Monthly Archives: February, 2011

Life is Definitely Improving!

Front windows with sheetrock

I am so very lucky to have Leigh as my contractor!  She is awesome!  Yesterday turned into a nightmare with 11 hours of sheetrock installation!  On top of that, the guys did not clean up (as I’d heard Leigh and their boss discuss), they did not reconnect my washer/dryer, they played their boom box all day, maybe not really loudly but enough so it was bothersome when I was in my room, and a few other issues.  They finally left at nearly 7PM (and my regular readers know that I fold definitely by 5 and by 7 I am heading to bed!).  I was then left to clean up as best I could, try to find some dinner (ended up with a protein bar, apple, some sea crackers and a Righteously Raw chocolate bar because I couldn’t find an outlet that would do my toaster oven and a light!), and collapse into bed.

 I was totally overcome with it all.  The dirt and dust was enormous.  I just couldn’t cope with the clean up (and with allergies and asthma I am told I shouldn’t be), not to mention the task of keeping the pets out of so much unhealthy debris (which Poosa, bless her hungry heart, is as likely to eat as anything!).  Anyway, I was ready to call the whole thing off and just get the sheetrock primed and painted, but it looks so horrid now and I’ve put so much into this remodel that that thought just about broke my heart.

Sheetrock in the great room

I didn’t sleep, and along about 1AM I wrote Leigh an e-mail to let her know my thoughts and what had happened.  Then I took some medicine for my colon which was acting up (stress, strange food, who knows), and on the second dropper (I have to have the kids’ version because the adult version comes in gelatin caps which as a vegan, I don’t do) I swallowed wrong.  This started me coughing and I then couldn’t stop coughing for nearly 3 hours!  The only plus about that horrible situation was that dear sweet Sasha came over and crawled on my chest as I sat in bed trying to drink very hot tea with hopes that that would help.  Sasha and I got in lots of petting and I read more of May Sarton’s journal The House by the Sea which is really good!  Finally got to sleep around 4AM. Chauncey woke me at 7 so he and Poosa could go out, but they came right back and we all went back to sleep until Leigh called just ahead of 9AM, worried about everything I had reported.

Laundry, utilities, and very small closet

Turns out that what happened yesterday never should have happened.  Neither Leigh nor the guys’ boss had any reason to doubt that the guys were doing exactly as instructed and meanwhile, I didn’t know what the instructions were and just assumed they were told to finish the job.  Turns out that the guys were supposed to be gone by 5 and finish up on Monday and they were supposed to stop early enough to clean everything before they left.  Had that actually happened, it would all have been fine.  And the guys have always been really reliable about doing what they are told, so why yesterday it ran amok is anyone’s guess.  But Leigh and I talked and we are on exactly the same page.  She is determined to make this work for me.  From now on, the work week will be M-F, 9-5, period, end of discussion.  The last few weekends the roofers especially have asked for Saturdays and I’ve given in because it is roofing and it is winter.  I’m not even sure why the sheetrock got scheduled for Saturday, but it won’t be again.  And no more 7:30 or 8:00 starts.  If work doesn’t start until 9, then I can be sure I’m up, have at least made my breakfast shakes, maybe put my mid-morning soy yogurt and my lunchtime sprout/lettuce/tofu salad fixings outside my bedroom door since it is still quite cold, and get myself organized so that I don’t need to go into the construction zone.  Leigh picked me up an electric tea kettle (many thanks, Rose, for that brilliant suggestion!), so that I can have tea in my bedroom whenever I want.

Clean-up will happen at least once a day and maybe at lunch as well.  Leigh got clean tarps which we will put down at the end of the day once everything is cleaned so that the dogs, especially, have a clean surface to walk on.  Chauncey is getting very old and he thinks he has to come in the front door and I can’t chase him, especially in the dark, so this way he can walk through the construction area without bringing tons of dust with him.  And Thackeray, who was very quick to make his complaints known to Leigh this morning, will be able to wander at least on nights when the dust has settled a bit.  I kept all of us in the bedroom with a closed door last night because the air was thick with dust, but today it is much improved.

