obviously high on his well-earned achievement.  Yea, Michael!

(I'm SO glad we took the time to make the trip...)