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The Friendship Code

Le Sigh...

This week a wee bit of controversy came about because some people don't get "The Friendship Code" or "The Marriage Code." I can't go into great detail about what all these terms encompass, but I will discuss the one aspect that is driving me batty: The Confidentiality Clause -- specifically, the breaking of said clause.

See, its my understanding that when one confides in a close friend they've known more than 6 years or their husband of nearly 24 years, that those sensitive topics that may be discussed while bouncing ideas around, asking for advice, or seeking catharsis for passing stressful reactions should be kept private, not discussed openly with other people (unless they are distant people, unconnected to the topics and people being discussed because-- what's the harm there?) let alone the people who may be the topic of discussion!

As I've stated before, we've all been working very hard and are all feeling pretty stressed out. Its why this Memorial Day holiday weekend we've all elected to take a break, hang out, do art, go shopping, and just be lazy. We're all over-reacting at this point due to simple stress.

I'm a talker (you may have noticed) and rarely shut up. This is one reason I write so much in journals and such-- sometimes I need to get it out, but no one close to me necessarily wants or needs to hear it. Still, I will talk about things anyone would talk about with friends or a spouse about various and sundry things, both good and bad, and yeah, sometimes I bitch about minor things. (NO! Lucretia-- YOU!?!?) Yes, sadly its true.

Both my husband and a friend of mine told Tad & Darcy about a couple of things I've said that weren't so nice. Nothing that was serious, because I DO tell people if I have a serious issue, but just a couple of minor sour grapes sorts of things because we're sharing space right now and everyone has a different way of doing things and people can get on one another's nerves. I was also told things that they said about me, like they thought it was creepy when I turned out the lights and looked out windows at night or something-- I like to look outside and in dim light you have to turn lights off, but I guess it feels like I'm trying to watch them or something? I'm NOT, but I get what they mean, I just didn't consider that interpretation of my actions before.

Point being though? They should not have heard my minor bitches and I should not have heard theirs because that does no one any favors and only ramps up the stress that we're all trying to handle and de-escalate!!

I had to have a long talk with my husband about keeping confidences (on both sides) because he's just sharing freely all over the place and he needs to be more circumspect. My friend (okay its Tess) is also a 4 and doesn't know how to shut up once she starts. I had to have a talk with her as well. Something along the lines of, "You're not helping the situation!" Both of them were totally drama mongering by rushing to share salacious secrets and that sort of immature behavior is very annoying to me. (Yes, I'm aware of the hypocrisy of blogging about stuff while saying that!)

But the thing that creams my cookies is that Tess is nearly 29 and Gerick is 44-- both of them should be familiar with The Confidentiality Clause by now and then some! You don't break The Code dammit!!

When Mocking Laughter Is Healing

One thing I wanted to discuss more about my time hanging out and painting with Camilla was one of our talks. I finally brought her up to date on the whole Fara & Tameka debacle. She was astonished, to say the least.

For more on that-- look here: http://lucretiasheart.livejournal.com/1114644.html

Anyways, when I told her what Tameka said, that she suspected I had some hidden subconscious agenda to cause harm to Fara, even induce her to commit suicide by my harsh words-- at that point, Camilla turned to look at me with wide eyes and just started laughing her ass off! I actually found myself protesting and stammering that its not the first time I've been accused of having some deep, dark, secret evil side. She fell apart into gasping giggles, and as I watched and listened, I felt a knot unravel and dissipate away on relieving mental winds...

When she could talk, she was saying how stupid and ridiculous such an accusation was, "I've known you for 7 years and we worked together for almost 4 and you're not some monster! Who could ever say that? You're one of the nicest people I know! That's totally insane! And everyone has a 'secret dark side'-- so what!? I mean, people think I'm a sweet girl, but I've punched people and stolen credit cards. You've never done anything even slightly like that in your whole life, but you're an evil mastermind? WOW!" She laughed merrily again.

Remember, THIS is what Camilla looks like:


At her most vampish with lots of costume make-up, but usually she looks even more young, innocent, and sweet.


I reminded her that I've had an issue with being accused of having a secret evil agenda a number of times. She's shook her head and waved a dismissive hand, "Everyone in disputes gets THAT thrown at them. You're actually not very secret at all. You tell the truth and you're really open about it and you'll say something sometimes that people don't want to hear, but you're only trying to help them. You're actually really nice about it, too. Nicer than most people who have an issue with someone."

But what about my being seriously annoying and acting superior to people?

"You can be a bit of a mother hen when you're teaching people something, but that's okay. I LIKE that you show me things and tell me what you think. We've even had a couple of disagreements, but once you've told your side, you always back off and leave me alone. I can live with that. I don't know, Lucy, I think you've just run into a lot of assholes!"

Yeah, I've heard that before.

Then we discussed how many of those asshats were Gen Xers. Because it IS odd that, other than Cat and Robin- 2 ladies I've known since childhood- almost all my friends are under 35 or over 55. Millennials and Boomers. Gen X, for the most part, seem so cynical, selfish, and-- harsh! I say this though I am one of them and I get it, but wow! I don't get near the issues with younger and older people than those closer to my age! I was talking to another friend on the phone who is in her 60s, very comfortably, just this morning, and I realized it all over again... I keep looking for people my age to befriend, but even those without kids and crazy job hours just seem reluctant to open up, and fewer still seem interested in friendship in any real sense.

Camilla continued to tease me throughout the day about how evil I was, until even I was giggling along with her. It really is just that ridiculous. Hearing my friend just lose it at the very idea was healing in a way I never would have believed. I think I needed to be made fun of-- because something about her laughter tore through my self-doubts and hurt feelings like nothing else did. Bless that girl! She has no idea what a kindness she did me, mocking me to my face like that! =^D

Painting Kitchen & Catching Up On News

Now the kitchen is a lighter version of robin's egg blue-- very pretty and one of my favorite colors... which is interesting because there are not many pastels that I like. Now that room feels like its ours. Another off-white room says good-bye!

