Monday, July 30, 2012

The Plan of Attack

This week is a big week.  It's finally here - The World's Longest Yard Sale.  My Man has been eagerly awaiting for this week all.year.long.  Most of you know that he sells on Ebay to support us, so this big huge 690 mile long yard sale that spans all the way from Michigan to Alabama is like his winter harvest, and it just happens that the highway that it runs along is only ten miles from our mountaintop paradise.

He has been working extra hard these last few weeks, between working on the mobile, putting in extra hours on Ebay, and all his normal man duties, he has been burning the candle at both ends.  Even though I know that I am about to become a yard sale widow for the week, I am in full support of My Man spending all of his waking hours trudging up and down highway 127 in search of awesome deals bought for pennies on the dollar that hold a high resale value.

If My Man has a hobby that he loves and is good at - this is it.  He has the knowledge, ability and drive to spend countless hours baking in the hot southern sun digging through what looks like mostly trash to me, only to pull out some jem of a find and then hagger down the seller on price.  I say he is addicted - he can never, ever pass up a yard sale.  No matter how trashy looking it is, no matter how many pieces of mismatched, stained Tupperware and raggedy clothes lay in the front yard he still wants to get out and just check to make sure there isn't anything good.  I make fun of him.  I tell him that I can see him start to itch like a crack addict in need of a fix every time he sees a neon colored yard sale sign.

I know he can hardly stand waiting for the official start day on Thursday.  He is convinced there are deals to be had all along highway 127 all.this.week.  This morning I could see the pain and conflict in his eyes as he talked about all the Ebay things he had to pack and ship today, so I offered to go scout it out for him and report back.

There really wasn't much to report: only a few sellers were set up this afternoon and they were pretty spread out.  There were maybe three to five sales every mile or two, but in another day or two the highway will be nothing but sale-after-sale all right on top of each other.

While I was in town I picked up drinks and bags of ice along with snacks and lunch meat, so that My Man won't run the risk of falling over mid treasure hunting from starvation or dehydration.  He was thankful for my report and provisions. 

In the meantime, I'm chomping at the bit to get moved out of our little tin can, so My Man got the hallway floor and wall fixed.
 And Columbus and Einstein fixed the floor in the second bedroom.
 They even started to put together the bunk beds for the girls, but doing it by flashlight wasn't working for them, so that will have to wait till morning.

Now I am all set to finish painting the hall and bedroom while My Man is gone for the week.  I'm happy that everything worked out so well.  I'm happy that My Man can do what he needs and loves to do, and I still feel like things are moving forward on the new mobile - our plan actually worked this time.  By the time he gets done this week he will have to take a few days to get caught up on Ebay stuff, and he will need to list a few items to have some money coming in, but then we hope that he can focus on the new mobile and we can get moved in soon. 

Left on the list to do, aside from painting the hall and second bedroom -

Carpet the second bedroom.

Fix the floor in front of the front door, laundry room, our bedroom and bathroom. 

Paint our bedroom.

And then there are the issues of power and hopefully water.  I try not to get ahead of myself on the water issue, but it's been months since I've had an actual real live shower, so I can't help but to imagine running water coming from those shower heads.

I think that's it - I think we're getting that close to being done:)

I Wait

Oversharing.  It's something I worry about doing here.  Always.  At times I chew my thoughts until there is no taste left.  Do I write it or not?  I started this blog for me, for us, and then all of you showed up.  Such a sweet surprise that so many people would care.  That you take the time to read and leave comments.  I always want the truth - to hear it and to tell it.  Truth matters.  And so does privacy.

I feel blocked.  I choke on my thoughts.  My feelings swirl inside of me, round and round they rotate, until they form a tornado.  I want.  I want to free them.  I want make a place to set them and leave them.  And I know no other way than to write.  Even if you are here.  Even if it is oversharing.  Tonight, I pretend you are not here.

A little over two weeks ago I took a test and found out I was pregnant.  Was. Past tense.  It's been a long week.  You may wonder why I was pregnant, not as in how it happened, but why we allowed it to happen.  This is why I pretend you are not here.  I think of that evening with my neighbor - when I felt no fear, and I try to muster up that same bravery for this.  I know what some people think, don't think we haven't heard the words said, or even thought (some of) them ourselves at times. 

There is a thick and bold line that separates unplanned and unwanted for us.


These english words that we speak and write.  So meaningless by themselves.  I wonder why I can't just leave them unstrung together in the pattern that follows.  I want to leave them lay alone and safe between the cover of a book in alphabetical order.  These words, in this order, I struggle to lay them to rest.