Broom closet on left, then 1/2 bath, and of course laundry

And we are going to try one round of mudding (and yes, Laurie, it is the hot mud you mentioned) and see how things look and how much sanding is needed.  I was having a massage today and noticed that in that building the walls actually have bumps or globs which I guess was the style in the past, and honestly, it looked kinda cool!  I like texture and swirls and I am not wedded to a totally smooth surface, so that will help also.  And I will be taping my door on my side so if I need to go out I can simply un-tape the door, go out, get whatever I need, return, and re-tape the door.  Leigh also put hooks on both sides of the door (there is no latch) so that I can latch it from either side to keep Chauncey especially from charging through when he shouldn’t. 

Kitchen area, closet, bedroom hallway, utility closet

In addition, Leigh got me fixed up with a three-way plug (I have tons of them, of course, but in storage!), so I now have two lamps and my toaster oven plugged in and I’m really looking forward to making my Sunshine Burger for dinner tonight–it isn’t fancy cooking, but I am taking care of myself, and I am fixing my own food, having taken back that “power” from swaneagle, and it is comforting and my colon likes it, so that makes it wonderful in my eyes.

Tomorrow is the start of another week and I am sure that it will be a much better week and I know I will get a break at the end of the week for my weekend, and that will help bunches.  So that is the update on this end.  Life is definitely looking much more possible!

Freedom and Restrictions

Foam insulation in the great room walls and ceiling
Access to my bedroom since last night is through here!

Today I have access, if in a very convoluted way through studs, to my kitchen and laundry so I am doing laundry and getting my meals and I even got my studio vacuumed so that feels better.  I think the worst of this is everyone telling me what I have to do.  It doesn’t matter that it is for my own good.  In fact, that actually makes it worse since that has been the story of my life.  

I was always told that others knew best (mostly my father) and that I was incapable of looking after myself so I would just have to do as I was told.  Then I internalized that and basically put my father into my head, again telling me what I could or couldn’t do.  This fact, added to my personality type (see last post), has made it so I’ve about reached the end of my rope.  I honestly don’t care about dust etc. nearly as much as I care about having freedom to make my own decisions and move unencumbered.

A flashlight was all the light I had last night.  It is
sitting on the sheet rock which has blocked my hallway.

So even though two guys are out in my construction zone putting up sheet rock at a fantastic rate, I am still out there, getting my laundry done (although I have to sort it in piles in my studio which makes it harder).  I have gotten tea whenever I want it, and my breakfast shakes and so forth.  It is challenging to get the laundry carried through the narrow stud space (which also holds the plumbing for the 1/2 bath toilet!), but I am managing.  I have found that I’m actually pleased about discovering inventive ways to accomplish my usual tasks–it inspires my creativity.

The foam insulation sure seems neater and nicer!

I’m not sure if I am ever again going to be able to handle having my bedroom door sealed.  That is just the last straw, and again, I know everyone’s intentions are well-meaning, but for me the cure is worse than the disease!  I will keep my door shut, and maybe someone can even devise some sort of gasket or strip on the other side so more dust is caught, but I need to have access to my kitchen and have the ability to come and go out the front door.  Yesterday when I had to hike through the snow to get from my bedroom to the front door was the crowning blow.  Of my four outside doors, only two of them are currently functional.  Therefore, I must have my bedroom door as a way to get from here to there inside the house, and I’ll decide if I think it is too dusty at any given moment to go through the door.  Thanks to Leigh’s brillance with the window cut in the bedroom door, I can look before I leap.  And I am trying to be sensible and minimize my time in the construction zone as I know that is healthier.