I'm sure, dear readers, that you're enthralled with my reports of all the work we're doing to get this place home-worthy and comfortable. The homesteading part comes in after we've nested properly. I try to remind myself that I won't have to paint these room again for at least a decade and maybe longer-- so these are all jobs I'm doing that are actually DONE once I'm finished and that is very satisfying. Not to mention rather challenging for me with my health issues. I've had to stop and just breathe sometimes, and afterwards I'm always done for the count for at least a day. Just painting walls!

So much that must happen to get this place in shape I can't do-- or can only do very slowly with lots of help. Therefore, I take great pride, probably more than makes sense to most people, in accomplishing these chores on only the second home I've ever owned (only this one is where I want to be, not smack in the middle of town, and I'm not sharing it with my mother!)

We're so busy its a little insane. We're actually pretty much going to take a half break this next 3-day Memorial Day weekend, have Tess over, and try to enjoy ourselves a little with only a few projects thrown in here and there because we're all feeling almost frantic at this point. Almost no down time running 5 weeks straight (unless you count my 1 and 2-day flares, and being in bed most of the day isn't really recreation if you ask me!) We've even had some persnickety moments getting annoyed with one another over dumb shit-- which more privacy and down time would solve easily. Luckily, this state of things is temporary, and the first Finish Line is within sight.

The Tiny House continues to get worked on, most of the interior siding is up except in the sleeping loft and part of the ceiling. They have all the counters. The water line and water heater is now installed and ready (they have yet to test it though.) Today, their loveseat with the high back arrived -- and its comfy and narrow enough that it fits wonderfully in their main living area. Darcy was delighted and I helped him carry it over and in and then we sat on it (the other gents were at work) and cooed and squealed over the thing. Its quite distinctive. When I get pics going you'll see what I mean.

After discussing what all still needs to be done outdoors (as indoors we're almost done for now) I stopped myself and said to Darcy, "Now do you know what I mean when I said I just didn't think we should worry about an annual garden this year?" Everyone insisted we could do it all, but I was more realistic and said-- no, we already had too much to do to just get everything working aside from that. There are always unexpected jobs and issues you don't see coming in these endeavors, but I seem to be the only one who really anticipated this...  I try not to be too obnoxious about that, but its clear I've been proven right. Darcy gave me a sideways grin and nodded-- yeah... its too overwhelming for a garden this year. Maybe a tiny patch of something, and we can do some winter veggies later, but this spring and summer is pretty shot, time-wise.


I've been cut off from the news, naturally, for the last month or so as we didn't have either TV or internet access (still no TV, and I don't know that we'll ever get it again-- as its so darned expensive, so its either that or internet and no question that internet is the thing no one is willing to give up yet.) I'm now going back during our 'freetime' on satellite service after midnight to catch up on all my news sites and news blogs (independent that is) and find that indeed, we're barely under the deadline for getting this place.

The unconventional oil companies are sinking and there are signs everywhere that we have entered another recession as of March or so. This month, it appears much more difficult to hide this from the general public as economists are shocked by wave after wave of bad and "unexpected" findings. Also, early signs of an upcoming credit crunch are growing ever more widespread, even as bad car loans that last 5 years give credit too easily. You can tell the extend and pretend thing is starting to wobble a bit-- finally.

Our apartment at the formerly White Gables is renting for nearly what we're paying here in mortgage and taxes for a really nice 3 bedrm house on an acre. Which is INSANE-- and yet the exodus from California is driving those rents up, up, UP!! Speaking to some business people around Harmony Hills, we've learned that quite a few people coming out here are from the Portland metro region. We're getting pushed out by the incredibly crazy housing costs in Popularia (which should be the new name for Portland.) Glad to be at the front of that trend and not the back-- we wouldn't have been able to afford this place in even a couple of months from now by all appearances!


So bear with me just a while longer, and I'll be discussing more thoughtful things. Currently, its all a mad rush to "shelter in place" in the most cozy and practical way. I honestly doubt we'll have the money to spend on such a luxury as colored paint in even a year's time, so I'm glad to do these things now and have a nicer home to hunker down in.

Back Online!!

Hey all! Sorry for the long delay-- I've been without internet for WEEKS.

Just got satellite service installed for it TODAY.

If you scroll down, you'll see my back-dated entries (which I've been just keeping on my desktop). It'll take me a couple of days to get everything updated, but very soon, I'll be back to the regular updates you're used to.

Missed you all! =^)

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Painting the Living Room with Camilla

Camilla has an interesting schedule where she gets Tuesdays (but not every weekend) off. She came over today to help me paint one wall of our living room-- the other side of the room with the cathedral ceilings will have to wait until we get a 5 step step ladder because we can't reach the top to do taping or trim.

Again, friends who actually have no problems helping out on such things are true friends. I told Camilla when she gets a home of her own and needs help painting to call on me as her painting slave, because-- wow! She's been amazing!

First she looked around at things since she hasn't been here since the house was empty. She also met Tad and Darcy and got a look at their Tiny House and thought they were very courteous (politeness is a big issue to her, because most people these days are just rude) and their house charmed her utterly. Her naturally sweet nature likewise charmed our neighbors/renters.

We got to see that bluish gray-green on the wall next to the blond wood trim and fireplace once we had finished painting, and it looks SO good. Really classy and soothing. I'm worried it might be too dark, but the high ceilings seem to help prevent that and so far its really nice.

Then we got a start on painting the small master bath attached to my bedroom. Just 2 walls before we ran out of paint (leftover from dining room). That was it, though-- we were tired! I had made a nice lunch for us both: chicken caesar salad and seasoned curly fries, and Camilla very kindly complimented my cooking. The chicken was leftover teriyaki chicken breast from dinner last night, but apparently mixing that with caesar dressing was extra nummy. I hoped so- but its not a combo many would think of on purpose or anything, I'll admit.

