The Morning After, and Dave Stamey

I almost wrote this entry into my handwritten journal, which I take such great pleasure in since I bought an el cheapo fountain pen off Amazon and some luxurious ink. For whatever reason, I felt like I wanted to share these thoughts with you today. They’re not profound or particularly interesting, but they’re in my head, and in a few minutes, they will be out in the world.

It’s a warm and fuzzy sort of morning. I’m still in my pyjamas, wearing slippers that a friend gifted me for my birthday, one of the Cowboy’s old shirts for warmth, and I’m tucked under a blanket in my favourite chair. Outside, it is raining, and the relief that comes with it is powerful. The summer has been uncharacteristically hot and dry this year, leaving our pastures bare and dusty and the fire risk utterly overwhelming. It is not just here in Washington. Continue reading

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The Laundry Room Renovation

I live in a tiny house. Teeny tiny eeny weeny house. The bonus of this is that I can vaccuum the entire floor area without unplugging the hoover from one room to another. Another bonus is that the WIFI signal reaches powerfully into every room, and halfway across the yard, unlike at my parents’ house, where, during our Christmas visit, our bedroom was the only room in the house with zero WIFI signal, and the only place where I wanted to use the internet. A con to living in a teeny tiny house is not quite having enough space sometimes.

We came home after Christmas and Cowboy offered to make a start on the teeny tiny laundry room for me. This project has been poorly planned on my part. I ordered appliances in the Black Friday sales and got myself a stonking deal, but beyond that, I hadn’t quite figured out the finer details.

The set up that we had inherited from the previous owners was sketchy at best. It is a minuscule room. A top loading washer and a front loading dryer were installed along the long wall, in front of the window. On the opposite wall was a line of wall cabinets which came down just far enough to make it impossible to get into either the washer or the dryer without bending double and doing some funky gymnastics. I used to grab the laundry out of the dryer and have to reverse, with my head by my knees, arse first, out of the tiny gap beneath the cabinets, scattering socks and underwear as I went. It needed to change. It was absurd.

Cowboy was keen to get my appliances out of his shop, so he was eager to crack on, and crack on he did. Continue reading

Still going!

Oh, look. I’m not dead after all. I felt a little close to it, as I battled some kind of cold that set in about two weeks ago and has only just moved on. It started as a sore throat, then moved into a phlegm river gushing out of my nose, and then mutated into my sinuses being blocked 80% of the time, and a good chesty cough. To be fair, I haven’t been ill like this in a long time, and the fact that I can now relax enough to be ill is really quite positive.

I’m back at home after a long stint away. I was with my family in the UK for about a month, flying straight out from Seattle after getting my diploma from school (woohoo, finally completed something!), and I spent almost the whole month dealing with preparations and executions of our second “wedding” – a blessing service and second reception for all of my friends and family in the UK. Suffice to say, the day was glorious, beautiful, fun, and everything we wanted it to be, and I look at the photographs of it all and wonder if we were really so lucky – or was it just a fabulous dream?

So, September has snuck in, and the weather is quietly beginning to turn. After the spate of wildfires that have hit Washington this summer with so much sunshine and so little rain, when the heavens finally opened over the last few days, it was a relief to everybody. Of course, it had to be accompanied by some high winds which have ripped down trees and knocked out the power across the county. Our power went out for about twelve hours on Saturday, which was when we realised we had no candles, no backup plan for cooking, and only a handful of bottled water – when your well and your cooker rely on electricity, and your power might be out for a few days, it’s best to be a little better prepared than that…

Walmart saved us, and we equipped ourselves with some essentials (my preferred essential being some UHT milk so I could at least still have some tea if the milk in the fridge went bad. Priorities, people). We now have a little propane camping stove that I can cook on, some candles, headlamps, an extra case of bottled water, and three cartons of UHT milk. There’ll be no shortage of tea in our next power outage!