Front picture windows and foam insulation

On the plus side, I was able to manage a bucket shower again this morning since yesterday was very cold and then overnight it got way cold again, so my shower head is again frozen.  But I’m finding the bucket system isn’t too bad, and it allows me to have my outdoor shower so that is wonderful.  And I noticed last night that the furnace ran a ton less than it has since I lost insulation months ago!  It was a very graphic demonstration of the importance of insulation!  And now that I have insulation I don’t feel as guilty about having the furnace running (with so much heat loss), so I’ve set my thermostat back to 68!  It has been at 65 or even lower and that is just way too cold.  So there is progress and if I can just hold on, things will sort.  Leigh brought me a delicious dinner last night which she got at our nicest island restaurant, The Hardware Store, and today she arrived bearing a smoothie and delicious soup from Pure, another of our island eateries which I’ve been meaning to try–it is all vegan and organic–but somehow it has seemed too scary.  This way I got to sample their offerings in the comfort of my wonderfully warm home!

Construction Blues

Leigh cut a window in my bedroom door and then used
plastic on both sides so we can at least see out into the
construction zone, sort of like a prison window but it helps.

Only some bad photos today since I am not allowed in the construction zone during the insulation installation, but I’m writing anyway to try to sort why I’m doing so badly.  I actually don’t mind living in my little studio apartment (aka bedroom).  The 331 sq. ft. serves the 6 of us very well (I have two dogs and three cats).  But we don’t handle it well when access to the kitchen and front door are denied.  It is also hard on the cats not to be able to roam at night.  I have been borderline tears or in tears for two days and this phase of construction is going to go one for at least another two weeks!  I am ready to quit and say I’ll just live in my home the way it is.  

And this is the view we get!  Batting in the ceiling close
up (the non-cathedral ceiling), and the beginnings of
foam in the walls and cathedral ceiling.

The sheet rock was delivered this morning (at 7:15AM!!) and the installation of that starts tomorrow morning.  It almost had to be delayed because the insulation guys from yesterday, the batting insulation guys, installed the batting incorrectly, which would have meant that sheet rock couldn’t start until Monday.  Daryl, my wonderful plumber, and Leigh, best contractor in the world, and Jay, a wonderful carpenter, just pitched in and did the insulation batting correctly so that we are still on schedule.  I do have fantastic people helping me which makes me feel even worse that I’m so upset.  I wonder if I could get away with just having the sheet rock put up and maybe taped, but not mudded and just painted and go with it.

The batting in the ceiling up close was done wrong, so
Leigh, Daryl, and Jay pitched in and re-did it correctly.

My therapist mentioned yesterday in an e-mail that my personality type, #4 on the Enneagram Chart, has its natural melancholy triggered by days which act to constrict her or her movements, and so what I’m feeling is the melancholy being triggered.  However, understanding the cause and dealing with it are two different things, I’m finding.  I am definitely crabby and depressed, and I’m sure hard to deal with and it bothers me a lot that everyone, especially Leigh, is working so hard to facilitate this and make things easier to bear, while at the same time looking out for the health of me and my critters, but knowing this in my head and handling it in my heart are two very different things.  Right now I’d just as soon drop the entire project, even though I know (again in my head) that I have cool stuff coming–new colored appliances, wonderful kitchen cabinets, rainbow colored closets, etc.  I would have thought that would have been enough to help me through what I knew from the get-go was going to be the worst part of this project, but at the moment it isn’t.

Having a window out of my room does help and if I
didn’t need my kitchen so much I think I’d manage better.

And if I had my kitchen in here in my studio with everything else, then that too, would make things much better, but the fridge simply won’t fit through the door, and so I’m trapped, or that is how I feel.  I am grateful that I have my little studio and if I didn’t need a kitchen I could manage, but I miss my Insta-hot and endless cups of tea and having my sprout salad for lunch (today is a larabar, carrot sticks, and an apple).  And I know that no one forced me into this rebuilding of my home–I did it to myself.  None of this makes me feel any better.  People telling me that it is “only” for a short time and that two weeks isn’t that long doesn’t help either, even if they might be right.  And it will be better when the snow melts so that I could walk around the side of my home without worrying about stepping on plants or getting wet feet.  But none of that helps today.  Today just must be endured.  Sorry for being so down and sorry to all those who are working so hard to help me.  Wish I could be more grateful.  And the sun is even shining and my frozen shower head thawed itself out this morning, so that is good. 

Sasha is Home!

I am an Elizabethan queen!