She and I also spent a couple of hours just hanging out and chatting about various and sundry topics while we waited for paint to dry before a second coat and touch-ups. She's been working a great deal still, but now that her husband Rico has a steady job as a driver (which he really enjoys) she's looking forward to taking on less hours once they have a couple of debts paid up.

I told her that we're going to sponsor art parties for various personal projects out in the pole barn, especially during the summer and early autumn (when its drier) and that she can join in for sure. She is ALSO a very talented artist, though she paints rather adorable animals and people, rather than the moodscapes Tess paints or the fantasy inspired creations of my husband. Still, she shares space with her parents and sister and husband and child (SEE!? multi-generational households are more common than ever) and doesn't really have space to create the way she'd like. She doesn't have much social time, let alone art-creation time, so it would be cool to help out a friend on that score for sure. Plus, she's just extremely pleasant company. I realized the other day that she and I and Tess have been friends for almost 7 years now! Still very much like being around one another.

I took off the painting tape just a short while ago, and the wall came out gorgeous. I love it! And I must admit I love this process of taking a new place and making our mark upon it, transforming into something that suits us well.

Some Alone Time & Then Sorting the Garage

Nearly everything is functional within the Windy Firs domicile, so after Gerick went off to work and Tad & Darcy left to run errands (including new I.D. for Tad after losing his wallet to the sea and Darcy's replacing his phone) I was pleased to have a day to just get things in even more order.

I contented myself with just sweeping, picking up, doing laundry and dishes, and other sundry types of chores that were harder to do when things were scattered and disorganized. It was quick and easy, and I worked on writing projects in-between to make sure I paced myself carefully.

This place is starting to really feel like its mine!

Later, I made dinner and Gerick, who has lost too much weight in the last 2 months in the chaos and over-abundance of exercise, scarfed it down hastily. Yet less than an hour later, in the dying light, he and the guys were out working yet again. Rain is coming, so Tad made it a project to mow the entire yard before it was too late. He finished up when dusk had reached its dark blue stage, but he made it! Meanwhile, Gerick and Darcy and I busied ourselves going through and unpacking and organizing the garage. I made trip after trip taking things into the house where they now belonged, and the gents put things away within the garage itself and put like with like and so forth.

Now we have room to park a car and then some in that garage! Feels great to have that done. I think the crowded and chaotic conditions were haunting my dreams or something. I dreaded going in there to sort recycling or fetch something. But now our garage is functional too- so the whole house is pretty much working at this point.

All we have left is some painting and decorating and we're set to welcome visitors without hanging our heads. Speaking of which-! Darcy's parents are flying in from New York to visit at the end of this month, and Darcy is eager to show off to them. They thought he was crazy to move to the Pacific Northwest and try to buy, build, and live in a Tiny House. In just over a year, Tad got a great job with benefits and they've got their Tiny House and a place to park it in a shared homestead type of place-- yeah, he's feeling pretty satisfied with things and happy to show that following his dream was the right thing for him!

I think we'll be doing our big bash housewarming party either the second or last weekend of June. I'd rather do the last weekend so we have more time to get the outer areas prettified a bit AND to give a little more notice to everyone for it. I'm hoping to have my friends from work all get together here at least once so we can have a bit of a reunion at the same time. My old boss, Captain Nate, and the rest, have told me they'd love a chance to see each other again. And I'd love to see everyone myself. Gerick is also going to have his friends from work come to our house. As it is, I think only 2 of his co-workers saw our last place. But he works corporate and maybe it was a pride thing-? I don't know. If its that, he'll never admit it.

In any event, things are moving along at a brisk clip, and it seems we'll be hosting visitors semi-regularly all through the summer. Its going to be so busy!!

Planting Herbs, Improving Chicken Coop

Its been so busy just trying to get the household functional that we haven't had a great deal of time to work on outside projects (not to mention we only get a couple of sunny warm days a week at this point.) But after some morning clouds and errands were run, we had a whole day to work on things.

Gerick and I finally got around to planting most of my herbs, but for all my mints, which grow crazy in this part of the country and need to be in raised container beds or they'll take over a whole yard! The border around the lawn was double-barriered (2 layers of weed barrier plus a layer of lava rock and another layer of big wood chips) so I mostly planted my big, woody shrub herbs, like lavender and rosemary, along those areas. I just barely began my first "island" of herbs, flowers, and shrubs in the lawn as well with the smaller stuff. Eventually, I will have only paths of lawn in between these islands of wonderful plantings, so that one can stroll along and enjoy all that is growing there in bare feet. (I do love to walk about in bare feet, so I think of these things.)

That took some time, but at least most of my herbs, which were starting to look peaked in their transporting pots, have new homes and should be perking up soon. Its good to see plants I've grown from seed that lived at White Gables all tucked in here at Windy Firs. Makes it feel more like my home.

Meanwhile, Tad was busy leveling out and jacking up their Tiny Home so that they can move into it by the end of next week. It takes a little time to get it just right. Eventually they want to move it back into the back yard area they're renting, but right now they have it on the graveled area next to the pole barn. Soon the formerly crooked little house was upright and sturdy. Finally, he put in the converter that enables a simple extension cord from the coop to run to their Tiny House for their electric. They have their lights, switches, and fans all installed and working-- and Tad checked everything to make sure it was all on line and ready to go. It was!