I sit in the waiting room for my turn to confirm and start prenatal care.  There is a woman with a one week old baby waiting too.  She fawns over him, so proud she glows, as the other pregnant women steal little peeks of his sweet face in eager anticipation of their own.  I am one of them, and in such undeserving vanity I think I'm going to have one of those.  I know better by now than to let my heart get ahead of reality, but still, I didn't mind my place.

I sit on a table covered in paper with a sheet draped over my waist, naked from the waist down.  So fearless.  It's been two days since I've taken a test, but the last ones I took were so bright, like a shooting star in the night sky, that I expect nothing but more wishes coming true.  Positive, but faint the doctor says, and I'm slapped right back into reality with those three small words.  I go through the motions of looking calm and strong.  I've been here before.  I'm no rookie.  I don't want to be one of those women who cries and flips out.  Not on the outside, anyway.  They take blood for a test and tell me to go home and wait. 

I fumble my way through town errands and head for home.  My mind, it thinks so many thoughts.  My heart, it feels so many feelings.  I start to wonder; if I could take all of my losses and place them in a receiving blanket, would there be, when I pulled back the corner, a new baby looking back at me?  I start to cry but I stop myself, and then I calculate the miles between where I'm at and home.  Do I have enough time to purge this kind of emotional unravelling and then pull myself back together again before I get home?

They told me to wait.  Wait for another test in two days.  Wait for the results of both tests in three days.  They didn't tell me to wait for the blood to come, but I know they thought it.  And so I wait for that too.

I walk in the door doing my best impression as my normal self.  The kids don't know.  We learned six pregnancies ago that no longer did a positive test guarantee a baby in nine months.  We learned that fertility can come to an abrupt end, like when an egg unexpectedly slips out of your hand and lands on the floor.  It lays there with its insides slowly spreading out over its own cracked shell.  It's messy and hard to clean up.  Almost impossible to ever get all of the membrane in one swipe because no matter how much you try to scoop it up more inevitably spills out and gets away from you.  Little by little you get it all, eventually.

I waiver in my impression of myself.  I can't hold it all in.  I can't hold it all together.  Not this.  Not this time.  Not again. 

I clean the refrigerator, because it needs it.  Because I need it.  I need something mindless, yet useful, to do.  Tiny house, so full of life, jelly jars smeared with fingerprints and multiples of this and that cover every flat surface.  Normally, I would scold them for having two jars of the same thing open, but not today.  Today, I just keep cleaning.  And waiting. 

One thing leads to another and it is discovered that it is wet under the kitchen table.  Someone spilled a drink and it dripped between the cracks, I say.  And then they tell me there's something nasty under there.  Finally, I tear myself away from my mindless task to look.  The rug that hides the ugly stained carpet underneath the table, both are soaking wet.  The air conditioner above the table is leaking into the house - all over the floor, and has been for sometime now, apparently.

Be careful what you wish for, I tell myself.  I have more mindlessness now than I know what to do with.  Milk crates of extra food are stored under the table, they grow things and provide shelter for other things to grow under them.  It's a freaking petri dish of nasty in this dark place that has an ample supply of food, water and heat.  I look out the window at the new mobile twenty feet away, and I think it sits there dangling like a carrot in front of a starving horse.

We put away school work to tackle the epic task at hand.   I have half the refrigerator cleaned and now a toxic mess to deal with.  Kids rally.  Columbus organizes the rug removal.  My Man and I ponder the dripping air conditioner and then he tells me just throw out the food.  I can't.  I won't - it's hundreds of dollars worth of food.  We're the people that get a 10% off coupon from the post office for Lowe's every time we go there.  I print off multiple 40% off coupons for Hobby Lobby for birthday shopping, or $5.00 off at our favorite grocery store that we go to once every couple of months.  Even in my distressed state stretching a penny is king.  Nasty or not, I will salvage what I can.  He rolls his eyes at me and the jokes start.  Horrible mess turns into a stand up comedy routine.  We laugh as we take turns being clever about our dilemma. 

This moment.  So raw.  So frustrating.  So real.  So much love.  We muddle through.  We regroup.  We pull tight.  We fix it.  We clean it up.  We move on.  I wait.

Aimless for days.  I wait.  I don't care, or I only care as much as I have to.  I want to take the unrest that is in me and lay it out.  Where I can see it.  Touch it.  Sort it and find a good place to keep it that's not inside of me.  My thoughts run in circles.  Over and over I think the same things.  Over and over I reach for answers that aren't there. 

I can only take so much.  I wait.  I've taken more tests and the wishing on a bright star lines are lighter, until I can hardly even see them all.  It's day three, so I wait for the phone to ring.  I wait for them to tell me what my body has not.  I need to hear it.  I need to hear that there is no hope.  I need them to cut the cord as though I have given birth and the time has come to separate.

They call a day late, but by then I know.  By then my body has told me the answer.  That's all I needed.  That's all I wanted, out of my available options, anyway.  The truth without a shadow of doubt.

