Saturday, June 25, 2016

.....and then she flew away

A couple of years ago for Mother's Day, Gerry surprised me with these crazy chickens. They have become our constant source of entertainment and they are fitting in nicely here at our new place. They have started following Gerry everywhere he goes, and if he calls them, "come on girls", they come running. Who would have ever thought chickens could be so great.

This year for Fathers Day, I got Gerry two blueberry bushes, and I flew Wesley home from California as a surprise! She could only stay the week but it was a great week. Much too short a visit, but we squeezed a lot in. We went to a local garden store and bought a bunch of flowers for planting, since she has this new love for plants. She went one day and helped me reset a store, since I still had to work some this week. We cooked great meals, watched TV at night, ate popcorn, talked, laughed, cried, she visited her mentor/teacher at her old high school. Her mind is full and many decisions will probably be made in the coming months. She left with promises to be back soon, and I believe she just might be.

We continue to unpack, repair, build shelves, plant, garden, explore, and discover here in our new home. We were so happy to share our new place with Wesley and she will always have a home here with us if she needs/wants it.

We took her out for breakfast this morning and then said goodbye at the airport. Always the hardest thing, but at least I have stopped crying every time she leaves! I don't have a lot of photos, I tried to refrain from pointing the camera at her constantly. Poor girl, thats how she grew up.

I am in awe of my child. She has fears and anxiety, she is seeking her path, but she moves on bravely and with strength in her heart. Some days her face is so full of her doubts, but it still shines so bright. I hope her journey though this life will be easier as she finds herself and finds the thing that will fit with her many talents.  My brave beautiful girl..... I do love that child!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Home, at last

 We are slowly settling in to our new house. This past six months have been something of a blur for me. This was a hard won house, but worth every sleepless night, every tear, every angry outburst. Its our home. This is the first house I have lived in that has felt like me. Other houses we have lived in have been nice enough, but they never fit me. This one fits like an old pair of favorite jeans. Gerry and I have been a united force, battling everything that got thrown at us, and basically just holding each other up through it all. Amazingly, we never had one argument. We just fought the good fight for what we wanted.

This is my view as I pull out of the driveway. Our neighbor across the street, with their geese and their horses and a beautiful little pond.

 I found this Roy Rogers print in an antique store the other day. He was my hero growing up. I got up every Saturday morning and rode my broomstick horse into the den to watch his show, while my mom slept and my dad was who know where....  I didn't realize how connected I felt to western things until I started to unpack all my books. So many books about the west, Native Americans, ghost towns, decorating books by Mary Emmerling. I love the west, the way it used to be in the old spaghetti westerns.

 Gerry found this old wash stand in the woods, the previous owner left all this tack hanging in the barn.  I love finding treasure!

This is my new friend, my neighbor.  I can't remember her name, but she greets me every evening when I walk down the drive to get the mail.

I brought out some old friends. My barns are fitting in nicely here.

The other day, after a long day of unpacking and moving things around, I sat down in this chair in this beautiful sunlight and actually read a chapter in a book. When was the last time I did something so restful? It felt amazing, just sitting there and reading. This is the house we will retire in. One day, my days will be filled with sitting and reading. What a day that will be!

Gerry's drums have been packed away for years. We made a music room out of one of the upstairs bedrooms. Wesley's keyboard, guitars, amps, and many drums. Finally room for all of our toys!

I have my loom set up, slowly hauling crates and crates of books upstairs. Yesterday I worked on unpacking art supplies. More old friends....

The kitchen is an absolute joy to cook in. The gas stove cooks better than any I have ever had, the space is small but efficient, and I love cooking in it. We are working in the yard and house every hour that we have beyond our other work, and we stop around 8pm to grab a quick dinner, watch a little Netflix and then collapse in bed. A good kind of tired, finally.

Yesterday I washed all of our sheets and hung them on the line to dry. Is there anything better than crawling into bed at night with the smell of line dried sheets? I looked out from the back porch at the scene. Sheets blowing gently with the breeze, Gerry planting sweet peppers and blueberry bushes that I got him for Father's Day, the chickens following our new rooster around, the cat lounging on the steps, the faint sound of a horse whinny in the distance, and all was right with my world. At last.

We have a start on a garden. Gerry has worked to do some repairs on the raised beds. We got some tomato and pepper starts in the ground and planted some basil and some flowers. Nothing too ambitious, it is mid June, after all. Wait.... where did summer go so fast!?

The chickens love their new coop, perks of working for a company that sell buildings. I got a sweet deal on this one.