Darcy, for his part, was upgrading the chicken coop yet again. He took out the old florescent light fixture (that didn't work anyway) and installed a new cage-style, old-fashioned hanging lamp inside the big coop. Outside, he hung a burlap sack up on the walll on the chicken side of the coop and a decorative hanging sculpture of a face on the storage side of it. Then, when Gerick and I mentioned that the old light fixture looked like a feeding trough upside down (with the bulbs out), he went ahead and attached chains to that and hung it from the over-hanging eves by the chicken's dust bath box (that Tad made) so that bugs and mice can't get into it (not that this is a problem yet, but it often becomes an issue after a while). Its perfect to feed them when its just wet, muddy, and gross out. Less waste as feed gets ground into the mud otherwise. Also, less loss through pests.

The only down side was that Darcy washed his IPhone accidentally and they forgot to get the insurance before the 30 day deadline (it was day 31!) So tomorrow they have to go and get it replaced for way too much money and Darcy is not happy about his massive mistake.
The people (Russian immigrants) who lived in my house before were two middle-aged brothers and their adult sons. The people here now are 2 adult couples. Across the street-? Arlene's family, including her husband, brother, and 2 adult children-- 1 with her husband, all live together in this very modest house (which is getting an add-on room this year for obvious reasons.) Most of them have jobs, but mostly contracting (building trades) and part-time. The only property past us that's up into the forest across the street is a multiple generational family shared place on several acres with 3 small ranch houses and 2 garages on a shared loop driveway. Down the street, every single home I've had a chance to observe has at least 3 or 4 adults sharing expenses and chores (these are all multiple acre lots-- ours may be the smallest of them.)

I've yet to come across a 20th Century "Nuclear Family" with just one set of adults and their children, let alone a single parent household. The closest I can find are the soon-to-be-retirees next door, but for them it is a vacation home for summers and holidays only. They are the major exception to the rule in an area where the only way you can afford a decent home, let alone one with some land attached, is to share it with other adults.

I've said that much of Harmony Hills consists of retirees. Well, it seems pretty obvious from what I'm seeing that most retirees have adult children and/or grandchildren living with them around here. So much for "empty nests!"

I'm thinking that ideal and norm of 1 set of adults per household is indeed a side effect of the fuel glut of the 20th Century. Before then, it was more common to find multiple generations in one home, or to take on boarders, or have roommates. Now we're slowly going back to that lifestyle.

Where I live is, as I've previously noted, an "already crashed" county, full of poverty and unemployment. Yet people live here-- all over the place. I've seen 2 small recent (90s?) housing developments in town (one on the edge of Harmony, the other in Misery) but in general, most dwellings here are older and there's not a lot of new investments. People are hanging on and doing what they can to keep expenses down and share what's left to pay.

The past is the future. I'm seeing it first hand for myself right here.

Dining Room Painted Seafoam Green

I had only 2 things to be done today: a small batch of jeans to be washed, and painting the dining room. Gerick wants to finish putting the dining table together and then get his aquarium running again. Its impossible to do that until the walls are completed. Meanwhile, only 1 fish is still alive and the aquarium plants are okay. We've got to get it done (and pretty much start over with the fish.)

But yesterday and today are Gerick and Tad's long days where they work some 13 hours and carpool together, so they were too beat after work to do much beyond eat, relax, and then go to bed early. If I got the dining room painted today, Gerick can finish the dining room Friday night-- and I know he'll want to! He's waited so long already, but other projects took precedence.

Darcy helped me and we got that dining room painted! Its a bright, light, and cheerful green-- almost a seafoam, but not quite. It may be hard to believe that any color could look lighter than off-white, but I'm telling you THIS color makes white look drab. Its almost too bright... almost. However, being on the north side of the house means it gets far less light than the south side, and it needs help to keep from being a downer dark room, especially in a region that is known for its dark and dreary weather most of the year. My goal is to use color to psychologically induce a better attitude, and I've applied that throughout the house.

I think it works. I will be taking pics later and you can judge for yourselves of course.

A Low Impact Workday of Catching Up

I have to pay attention to my activity levels. I'm not managing them as well as I ought to, and the result is I'm either working too hard or flaring from working too hard. Its hard not to, though-- because I'm such an exacting perfectionist and want things just so, and therefore would rather do some things (like painting) myself rather than risk a less careful person doing it and then my obsessing for years over the minor imperfections I'll notice. Yes-- its totally irrational. Doesn't matter, though, does it? Nope!

After the worse flare yet yesterday, I got up today feeling slightly better and decided to keep it light. I put away 4 small boxes of bathroom stuff and put some more books away. But other than that, I paced myself and just put away dishes and did laundry and sorted recycling and took out trash. Just normal domestic duties that got put off while everyone was busy doing various projects.

Examples of projects include the slow dig out of what will one day be a natural pond. Or the dust bath for the chickens. Or the new walkway over the mulching, squelching mud in the backyard by the garage stoop and back deck. All these things have been completed in the last few days We've also rearranged the living room to accommodate both a library-like section and a media entertainment section by the fireplace. Moving yet more books. I have so many damned books!

But not today. I refused to participate much. I was stuck in a bed all day yesterday until the last couple of hours before bed. I don't want to end up in bed for weeks with a prolonged flare. I've been lucky thus far, pushing like I have been, but no more. I need to be smarter and less ambitious.

IF I feel okay, I will paint the dining room tomorrow with Darcy's help. You know-- S L O W L Y.
 

Slow Day & My First Graveyard Ghost

Gerick and I woke up so sore and tired from our overly vigorous weekend that we were actually groaning aloud. He opted to take the day off, and I opted to find my chair and pretty much stay in it for the day. Luckily, he's been putting in long hours lately and has some extra time to spare at work.

Rain and dreary skies today- so I was glad we did do as much as we did while we could. I'm happy to report that my stained railings are beading the water as planned! The living room will be arranged the right way today, and Gerick-- despite already being sore, wants to paint the dining room and get that finished. I swear, he just can't help himself. HAS to either work or play. I did persuade him to just sit down and watch a little Game of Thrones with me this afternoon at least. We'll see how that goes...