TGIF!  I am so very grateful for Sasha and for how well she is healing!  There doesn’t seem to be any more bloody drool so I haven’t had to do that hot washcloth trick as of this morning.  She looks just as clean as she did after Nell cleaned her yesterday noon.  

Look at me go!  Just got home and I’m thrilled to be here!

Purple and pink stitches!  Can’t wait for my fur to grow back!

And Sasha is eating and drinking and doesn’t seem to mind the blue collar at all.  It is a big plus that the collar is soft, but even so, thinking in advance, I was so sure that this would all be much worse than it actually was and that Sasha would be totally miserable and hate me and the entire process, but just 48 hours after surgery she seems back to her old self and wants petting and so I am thrilled.  

We have certainly bought her some time just by removing the icky horrible mass and we have done it without totally upsetting her.  She was asleep, after all, for the really horrible part and she got to spend the night at Dr. Nell’s and so I’m sure she has lots of tales to tell Thackeray and Laoise about the cat and dogs she met there and the TV she watched with Dr. Nell.  The part Sasha likes least is the ride in the car, but she’s always going to have to do that. 

I am already eating dry food!

Otherwise, the actual surgery seems from what she is telling me to have been nothing more than a blip on the radar for a couple days and now things look good to her, or so it seems to me.  She looks very regal in her blue collar and I hope she realizes just how special she is getting to wear it and all.  

Don’t I look lovely!

Anyway, I am so thrilled to have her doing so well!  Oh, another fashion statement, Chip the surgeon gave her both pink and purple stitches so that is just totally cool also.  And now we can all look forward to a quiet weekend.  I don’t have anything on as the SAT Prep class I was teaching has finished, so we can all just chill for the entire weekend which seems a wonderful plan indeed.

I can even snuggle down with my collar.

I am soooo happy to be home!

Sasha is doing fantastically!

End of a Glorious Day!

I have been Daphne Ashling Purpus legally for one year today and what a day of celebration it has been!  It started with taking poor Sasha to the vets for her surgery.  I met with both Dr. Nell and the surgeon after they took a look at her and the surgeon was as confident as he could be that this was worth a shot.  He is one of the best veterinarian surgeons in the area and he is both gentle and kind and kept saying how absolutely sweet and lovely Sasha is.  And so I left her and hung onto my phone!  I came home and was overwhelmed by all the support I received from everyone who is working on my home!  They were all so supportive and understanding and I guess that’s why I write so often in my gratitude journal just how very lucky I am to have them in my life!  I went off for my massage and during that the surgeon called to let me know that Sasha had done very well indeed.  He was able to take out the major tumor nearly intact with some surrounding tissue even (he couldn’t take a lot of surrounding tissue or she’d loose mouth functionality).  He took out the enlarged lymph node and one other small growth so there will be three masses to have biopsyied.  He was not able to give her much of a lip, so her back molar will be visable and she will drool, but as if I care about that!  Sasha has always been a drooler anyway.  I just want her healthy and happy!  I felt a great surge of relief when the surgeon explained how pleased he was and that while this cancer only as a 10% survival rate for 1 year, he always treats his patients as if they are in that 10%.  And why shouldn’t she be–after all she is my cat and I’m in more 10%’s than you could shake a stick at (gay, left-handed, etc.).  At the end of the conversation the surgeon thanked me for giving Sasha a chance and then I knew for sure that I’d made the right decision for Sasha!  Later on in the afternoon Dr. Nell called to report and after chatting with her, we decided that it would be best for Sasha to have a quieter night than she can get in our chaos. So Dr. Nell, bless her wonderful heart, said she would take Sasha in a giant crate and keep her in her living room, so that she can monitor Sasha and give her pain meds as needed.  Sasha also has to wear a soft collar, so that is another challenge.  I am missing Sasha terribly, but I think this is best for Sasha.  Dr. Nell will call me in the morning and I’ll find out then if I can bring Sasha home tomorrow.  And if that weren’t enough for one day, I also got three skylights installed and they look fantastic.  I took off my wooden front door so that I just have the storm door and that wall in my living room is now about 95% glass and looks fantastic.  I promise to do photos soon.  The new glass front door won’t be installed until after sheet rocking, but this gives me an excellent notion of what everything will look like.  Both Daryl and Gary were here to work on plumbing and electric, respectively, and that is moving along.  Leigh found someone to do painting and that is most helpful.  And Jay framed out and installed the window for the 1/2 bath.  I’m sure other stuff happened as well, but I can’t think now.  I just found out that two of my haiku have been selected for publication in an anthology and I’m just inordinately pleased!  I have never been published and I’ve always been told I couldn’t write creatively, and so this is a real thrill for me!  And so this has been an extraordinary day.  My dear friend Anja just stopped by with some baked goods from Flying Apron in Seattle (vegan and gluten free) so I have lovely treats to go with my dinner and right now I’m just feeling so very lucky to have so many wonderful folks in my life, both in my home and on the internet where I’ve received many good wishes for Sasha.  Life is good.