We were lucky to have our power back over night, and other people around the county are still waiting for their power to be restored. Everybody is grateful for the work being done to put life back to normal.

Here on the homestead, I’m grappling with finding “normal”. In a fit of productivity, I began painting the living room the other day, but the prospect of moving all of the book shelves and furniture in order to get around the whole room is rather daunting, and now I’m floating about in painting limbo. I finally tidied up the spare room only to fill it with junk again. I had to tear apart most of the kitchen in order to deal with a fruit fly infestation, and have only just put it back together again. I’m trying to find a routine, but for some reason, it is just not happening. I’m consoling myself with the thought that balance will come eventually, just sometimes it takes quite a bit of swinging from one thing to another before everything comes to rest just so.

One day at a time. And if I can remember and find the rhythm again, one blog at a time.

Home alone

Cowboy is away for the weekend, working cows for the Westside Team Penning Club. Sunshine had to go with him, as she is one of our most capable cow horses, and also good at taking care of beginners – and her rider this weekend has been on a horse all of two times. He has natural talent, so I am sure they will be fine. I stayed behind to hold the fort.

I’m not entirely alone, either. Blue Dog is sulking on the sofa beside me, and Richard is prowling about the house catching flies. For horse companions, Mr T is always happy to see me, and we have another horse here in training who is quite the character.

And just outside our living room window is this wonderful rhododendron bush covered in flowers. The bush is teeming with bees, happily going about their business. It is one of those things that makes me happy every time I look at it.

This happy bush is full of bees. I could watch them all day.Have a great weekend, all.

Coming up for air, and the power of Home

One of my tutors at massage school likes to include slides in her presentations that are pictures of soothing scenes, to remind us to breathe during class. As I sit here in the corner of Panera Bread, sipping on an iced tea, I have finally found a suitable pause in life, where I am reminded to breathe.

What a whirlwind it has been. Cowboy and I have moved into our new home, and I can finally spout off about how glorious it is. We are no longer on a busy corner – we are tucked away down a dead end street. The hills roll up behind the house, so our tiny little home feels safely nestled into the land. I can look out on our fields and garden from almost every window in the house. There are songbirds everywhere (while Sir Richard is corralled in the house, at least). When the sun was out over the weekend, and I could stand in the middle of the drive and feel totally at peace, I almost made a vow never to leave the place again.

I underestimated what home really meant. While we were renting, I pinned my sense of home on who I was with – whether living with friends in London and Brighton, or living with my parents, or finally moving in with Cowboy, and wherever he laid his hat was our home. I had a collection of items that came with me everywhere that I lived, and if I had those few things around me, I could make myself feel at home just about anywhere.

Then we signed the papers at the title company. Then we were given the keys. Then I stepped in though the old door into the tiny kitchen, and looked at it all. I felt the walls embrace me. I felt the floor press into my feet, lifting me up. I felt the roof folding over our heads, protecting us. That’s a lot of new age hokeyness for a British person to admit to. That’s a lot of hokey woowoo. But this is my Home now.

The house is old, dating back to the 1920s. (This is where everybody in Britain laughs, because that isn’t an old building. Heck, I grew up in a Victorian house that wasn’t even that old by some standards, and outdates this house by some 50 years. The village church where my parents live is from 10something. 1920s is laughable.) In America, this is an old house. It needs some care and time spent on it.  The windows and doors need sanding and repainting. There are a few leaks here and there. The lovely thing is that I don’t mind that this work needs doing. I am excited to spend time with this house, and to put my touch and energy into it. The back seat of my car is currently hosting several gallons of paint, ready to slap on the walls. I can finally unleash all of the tricks that I pretend I have learned from watching the home improvement channel.

One of the unexpected effects of finally being Home was how much better I sleep now. I wake up feeling truly rested and ready for the day. This is handy, given how much work I have to do over the next week. I will need every ounce of strength and energy that I have.

I’ll be sharing some of my home improvement projects here!