Meanwhile, I've been thinking about what I believe to be my very first sighting of a ghost in a graveyard yesterday. Like many such sightings, I didn't even know it was a ghost when I first saw it. I thought it was just a distraught man. He looked full color and solid, etc.

What happened was we were driving along a winding road home from the coast, and we happened to pass a cemetery with gravestones very close to the road we were on. Due to the winding nature of the mountain road, we were going rather slowly at the time, so I had plenty of time to see and process the following:

I looked over at the graveyard and saw a man lying prone, face down, over a grave! He was wearing blue jeans with the type of stitching on the pockets one commonly saw during the early to mid 80s, a tan windbreaker, and a blue baseball cap. His hair was dark brown, but I barely saw it sticking out of the cap. His arms were open like he was hugging the ground, and I felt very sad to see him, because he was obviously very upset at a death. Oddly, though-- the grave below him was NOT freshly dug or anything. I just felt so bad for him. I mean, who feels deep enough grief that they lay down on a grave by a highway? Just a 2-lane one that wasn't overly busy, but still-!

Of course, I was captivated by this raw display of dark emotion and turned all the way around in my seat to keep looking as we passed the man. I saw him for many seconds approaching and passing. He never moved. Then a small bush and tree interrupted my field of view for a brief second. When the spot came back into view-- the man was GONE. There was nowhere for him to go to so fast, and it was so obvious. Then I realized what I had seen...

I thought it was a guy missing his mom on Mother's Day. But now--? Now I think I saw a ghost.

Darcy's Birthday Trip To Disappointment

Incredibly, when I realized it was Mother's Day this morning (shows you how much I pay attention these days) I called my mother. No cards, flowers or gifts to her in over 12 years from me- mind you, with good reason! But I called her and left a message saying I hoped she felt better (she fell and dislocated a shoulder last week) and I hoped her day was nice. My guess is that her sister Dora will get her something because its tradition, even though my mother isn't her mother-- her interpretation of it is that her ungrateful bitch of a daughter (that would be me, hi there) won't do the "right" thing, so she will. But hey, I called. I feel pretty neutral about it, so it doesn't hurt to make such a gesture now, whereas in the past, such a thing would literally make me nauseous. Meh. *shrug*

But, more importantly for the day-- its Darcy's birthday! He wanted to go to the coast, to visit Astoria and Cape Disappointment, so we took off in the morning for a long day of driving. It was cloudy but mild, and we had a nice time traveling.

In Astoria, we checked out their Sunday Open Market fair, drove up and down the hilly neighborhoods and looked at all the historical houses (lots of Victorians!) and went to look at the Goonie house, and checked out the waterfront walk (there's a trolley, but it wasn't running today.) After climbing the Astoria Column and setting gliders off over the side (I can't believe I never did that as a kid!) we toured the area below and goofed around some. We got some coffee and lunch after and then took off across the super-long bridge across the mouth of the Columbia River and thence to the Cape in question.

It was a lovely, and very green, drive, and once there we hiked up and down hill to get a close up look at Dead Man's Cove and the lighthouse. I definitely have a thing for lighthouses-- and for Lighthouse Keeper's cottages. Something about the whole isolated lifestyle of the past (and the future when satellites aren't working due to lack of funds/energy) just strikes me for some reason. I'm not exclusively into them or anything... I love a lot of historical things. Railroads and old farms and ranches and graveyards... The walk back to the car from the lighthouse almost did me in, though. I'm not in the best shape, and had already hiked all over the place. But I made it and we drove back on the Washington side of the river as dark clouds chased us home.

My and Gerick's gift to him was a little Wiccan magick book from a witch in Cornwall, Britain and a half-life sized statue of a young woman in a diaphanous gown with her arm up, as if pausing in the act of bathing or something. Very feminine, sweet, and graceful. Darcy loved his gifts and couldn't stop smiling when he saw the statue. I'd love to populate the grounds at Windy Firs with statuary. Some highlighted and obvious, but some hidden in nooks and crannies in wilder, slightly overgrown areas. That'll take some years to achieve, but every idea starts with just one step!

We had a late supper including veggie burgers and onion-cheese fondue, then poppy seed raspberry cake and ice cream. THEN-- we sat upstairs and just relaxed in the "Groovy Room" by the woodstove and chatted until it was time to crash.
Another sunny, windy day was ahead of us, so we had some outdoor work to finish! Most of the morning into early afternoon was spent with me finishing my job of staining the deck rails (touch ups for the back deck and then doing the rails by the front stoop) while Gerick painted the deck floor with this thick, sandy paint 'rescue' stuff that basically gives you a few more years on an old deck that's not quite ready to be replaced. (The rails themselves are brand new courtesy of Fannie May and Uncle Sam.)

Then we all took off for errands which included a chain hardware and garden store and then a furniture store. Gerick and I found the same sofa and loveseat there that we'd found and wanted at another location in Oregon and purchased it as well as a low and long bookcase, then Gerick went and rented a U-haul for a couple of hours and $20 and we picked them up and brought them home!

Early evening we basically put the bookcase together and moved stuff and finished the deck. (I know-- pics soon!) The deck doesn't even look like it came from the same planet once we were done with our rehabilitation! Its now a classy yet casual hang out area, very comfortable and pretty. And the living room has real furniture in it now! That was pretty much our last major purchase for our home until early autumn's insulation project, so things are definitely coming together now. The upstairs rec room, which we're calling the "Groovy Room" after our late 60s/early 70s decorating scheme up there ultimately, we will leave mostly open. A couple of easy chairs, an old stereo from the late 60s, a bar of some sort eventually, a couple of book cases, maybe some bean bag chairs & big pillows, but we're mainly leaving it an open area for entertaining and dancing and such.

Soon I can stop preparing to live here and actually live here! Every day, my home is manifesting...