Sasha’s Surgery Day

My wonderful 15 year old cat Sasha is now at the vets having surgery for her oral cancer and I am an absolute basket case.  I took her in at 8:30 and Sasha’s vet, Dr. Nell, and the surgeon both met with me after they looked at Sasha.  The surgeon isn’t sure if Sasha will be able to have a lip or much of a lip and she may drool a lot, but then she already does, so cosmetically we aren’t sure what is possible.  One lymph node is swollen, but the surgeon doesn’t know if that is a spread of the cancer or if it is infected, but it will be removed either way.  Both Dr. Nell and the surgeon felt that this was a good move for Sasha.  As the surgeon said, we can only make the best decision we can at the moment with the given data and down the road we may look back to say it was a great decision or it was an ok decision or it was a bad decision, but we can’t go backwards.  So with a last hug and kiss, I left my lovely Sasha in very capable hands and I am now hanging on to my cell phone with the volume turned way up, waiting.  Dr. Nell was also not sure if Sasha would be coming home this afternoon or not, so lots still to await, but Sasha is in very capable and loving hands.  The surgeon is very kind and kept saying how sweet Sasha is.  He is a gentle soul and one of the top ranked vet surgeons in the area so everything that can be done for Sasha is being done.

Last night Sasha gave me a real treat of sitting in my lap for over 2 hours!  She hasn’t done that since she had her wobbly turn two weeks ago and it meant so much to me and I hope also to her.  She crawled into my lap just before 9PM and by then I am normally in bed, but I wanted to stay up later for the cats anyway, since I had to pull all feeding dishes when I went to bed (if Sasha can’t eat then neither can anyone else!), and I was just thinking of going to bed when she jumped into my lap.  Well, needless to say, I stayed right where I was, and we snuggled for 2 hours before we both had to move.  It was very special and I’m hoping that Sasha was letting me know that she understands even if she won’t like what has to happen.  She gives so much love and joy to us all that I just have to hope this will help her have a longer high quality life.  Dr. Nell had said that her blood work etc. is that of a much younger cat and without this aggressive cancer Sasha probably would have lived to be 20 or even 25!  So she is a strong and sweet cat and I’m hoping the removal of this nasty mass will at least extend her life significantly.  In any case, she is having problems with the steroids which have kept things as well as they are, so something has to be done.  I ramble, but my thoughts are with Sasha, the beautiful black cat who came into our lives when my son, Eric, adopted her from the Phoenix Humane Society 13 years ago!  At that time Sasha was 2 but very ill and we didn’t even know if she would survive.  But Eric fell in love with her (who could help doing that?), and so he adopted her and the rest, as they say, is history.  Seems like a lifetime ago and Sasha and I have been through a lot since then.  She is very, very special.  Anyway, that’s it for now.  I’m attached to my cell phone and I will post updates along the way.

Honoring Our Own Pace!