Now I can go back to work.  Now I can tackle the tasks at hand.  I paint and get lost in the repetitive brush strokes.  Broken.  I feel broken.  Paint.  I can paint.  I can make old new again.  I sit inside or her and I think of what lies ahead for us.  I imagine that she loves me back and if she were real she would hold me.  I feel safe inside of her.  She is not broken like me. 

I wait to heal.  I wait to go back to the doctor and discuss my options.  I count my blessing. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. So many of them to count it feels greedy to mourn this.  I feel guilty.  Guilty for always believing there is room for one more.  Guilty for wanting more than my fair share. 

I watch Baby Man.  He flickers between baby and toddler now.  He shows off new skills and beams with pride while he makes sure we are watching him.  He comes back to me and he wants to nurse, but then he's off again, growing up.  I can still see the baby in his face and hands, but I know not for much longer.  So many losses to get to him.  So much pain.  I tell My Man he was worth it, but that I don't know if I can do it again.  He agrees. 

I wait for answers when I'm not sure there are any.  I wait for the strength to make the choice to give up all hope and move on, and find peace with that choice.  Like a superstitious child I wait for there to be a sign that makes this choice crystal clear and without doubt.  I wait to accept that maybe there really is no choice in this matter at all.  I wait for things I do not even know I am waiting for. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Kitchen Cabinets D.O.N.E.

This week, I finally got all of the kitchen cabinets painted and then distressed - here are the before and after pictures.....
Maybe not a huge difference between the pictures.  In the after pics the green just isn't as bright - in real life you can see some wood grain and more of the pits and cracks in the wood.  We like the look, and like I said before - will ten kids running around I won't be stressing over who puts the first ding in my freshly painted cabinets.

I soaked all of the hardware in TSP and then I used steel wool and a toothbrush to get about thirty years of yucky off of them.....they came out nice, actually, and they have an aged look that matches the cabinets well.
 In case anyone wants to know, all I did for this look was:

1) clean the cabinets with T.S.P.
2) prime with Kilz
3) slap on one coat if paint, and when I say slap on I pretty much mean it - you don't want a perfect and even coat, I even painted the hinges.
4) use some sandpaper to take some paint off along the corners and edges - where ever looks good to you.  I didn't do very much on these cabinets - I couldn't find the sandpaper that I bought and the kids were only able to scrounge up one sheet of it for me.
5) wipe on some Minwax - just do as much or as little that looks good to you.

half distressed - half not

I've always got to leave a little love signature for My Man.  I carved this heart with the infinity symbol inside of it on the face of one of the cabinets:)

One Room D.O.N.E.

Woot - we got one room done, so what if it just happens to be the smallest room in the house - it's d.o.n.e.!!  I've lost track of what has been done on what day - this week has been all kinds of a mess.

The floor got fixed.

Laying the carpet.

All done
This will be our two oldest girls room - they are impatiently waiting for the glue to dry so that they can move in - they have some space!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

From the Garden

The squash and zucchini are really starting to come in.

Our first tomato

The first of the corn

I just cleaned the refrigerator this week, so you can imagine my reaction to finding someones dirty onion harvest stashed in the vegetable drawer!

After the guilty person cleaned it out....I think he's got a little more work to do.

This may or may not be the guilty person removing his dirty onions.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Just a Picture Update

The new gutters.  Naturally, we haven't had a good rain since we put them up, but I'm sure it won't be too long before we get to test them out and see if they keep our new lady dry inside.

New glass

Starting on the floors.

A couple of the kids wanted to sleep in the new mobile.  Why not, I thought.

And then the next thing I knew they had moved  We moved a ton of stuff out of the old mobile to make some extra room.

In light of a possible visit from one government agency or another, we figured it would be a good idea to unblock this door and have two legal fire exits.  Just getting the set of bunk beds out of the "living room" makes the place feel huge....the only draw back is the lack of seating now, but hopefully we will be all moved and settled soon.

The Rose shares her birthday paints with brothers.

Baby Man hanging out with the big boys.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Say Something

In my silence life on the mountaintop still rattles on in its varying degree's of highs and lows.  Sometimes, I don't know exactly what to say or not to say - so just to be safe I say nothing at all. 

My Man and Columbus got the new gutters on the mobile.  I think they have just a few little things to do and then they will start on the inside floors.  I've not done another thing in there since I last posted. 

Life pulls in so many directions all at once.  When it gets to be too much it's hard to know where to start.  I feel torn between two places that are divided by a mere twenty feet.  Our life in the here and now tells me that school will start in a few weeks and I am not ready.  New curriculum sits in a pile waiting to be planned for next year.  Neat pages that are crisp and clean, and filled with knowledge that won't teach itself, make me question if I bit off more than I can chew.  Our schedule and chores are all shades of a mess.  I wait to implement a new plan until the move is over, in the mean time there is more corner cutting than normal.