A Day Staining Deck Rails

A precious few days of upper 70s temps and sunny, windy weather meant we could work on outdoor projects for a short time. Darcy busied himself installing vents and staining counters and chairs for his Tiny Home, while I stained the deck railings-- a tedious chore requiring a great deal of precision and patience. Luckily, I'm anal retentive enough to be perfect for such a job! I started it yesterday afternoon and made it the sole focus of my entire day today until I had it pretty much finished.

As I stained, I listened to birds chirping and the wind making the deep rushing sound in the fir trees surrounding our new home with great satisfaction. It sounds almost like a large waterfall at a distance or something. There's nothing as wonderful as the sound of fir trees in the wind!

The cats have settled in well, going outside and inside freely- realizing that this is where they live now. All of them seem to prefer it to our last home of White Gables. Little Sadie, who loves the outdoors so much, is especially taken with it, and loves to explore the near-by forest and hunt for mice and such under the tiny house and around the many nooks and crannies around our land and the next door neighbor's as well.

One thing is for sure, I'm getting tons of exercise with all this activity. Lifting, carrying, reaching, stretching, stooping, brushing, banging, fixing, pulling, pushing, dragging, etc. I keep sending myself into 1 and 2 day flares by over-doing it-- but its hard not to when a job requires just a little more umph out of me!

Now I'm exhausted and going to find my bed and pour myself into a coma!

Studying the Trees of Windy Firs

The weather cleared and we had upper 60s and wind, so I spent the day looking up the trees we have growing here-- since I found my tree identification book!

The big tree in front is a Scarlet Oak! YEE-HAH! I've always wanted one of those! We also have Big-leafed Maple, and plenty of Douglas Fir. Those I know. I looked up the fast-growing saplings all along the eastern edge of the property and found out they were either red or white alders. Most alders are more small and shrub-like, except for those 2 types found only in wet areas of the Pacific Northwest. Well- bingo! We have near-marshy ground in some spots along that edge line so that makes sense.

I'd like to buy 5 or 6 fruit trees, a couple of nut trees, and some really brilliant fall foliage trees eventually. They're all expensive, so we'll have to do it a couple of trees a month until we have it where we're happy with it. I'm glad we dug up so many from the other property. Japanese Maples are typically $60 to $90 for the sizes we got for free from a friend who works at a tree nursery, and we're using ours for landscaping in the front yard. Yet another outdoor project that's barely begun.

Smaller blooming trees and shrubs for the bees we'll be keeping later (well, the guys will...) are also on the agenda, but again-- one step at a time. We're swamped with work as it is!

Dream Aspect: Professor Philip

Drank too much last night for the first time in a long time. Actually got dizzy and sick. Mainly I didn't eat enough, and it hit me later much more strongly than at first. I even drunk texted people! Tess was the only one who responded, but she's done it to me, so maybe she felt obligated.

Its been a crazy last few weeks, and we're still in it working hard almost every single day. It seems like we take one night off a week to party a little, let off some steam, and relax. Which is understandable, but I'm too old to overdo it like that.

This morning I slept in (gee, I wonder why?) and had dream after dream after dream. Mainly I was talking to these various older male dream aspects. Professors, writers, counselors, intellectual men of authority AND compassion, essentially. They all boiled down into a dream aspect I'll call "Professor Philip." He was a teacher who also did counseling and writing on the side and was notorious for being brilliant as well as fun and kind. I began a relationship-- a good friendship-- with him, and we hung out together (I know some of this is reflective of several friendships I have with older men.) Phil's wife didn't approve. I thought she thought we were having an affair, and so I only came over to hang out when she was away on business or to visit her family or something. But-- she came home early and "caught" us going over a presentation I was getting ready to do for a class, and I left under her stiff glare-- only to return because I forgot something and hear her and Phil fighting about how she didn't like that I was replacing their dead daughter who looked, acted, and sounded much like me, but did not have a close relationship to her father for some reason. Now, she thought he was using me to replace their daughter in his heart. At first I though, "Wow! Damn!" but then I thought she was being unfair. Maybe I needed a 'dad' too and since their daughter was gone, why coudn't he have a friendship with a daughter-type person? The wife was bitter and selfish and I wished she'd back off-- or just give up, divorce my friend, and go the fuck away.

I left and rode my bike off into the neighborhood, only to stop by a black church where a black friend dream aspect of mine was having her funeral. I knew this young woman from other dreams and I set my bike aside and went in, hoping to speak my piece about how warm and loving this friend had been to me and how much I would miss her.

I woke up weeping softly in a melancholy mood. I didn't fight it, though. I let it wash over me and I cried a little for almost an hour, just letting the emotion take its course and fall away. In my dream world, an aspect I was close to (whose name I can't remember) DIED and that's not a common thing at all. It moved me to real tears even after awakening. I'm not sure what that's all about, but I, the waking mind, elect to honor the moods and inner worlds of my dream self. We are friends, which means I sometimes have to set aside a little time to 'finish' what my subconscious is processing.
But I always feel so much BETTER when I do!

Water Issues & Moonlight Trespassing

The work continues... we made a trip to a chain hardware store and got lots of stuff we needed to fix and treat the back deck, prune things, mow and rake the grass (the last lawnmower bit it the first day...) and replace the main bathroom's shower head. Not to mention a long overdue trip to the grocery store. I swear we were out of everything.

Upon our return, our neighbor from across the street, Arlene, came over with a hanging pot of red geraniums as a house warming present and chatted with us for a bit after introducing her sister. The topic of discussion became the weather and the lack of winter we all had here in the PNW. Arlene's sister lives in the foothills of Mt. Rainier,  and she's one of their snow pack measurement people-- has been for years. She said a typical year where she lives gets some 12 to 14 FEET of snow every year. Guess what the total snowfall for this year was?

4 inches.