I am realizing the vital importance of following one’s own rhythm and pace and honoring that.  I was chatting this morning with a friend who said that she was 40 before she realized how much her life was dominated by the pace of others and how important it is for her to get rid of that and move at the pace which works for her.  I told her she was lucky because I have only just started to figure that out and I’m 65!  I know that part of my need for a slower gentler pace is due to my age.  I ran too fast, pushing myself to be doing all the time, doing what others needed or what I thought they needed, until my adrenaline has simply run out.  And I realize that part of it is the season.  All of us need to remember that we are carbon based life forms and the seasonal changes happen to us as well and we too need time to reflect, what in some cultures is called “cave time.”  But a large part of it is my own natural rhythm.  And on this Valentine’s Day I think it is appropriate to remember that unless we honor ourselves, love ourselves, first and foremost, we are really incapable of loving anyone else.  A big part of my healing work surrounds this issue, that I need to respect and love myself, have compassion for myself, and learn who I truly am and what things work for me. 

And so recently I’ve changed my schedule so that it fits my rhythms and my pace.  I don’t have appointments before 10AM as I prefer a slower gentler start to the day.  I don’t want to be rushed as I get moving, doing my meditation (5 minutes, but it is helping), my yoga (5-10 minutes, but again it is working for me), sorting out the pets with litter box and food duty, tending to my sprouts, and now with all the construction, checking in with Leigh and whoever else is here to be sure I’m not needed.  I don’t like being rushed anymore–not sure I ever did, but rushing results in stress and tension and I don’t want that.  I am really at my best from 10-5, not being either a morning or an evening person and you know what–that is just fine.  I used to worry about not accomplishing much in any given day, but yesterday was wonderful, for example.  I did do stuff, but nothing that would look impressive on a chart or recounting, but it was a beautiful day, flowing as it would, in a very Daoist way and that was quite beautiful, in my opinion.

Therefore, I would encourage each of us not to get caught up in the rhythms of others or what others want.  Obviously that does happen to some degree for us all, and fortunately I have less of that than many–one of the benefits to living alone, but it is very important to understand when we are getting caught up in another’s pace and when we are honoring our own.  And if there is love and respect on all sides, then it seems to me there will be a way to honor the pace of each of us in our own way and work together for the good of all.

A Day of Rest!

I do seem to do remodel update blog posts on Sunday.  I suspect that is because lately that has been the only day I have had to myself and I am really enjoying the solitude.  I got to sleep in until after 9:30AM this morning, puttered around doing chores for me and my companions, had a wonderful sunny shower along about noon, and it is all quite fantastic!  I even managed to get some photos of my roof to show off the blue which has started going on.  Yesterday we had such a major wind/rain storm (which uncovered a couple leaks in the aforementioned roof but not where the metal is!) that I couldn’t get photos, but I went out this morning and here they are.

New rafters are on the left and old on the right.

All the new rafters are now in, lowering the ceiling
slightly, but making it much better looking!

This week saw the addition of living room rafters so that my living room ceiling will resemble an arch instead of a peaked cathedral ceiling with an enormous beam hanging down from the peak.  Leigh thought of that brilliant idea a few days ago and Jay and Bill got it whipped out in a couple days, and I like the effect very much indeed.  I also realized that at some level I feel more secure knowing that there is a bit more space between me and the outside world, and so the slightly lowered ceiling allows for that as well.   

New living room ceiling look, more of an arch and lovely!

This rebuilding of my home is very time-consuming and I feel much more comfortable with the removal of any thought of deadlines, completion dates, etc.  I know that I drive Leigh bonkers at times and make her job as contractor harder, because it is so important to me to be “in the mix,” and to know something about the people working here and their energy levels, etc. because face it that energy is being poured into my home and I want it to be good, positive, healthy energy with minimum stress.  My therapist, Cynthia, explained to me this week how out of the bell curve I am in this and how most homeowners don’t want to know every single detail and just care about getting the job done and getting the construction people out of their space.  And Leigh has explained to me the difficulties she encounters when I talk to subcontractors and I do understand all that.

I finally get to see what the blue looks like!  It is wonderful!