I need some rockers for the front porch, for days when there are no more boxes to unpack.
I realized last night as I sat out in the yard, that I am happy. I haven't been happy in a very long time. The sadness of Wesley's move to California, the stress of selling our house, trying to buy three other houses that we lost, finally finding this house, then almost losing it. Having a new, very difficult job. Its taken its toll. I suffered health problems from it all and I'm sure there was some depression there. But there was no time to wallow in it, just get up, and soldier on. This was the reward for all of it. The bright light at the end of the dark tunnel I wandered in for almost a year. This is a new beginning. This is good

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Epic move

It's hard to believe I am actually saying this, but we have moved and are settling in to our new home! Whew, this was one hard earned house. We started this process with the listing of our old house back in October, and tomorrow the final papers will be signed. Funds have been transferred from the sale of our old house and we close on the new one tomorrow. The seller was kind enough to let us move in this weekend prior to closing. So we packed up on Thursday and here we are. For the first time, last night we walked around in the yard and accepted the fact that this is our new house, and we are in utter disbelief that it has finally happened!

We hired Two Men and a Truck to move us. This is the third time this company has moved us and its always a pleasure. Their staff is professional, friendly and for us they have always been funny and seem to really enjoy what they are doing. It makes things so much better when people are handling your grandmother's heirlooms if you feel like they care. And they are pretty affordable.

I didn't even have to take my loom apart, they just wrapped it and handled it with care, and it arrived all in one piece.

I walked into our empty house for the last time and my heart began to beat a little faster. So many memories in this house, but it was really time to go. There were no tears, just a little lump in my throat and then it was gone.

 I have moved with a one year old, I have moved with two dogs, a bird and this cat in my car, I have moved in a tiny Volkswagon, but moving with this cat is the worst. She howls the entire time. Sometimes she craps, sometimes she vomits, sometimes she does both. I have tried putting her in a carrier, in a box, and this time I just put a milk crate over her in the front seat. And she proceeded to get her head stuck while she howled. If you saw my instagram, you know what I'm talking about!

I finally got her unstuck and let her just roam around in the car. All the while going 65 mph down I40.
She is about 16 years old, and I was afraid she might have a heart attack or something. But she survived and has explored every inch of the house. She seems content.

We went back for the chickens the next day because the coop I ordered from my company hasn't arrived yet, and we left them in their old coop for one more day. This is also epic, moving chickens, although they handled it better than the cat. Until we got to our new house and they met the neighbor's rooster, who apparently thinks he lives with us....

This is a pretty cool rooster. Our chicks freaked out when we let them out of the car. He didn't really attack them, but he wanted to get to know them, if you know what I'm saying. Etta, my more docile chicken, kinda the mother hen, is smitten. She thinks he's her boyfriend. He comes around here at 6am and starts cock a doodling. I hated this at our old house with the mean old rooster that lived next door, but for some reason I don't mind this guy. I got up, fixed myself a cup of tea, and went out in the yard to watch our chickens figure this out. He is like a border collie with some sheep. He herds them around but in a gentle way. He isn't aggressive and seems to really think this is his job, to look after my girls. Its so fun to sit on the porch and watch this.

I feel very blessed, relieved, exhausted, and I wish more than anything that Wesley was here to enjoy this with us. This house is amazing and I still can't believe it is ours. I'l post some fotos once I get some made. We have unpacked about a third of our stuff. Today we tackle the pod, ugh.....
But we are home at last.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Its Happening....

Today is my 31st anniversary. Gerry and I have been on a long crazy journey together and today is probably the craziest anniversary to date. We used to go on vacation every June 1. Then we had Wesley and had to wait for school to get out. Last year we spent our vacation in the mountains in a log cabin rental.

Today we are packing up our cars and taking some stuff to our own log cabin, our new house. We haven't closed yet, can't stay there but the seller is allowing us to move stuff in. We close next week. Our old house closes tomorrow. Its happening people. Two days ago we weren't sure when we would get to start moving and then I got home from work early today and Gerry was loading up the car.

Here we go!!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

I'm good

Wesley sent me this photo on her birthday. She has become fascinated with horses lately and for her birthday she wanted a horseback ride.  We sent money for her birthday this year so she could have a nice weekend on the beach. She found a ranch at Bodega Bay, found a sweet AirB&B and had a festive 23rd birthday. The first one we have not celebrated with her. Somehow we survived :)

We are indeed surviving a lot these days. The house thing continues to be a pain in our ass. We signed preliminary closing papers on our old house Thursday. The buyers however do not want to rent back to us while we wait to close on our new house, it would have been three days. They wanted to pay for us to live in a hotel while we waited to close. Uh, no thanks, I already live in hotels. So we opted to move their closing day. Another delay. I won't believe we are moving until I turn that key in the lock! We were supposed to be in our new house yesterday, loan delays.... it just never ends.