Yeah, talk about a serious problem..! We're having a very wet spring, more downpours and less soft rain than normal, which is helping to keep reservoirs full and plantings wet. However, the snow pack melting May through September is what refills those reservoirs during our typically very dry summers. This year, there just isn't much to refill them. Arlene  said everyone in Harmony at the tops of the hills like us keep a careful eye on their well situation and cut way back on water when things get bad-- as everyone affects everyone else's well situation.

We... have an overly saturated piece of land due to the fact there is an underground spring somewhere above us in the forest that used to go down a substantial creek that ran right through the middle of our property and on down through the middle of several other properties-- you can see the moist and deep ditches where a creek used to be. Being at the top of our hill near the now suffocated spring without a creek as an outlet means we have a squelching quagmire of land as the water oozes just under the surface. There are drain outlets, basically at the top of where the creek used to be on our land to the bottom of where it used to be, where it drains into the adjoining neighbor's land. We definitely have to figure out some ways to use the water, rehabilitate the natural system a little, and get some deep rooted trees that love water (like willows) to start to balance out the system a little. Its too bad-- a creek back there, allowed to do its thing, would have been very pretty...

The rest of the lawn got mowed finally. Some of that grass was nearly thigh high! A newer, more powerful mower was purchased, but we also got a manual rotary mower which the guys are determined to use and get used to in order to cut back on our reliance upon a gas-powered mower, which is smart... but they tried it and now see why people prefer a gas mower most of the time! I still remember my dad using those in the 70s, it was quieter and smelled better, but mowing was a BITCH. The easiest way is with grass eating animals, but we don't have enough land for that-- at least not for a while.

Tad and Darcy made a crazy good but very spicy chicken n' cheese dinner. Basically like a buffalo dip that works with veggies or flat bread or thick crackers. We ate a ton, but it was very hot-- and I like hot but it was almost too much for me.

Meanwhile, we've slowly begun to clean out the huge mess left in the entrance to the forest area. Lots of lawn clippings and branches from trees cut down and then left in a pile to burn-- which didn't burn very well. We think the previous people were trying to create a dam to keep that used-to-be-a-creek watershed from saturating the yard all the time. They didn't succeed. We're thinking why fight nature? We want to dig out a section where the forest creek bed meets our yard and allow a natural pond feature to be created there. Something for frogs and birds and deer to use. We can even put some native fish there-- or something non-invasive that's legal to raise as fish to eat even. But first all that yard debris had to be pulled out.

THEN we burned it in a bonfire (the ashes to be used as fertilizer and for the compost, etc.)  It was nearly a full moon out and a very mild night-- next to the fire one didn't even need a jacket. Everyone was in a jovial mood, as all our hard work is beginning to be obvious and so taking a celebratory break from all that seemed in order.

I went for a walk in the full moon light to check out the absent neighbor's yard. Yes-- I was trespassing, thank you for asking! But I mean no harm and the temptation was overwhelming. I had to be sure I couldn't be seen from the road or from Arlene's across the street first, but soon it was clear. There's a NICE forested area in the back and to one side that I envied. The house has a completely collapsed deck in the back that looks hazardous that has yet to be dismantled or replaced. I could also see red lights on in the house through the windows (no I did not peep in the windows, just looked from a distance) so it appears they have interior security. However, no motion censor lights came on outside or anything, which was nice for a criminal like me. (Heh!) Darcy joined me at one point and I showed him the highlights. He was quite taken by my daring-- and I was astonished that he'd never trespassed in his life before.

I do so love corrupting the young ones!

Then we returned to the fire, which was quite large, and stayed warm as the night became quite coolish until well after midnight when we began going in and the fire had finally burned down (after many cubic yards of debris were burned.)

Flare Bear

An almost entirely useless day that I mostly spent in bed.

The men of the household installed the washer and dryer, put away a bunch of stuff from the garage, and worked on the Tiny House.

Chicken Pens & Ankle Mends

Yesterday, after I'd already written the post below, I put away just a few more things and realized that my feet and ankles were hurting. I was soon hobbling around and so sat outside on the deck to rest, and took a long look-- puffy! Which means my tendons and ligaments are giving out. Wuh-woh..! So I wrapped said feet and ankles and put those puppies UP.

I entertained myself thereafter watching the gents erect a new outdoor chicken run. Higher, sturdier, and more aesthetically pleasing than the last sad temporary affair-- it ran from the doggiedoor-like opening inside the new spacious walk-in coop, to a covered area where their water tower rests, out to a wide yard of their very own! [Pics coming soon.] The guys had to use a pick-axe to help dig their post holes, since much of that section of yard was covered in a layer of gravel 6 inches thick!

Once it was up, just past sunset, we all cheered and let the chickens out to test it. They've been trying to escape out to the yard (being confined under a lean-to with just a view of it for a couple of days) and so indulging them felt pretty good. They were pleased, and stayed out longer than usual before finally going back inside their new coop.

Later, after some dinner, I stole outside to the front yard-- to look upon the fantastic view whilst listening to the frogs chirruping in our fountain and pond. The south wind was blowing, and the house itself on the south side trapped much of the heat of the day (it hit 81 degrees!) so it was warm and succulent in the breeze. Gerick joined me and we sat outside and I told him this had inspired me to make our front perennial yard have night-blooming flowers as well. It was amazing as a night garden! The perfect summer escape, what with the neighbors all gone inside to watch their screens! He agreed. Now I have yet another part to factor into my garden design ideas!

Today, by contrast, was barely 60, dark and rainy. Gerick and Tad got up before 4 am to carpool in to work, as Tad had a double shift and Gerick is way behind at work and needs to put in some extra long days here and there until he catches up. Darcy and I got up to wave them off, and then toddled back to bed.