With that being said, I am who I am and the major reason I am surviving this rebuilding of my home with me still in residence is because of the neat people I am meeting and getting to know and because I am learning so much about my home, every little detail, just as I am learning about myself.  I know where my home has been neglected so I can pour good energies especially into those spots and I know where my home’s strengths are (my trusses and just this past week I learned that my home is remarkably square as well!).  I have learned and will continue to learn a ton about construction from every angle, and this is wonderful for me also.  And so, I’m content with the pace we have going, where my terrific plumber, Daryl, and electrician, Gary, are fitting me in and around their already overbooked lives and with Leigh keeping such fantastic track of the myriad of things which are going on and all of us can move forward at the pace which is appropriate for my home.  This slightly slower pace also allows us all time to think and to make sure that we don’t miss anything that we might wish later that we had done.  So it is all working very nicely indeed.

True bliss–a blue metal roof on a purple home, or so I think!

This week saw the last (or close to) of the old wiring and the plumbing start on the 1/2 bath and the new living room rafters, and lots of roofing details, and some framing of closets.  The coming week will see more electrical, including new wiring, more plumbing, and more framing (new windows!), and of course more roofing.  It looks to be an exciting and fun week and I’ll keep everyone posted!  We are surviving really well in our little studio apartment.  I do have moments of missing my quilting and weaving, but I’m having such fun with writing that it is all just fine, and my companions really and truly seem to enjoy having all of us cuddled together!  There is lots of snuggle/petting time and that is fantastic!

A Lovely Sunday in Construction Land

New Studio Apartment
Cozy Studio Apartment

It has been a productive week in construction land!  At times it was really, really cold!  The plus side to having no rain this week (which is a major plus when roofing is involved) is that it was clear and cold!  On the worst day the temperatures inside my home (yep, inside) dropped to 48 degrees!  But I have the best roofers anyone could ever ask for and they did a fantastic job in just 5 days to get everything secured and water-tight!  They start on the next phase tomorrow with the metal roofing, gutters, caps, etc. all in bright blue!  Meanwhile, I have been refining and reorganizing things in our new studio apartment so that the 6 of us are cozy and comfortable.  I now have lots of cat furniture for the three cats as well as numerous dog beds for the two dogs, so everyone can have a favorite spot or two!  I have two litter boxes and cat and dog feeding stations.  After all, there are 5 of them and only one of me, so it is only fitting that their stuff should dominate!  And if they are happy, we all are happy!

Our New Home

Today Kathy, my best friend, sent down a crew to work in my yard and plant lots more color!  Lance positioned it all and it is so pretty that I cleared off as much as I could from my desk so that I can see out into more of the yard.  It all looks quite fantastic and having that newly planted garden to look out on, as well as the space in my studio which is not in a state of demolition, is very helpful toward maintaining my sanity.  I think we will probably be in this studio for a couple months, until April or even May, but that is ok as we are safe, warm, cozy and really I have all the space I need to write and read.  I’ll resume quilting and weaving in the spring.

Living Space for Six!

Meanwhile, the rest of the house is still nothing more than exterior siding and interior studs, trusses, etc.  I do have access to the kitchen area and the laundry area and we can go in and out the front door, and truly that is all I need.  But nature abhors a vacuum, so now there is a painting station in my living room so that wood for my garage can be primed!  It all works and that is the main thing and it gives the cats things to play on when they go out there.  

I’m loving my new gas cooktop and in fact have more mushrooms to saute tonight as I’ve done for the last three nights.  Most of the kitchen including my sprout garden is on wheels and so it can be moved around as needed.

Main Part of My Home

The new 1/2 bath and closet on the laundry side of the room have been framed out.  The laundry sink will be next to the washer, with just a wall between, and a lovely window above it.  The toilet will be on the other side, hidden by the pocket that will hold the pocket door.  It is small, but functional and several of us will be glad when that is in!  Then next to that, just behind the pink door in the photo below, will be a small broom closet.  The bathroom will be green as it was before and the broom closet will be yellow.  I may have a two room house now, but that won’t stop me from having a rainbow house!  Instead of 6 rooms with 6 colors, I will have two rooms, a 1/2 bath, and 3 closets!  But the rainbow will remain!