But I'm good. I had a great week at work, I have such an intuitive thing for retail, I watch shoppers in our stores, I understand inventory, I get visual presentation and I am taking a lot of initiative to introduce new ideas for our stores. I think I will make some positive changes for these stores. I have been feeling kinda smart these days, haha! I even looked at my loom this morning and thought about weaving something. Soon.........

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

This is my life now

One year ago my life was so different. Wesley was living with us, I was working at a beautiful garden store, a job I loved and did well. All was good, life was in balance. We rented a cabin in the mountains around this time and had a quiet vacation. Bliss.

Now I spend many nights in a hotel room. I have been in a Richmond Va hotel room for three nights now. I brought my own food, even popcorn for the microwave, and this is my little world. Hotel rooms and my car are where I live at least three days of the week. The other night I was in Tennessee, had grabbed a salad for supper. It was raining steady, chilly and gray outside. I just sat in my car in the parking lot and ate my supper in my car. It might sound dreary, but actually it was quiet and peaceful and a moment away from everybody. I just sat and watched the rain. A refuge from the storm I'm living in right now. We still don't know when/if we are moving. Story for another day.....

My car is piled with tools, luggage, computer, camera, cooler, bag of food, coat, shoes, stuff for work. Shelves, slat wall hooks, banners, merchandising stuff.

Driving at night makes me bleary. The view from most of my rooms is a parking lot or a fast food place off the interstate.

I am in the middle of several big renovations. We gutted this poor building. Windows were falling out, holes in the walls clear through, nasty carpet. This company has been so busy making money, they forgot to look around and see what needed to be reinvested in the properties. Its a big mess. I am dirty and tired most all the time. But slowly seeing amazing results.

I'm hanging out most days with a bunch of seriously hard working good ol' southern boys. They sweat and they get dirty. And they actually make really good money. They say yes ma'm, they hold doors for me, they don't curse around me until they hear me get mad or frustrated, then they go ahead.... its funny. They are so polite, so southern. Nice to be around.

This is Chapel. He has been with this company for 40 years. He travels as one of the repair crew. Hardest worker, hardly ever says a word. Smokes a bunch of cigarettes.

Check out that wall paneling. Remember that stuff? We had it in our den when I was a kid, my mom was so proud of it when we put it up. It's gone now from this store. White slat wall replaced the useless paneling.

I'm trying to help the stores get a handle on inventory replenishment. I keep getting projects dropped in my lap that I really didn't know were a part of this job..... I fill out and place reorder tags on every single item in the store before I leave or I find the least productive employee and give them something to do :)

This was a how my car looked on my way to a remodel in Eastern NC. last week. My truck is finally in, but they are putting artwork on it. Cannot even imagine what I am going to be driving down the road! But it will nice to rest my car. I have put 7000 miles on it in 3 months, whew!

I'm also trying to get stores to understand that if product is in their warehouse, customers are probably not going to see it. I pulled a bunch of stuff today in the Richmond Va store. Another not what I signed on for..... 

This job pushes me out of my comfort zone most days. I have been asked to design some store fixtures. I am included in designing marketing items. My opinion is asked for frequently and is often followed up on. I am learning about things I didn't know existed. Its hard every day. But somehow rewarding many days. And the people are just so great, most anyway. There are a couple of rotten apples, but aren't there always?

I look forward to a time when I have a crew that goes out and does this work and I just coordinate it. My body sure is getting strong again though! I have no more arm pain, my upper body can lift more weight than last year, legs are stronger. Back aches. Fingers hurt. Feet hurt.

We learn, we grow, we get stronger....

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Self loathing....

Mother's Day started my week off on a really bad path of wallowing in self pity, and the week has been a tough one. Six hours in the car on Mother's Day, a nursing home visit, packed that night and left first thing on Monday. Two store remodels and three others to just add some finishing touches. Monday I left the house at 8am and worked in New Bern until 1am the next day. Got a few hours sleep and back at the store bright and early to finish up, then drove to Jacksonville, then Goldsboro, then Wilson. This is not sustainable..... 

But I arrived home last night to a very sweet Mothers Day card from Wesley. Its the littlest things that mean the most sometimes..... I was mean to her on Mothers Day, feeling all sorry for myself, then had a big wallow of self loathing when I got this card. I just don't do commercial holidays very well. And those around me suffer..... sometimes I'm just not that great a mom.... sigh.