I was so exhausted. All day the only thing I managed to do was put away 4 boxes and make our bedroom closet functional. Then I had to lay down and nap! I need to get things done, but while flaring its like I can only do a little, rest, do a little, rest, do a little... Aggravating with so much work staring at me, and I can't stand not doing anything at so crucial a juncture! Darcy unloaded his Tiny House completely, organized the pole barn, AND nearly finished the wood siding on the gable ceilings of the Tiny House! But it wasn't until dinnertime that I managed to pull myself out of bed again to wash and put away dishes, and then it was after 9 by the time I made some loaded scrambled eggs for dinners (with smoked gouda cheese, onion, and a little non-vinegar salsa).

By this time, everyone was home and hungry and I made lots for the entire household. Gerick tried to get the washer installed correctly and was a bit snarly as a result. I was pleased to see both Tad & Darcy taste my creation and smile brightly (but in surprise, because I don't exactly cook a lot-- ha ha! I'm pretty good at it naturally when I do it though!)

When I have 2 minutes of energy to rub together, I very much enjoy my moments of peace, satisfaction, etc... However, when I'm so fatigued and so much needs doing, its a sort of torment, because I want to rest and relax, and can't really until I have a fully functioning house again.

We're getting there. I'm just impatient. I want to hurry up so I can rest. Silly, isn't it?

Stinging Pests & Place Gratitude

I'm flaring. The shocking thing is that I lasted this long. I'm pretty satisfied with my body's performance, all things considered. I think I'm gonna go down for a while after how I've pushed myself. But I made all the deadlines I couldn't miss, so I'll call this one a win.

I put most of the bedroom together myself (not dealing with heavy things like mattresses or the heavy mirror that goes on my dresser, but still...) I've got half the kitchen (the food and cooking side) organized. Its so awesome and weird to have a full-fledged kitchen. It feels enormous! There's room for ALL of my equipment and I have my preserves and pickles on display on their very own set of shelves!  Likewise the bathrooms. There are deep shelves for towels and linens and I'm not used to this. Anyways-- where was I? Oh yeah. So the point is I was able to run around and let my inner Irma (see post:  ) do her thing and I think she was in 7th heaven!

Its been cloudy with periodic breaks and showers and barely 60 for 3 days-- until today. Now its in the upper 70s with perfect blue skies and bright sun. Needless to say, this brings out the insects. We have a ferocious wasp problem. We've got yellow jackets aplenty as well. I was cleaning the litter box and found a wasp hanging out-- can you imagine how badly that could have gone? One of my cats could have been stung multiple times trying to do their business and ended up traumatized and refusing to use their facilities! Thankfully I caught it in time-- but I'll be keeping an eye out for sure on that count. We've got 3 traps already and knocked down every nest (SO many different kinds!) we could find-- but several are way up in tiny spaces in roofs and we'll end up having to spray something in those nooks and crannies. The only thing that's good about the wasps is that they're eating all the spiders I'm allergic to! Houses left neglected in rural areas get inundated fairly quickly by insects, and we expected this, although the only place worse for stinging bugs was that brick house in Ohio I dubbed 'Stinger Hill'! Hopefully, we can go outside and hang out and enjoy it soon, once we get the pest populations under control.

We are SO totally putting bird, bat, and owl houses all over the freaking place as soon as we can! I've noticed we have some very pretty swift or swallow type birds, white with black detailing and pretty shimmery green wings (well, the males have the green, its gray for the females.) They seem to hang out with the hummingbirds, who are also busy. I had a female hummingbird come right up to my head to check me out. They're eating bugs like mad-- sadly they don't eat the bigger stinging bugs, but I'm happy to see them helping us with the rest. Gotta encourage them! Which is why we're doing our best to eschew poison where possible-- we want to avoid harming predators up further on the food chain. We need them to help us keep our garden healthy once we start our plantings!

Otherwise, we're replacing the built-in microwave, the kitchen faucet (in fact, Gerick is doing that right now), and we already got a brand new water heater (HUGE). Most of the upgrades are cheap because we got a special insurance that covers all those costs for household systems and appliances, which we thought was a good idea for our first year here-- already its almost paid for itself! I wan't sure it was worth it, and it probably won't be next year, but for sure it was a smart move to begin with.

I can't believe its nearly May! The warm weather is helping to bring it on home to my mind, though. I've been listening to the radio for hours at a time-- we get great reception up here-- which is something I haven't done in years, but right now we have no internet, no TV, and only simple cell phone service. Its put me in a strange mood.

As things get put away and life becomes ever more functional, I'm finding myself settling in fairly quickly. I wanted to go back to White Gables one more time to look around and say my final adieu (and check to make sure my husband didn't forget anything!) but I don't think I'll get that chance. This was a hard move. But then, White Gables was the first home that felt like a home I'd been in since Dragonfly Ridge (1999- 2003) and the cabin on Whisper-Rush Road (2005- 2007.) In some ways, though, it was the very first true home in my life or at least since living on the beach at age 5 and in a tiny town when I was 7. (Keep in mind I've probably moved over 30 times...)

White Gables was in the country, which is the only place I can live and be happy, and I had my first big, all organic companion-planted gardens, my first chickens, my first time trying out the co-housing concept. I had friends from work around frequently, I learned I was good at property management... Lots of firsts or 'first in a long time' and I was mastering them all and fairly easily. I took to country life like a duck to water. My husband grew up in small town rural Ohio, but I spent most of my life in working-class rentals in older suburban neighborhoods-- being in open country with trees, horses, cows, hawks and coyotes was a revelation. Maybe its weird to be grateful to a place, but that's how I feel about my last home. Its changing and it won't be what it was, but while we were there it was good.

Now we move on to a situation I anticipate being even better. Lots of work ahead, but we're not tackling it alone, and that makes a big difference. I'm hopeful and feeling good about life going my way right now. Lots of changes and adjustments, but I'm glad to be here and no longer WAITING to be here!

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Lucretia Heart

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