Framed Out Closet and 1/2 Bath

Framed Out Closet

And across the “hallway” from the broom closet and 1/2 bath there will be the purple closet.  The old purple closet had a boxed in area with three entrances so that Laoise could have her very own cubby (which she frequently shared with Thackeray), and rest assured, dear Laoise, your cubby will return in the new purple closet.  Eventually, all the kitty walks will return as well and they will add more rainbow flavor to it all.

See what use is made of open space!
As I mentioned earlier, nature abhors a vacuum so my living room now serves as a viable construction zone.  After all, all the pets and I need is the kitchen and then on weekends, the laundry, so the rest is fair game, first come, first served.

Kitchen in the background; painting station in foreground.

Not much here except exterior siding, roof plywood, and lots of studs, but this makes it easy for both my plumber, who will be putting in a sprinkler system, and my electrician, who has already removed most of the old faulty wiring and who will be re-wiring the house to code, properly, and with things where I want them!

Newly framed out areas, closet on left; closet and 1/2 bath on right.

This shows both the purple closet and the yellow broom closet and green 1/2 bath in one view from the kitchen.  It will be really wonderful when it is done, functional the way we use it, and fun as well.


Garage roof with new plywood and waterproofing

 From the outside the new water-proofed garage roof is easily seen.  The plywood on the garage was rotted, but that wasn’t obvious until the old roof was torn off, so I am very glad to have that all secure and properly done (and so is Eglantine, my bright red 2001 Beetle!).

House roof is all done with new plywood and waterproof membrane.

And my house roof is also complete now with new 5/8″ plywood and a waterproofing membrane.  The old plywood was only 1/4″, so this roof is much sturdier and will last a lot longer than I will!  It is very nice to know that I’m doing the last roof I will ever have to do!

Owning One’s Personal Power

I’m thinking a lot lately about owning my own personal power and I realize that I’ve spent most of my life living in fear and abdicating my power when I came across any authority figure, and at the same time, with those I was in authority over, for a lot of years I probably wielded the same kind of power, although more gently and kindly I hope, because that heavy authoritarian patriarchal paradigm was all that I knew.  I’ve managed to get out from under it as far as my dealings with others whom I am in authority over, at least for the most part, and certainly I can recognize it when it happens now.

But as for owning my own power and not just shrinking away or trying to disappear when I’m faced with those with authority over me, I’ve got a very long way to go.  However, I’m making strides.  I’ve taken back more responsibility for myself by now cooking my meals.  I’ve had Sunshine Burgers for dinner for at least 2 weeks, but you know, that’s ok by me–I love them and I enjoy fixing them and with the chaos in my construction zone they work really well.  And I’m trying to do more for myself and not just freak out at the thought of, for instance, going to Thriftway and instead trying to get someone else to do that for me as again that is an abdication of my caring for myself.  So last night I made it through Thriftway and got my soy yogurt and my mushrooms without any problems.  This was huge for me!

And I’m noticing when people start deciding for me–telling me what I need to know and when I need to know it.  How can anyone else know what my needs are?  I’m the only one who can do that.  All my life people have tried to protect me and take care of me on various levels because they knew best.  As I say, on the flip side of that coin, I know I’ve done the same thing, and I’m heartily sorry for that.  In fact, no one should be taking that power from anyone.  I know what I need to know to take care of myself and my family.  Having others make the decisions for me is an acknowledgement that I can’t take care of myself.  But I can take care of myself, even when I’m scared and timid and acting like Piglet.  I need to follow Piglet’s lead and be brave even when I’m scared and not be so quick to hand off my power to others because it is easier, or less threatening, or because I think they will like me better, or any of the other myriad reasons I’ve given myself for shrinking away.  I need to work on making my voice heard, to myself as well as others, in a respectful, honest, heartfelt way, speaking my truth without judgement or blame, but just letting my voice be heard.  I’ve actually been practicing that lately in situations where I feel safe, especially over the last couple weeks, and I shall work at continuing that pattern, asking for what I need, be it information or whatever, and speaking from my heart so that I can own my own power for the first time in 65 years!