On the other side there is a home that waits to be made and filled with our life.  I want it to be our sole focus.  I want to work on it, and only it, until it is all done and we are finally settled in.  Life doesn't work that way, but it doesn't stop her from teasing me and calling out to come inside and imagine how grand it will be to finally dwell within her.

The neighbor that I broke the rules with came to pay me a visit the other night.  As I stood in my garden he rode up on his four wheeler and took long slow dramatic drags off his cigarette and said nothing as I attempted to be neighborly and ask how he was and then if he was enjoying the cooler temperatures. 

When he finally found his voice he spoke of petty complaints and attempted to shame me.  Seeing past the pettiness I mentioned my phone call over the screaming grandchild and his response to that was that he knew we didn't have a septic tank.

It took a second for it to sink in, just like it took a couple of attempts at small talk to realize that he wasn't just stopping by to say "hi."  After I pulled my jaw back up off the ground I clarified and asked if he was threatening me?  He looked me in the eye, shrugged his shoulders and turned his palms up towards the now darkening sky.

In this moment the thoughts in my head move fast - faster than I can keep up with.  My conscience and unconscious evaluate him and the situation - the level of threat, and my options.  My options - I don't feel like I have many.  If I were a man I would be tempted to take a step closer, so that we would be nose to nose, and he would feel my breath in his face when I told him to go shove it where the sun doesn't shine.  If I were a meek woman I would take my place and walk away with my tail between my legs in full submission.  But I am neither of those things, and in those few short seconds of decision making I decided that my best tactic was to show no fear

As the seconds ticked by and my thoughts and emotions began to untangle, memories buried deep in the past resurfaced, and I decided to not let the moment slip away.  I decided that when it was all said and done it wouldn't be with me filled with regret that I had just taken it.

What followed was the unleashing of a woman pushed to the edge one too many times.  Of course this man had no way of knowing what the last few years had held for me.  He had no way of knowing that I had already been laid prone on my own property and I wasn't about to go back to that position without a fight.  He had no way of knowing that in the few seconds that had just passed something inside of me snapped. 

There was no fear.  I wasn't afraid of what I looked like, or what I sounded like, or what words I used and who they might offend or how they might be taken.  I wasn't afraid of if I looked crazy or not.  In fact, by this time I figured crazy was my best strategy, so I just went with it.  Maybe I could make him think I was so crazy that it wouldn't be worth his while to pursue his grudge.  Most of all - I wasn't afraid of him. 

He had no way of knowing that I had already lost it all, a lifetimes worth of work and accomplishment - gone to pettiness and vindictiveness.  He had no way of knowing that somewhere in all of that loss I decided that life was too short to be lived in fear ever again.  He had no way of knowing that the mountaintop is our little piece of what is left over and any kind of threat - large or small - will trigger an epic reaction.

We yelled back and forth and I refused to back down.  Like all fires that burn too hot we burned ourselves out with all the yelling and finally walked away with nothing resolved other than we're both fighters. 

Today he rides by on his four wheeler and waves for the first time since I broke the rules. 

Go figure.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Today's Update

Picking up Columbus
Some brotherly love:)

Welcome home

All together again
 These pictures are from Wednesday night -

First coat of paint on the walls

The inside of all the cabinets are done

Even some paint in the laundry room

These pictures are from yesterday -

Putting on the second coat of wall paint

As it stands now we have some cutting-in to do along the bottom and tops of the walls, along the cabinets, the kitchen drawers need to be painted, and there are a couple of walls in the kitchen and laundry room that need a second coat of paint.  After that we have the rest of the hall to paint and the distressing to the cabinets to do - then I'm on hold till My Man gets the floors fixed.  He replaced some of the broken glass in windows yesterday.  We've decided to get gutters to help keep the water out.  When it rains the water just runs down the sides of the mobile - leaving us to wonder if some of the water damage is from water getting in through the walls, so today I'm off to get gutters.

Done enough to sit and see how it feels to hang out in her

Baby Man checking out his new view

Paint cans can be used as drums too

Exploring cabinets

Inside and out

Monday, July 16, 2012

End of Day Report

 My Man got the first coat of paint/sealer on the roof - hopefully this will take care of most of the leaks.

 After we went swimming and cleaned up I made dinner and then headed back over to paint some more.  I got the insides of the upper cabinets done.
 Since I will be distressing the cabinets I only have to put on one coat of paint - and it's doesn't even have to be a nice coat - which my tired of painting self  is very thankful for right now.
 My Man got the rest of the shelves put in the hutch tonight.

We're moving right along now:)