Saturday, May 16, 2020

SHE SAID SHE SHED

Walls and A Roof
Several months before John and I even thought about getting married, we were watching tv one night, and a well-known commercial came on. It was for insurance, and depicted the burning of Sheryl's She Shed. John had never heard of such a concept, but thought it was a good idea. I am referring to the building, not the burning.   And that was the beginning of my She Shed. We've talked about it a lot since then, always as something that would happen someday. And that day has arrived.
This has been a busy week. They started on my building on Monday morning, and today (Friday) the workmen finished. Of course, it's not a house, but I was surprised how quickly it has been coming together. There is a lot left to do. The wiring and drywall is installed, but all the finish work is ours to do.
 It is close to the house, nestled in by the patio and deck, and near the garage, and tool shed. It will be white, trimmed in black. That is the same color scheme that is on the rest of the buildings here. I had planned on shutters, but forgot to tell them that. However, I will have window boxes. And a sign. And a wreath on the door. I am looking forward to a place to decorate. I love our old farmhouse, but it has been lived in for a long time by many other people. It will take awhile before it truly reflects my taste.
Starting to Paint.
There is another window on the side wall, which is larger. I wanted a lot of wall space, because I have a lot to hang on the walls. I know I will probably fill most of the area! I am hoping for a look that is not overly crowded, but that may not happen!  I still have so many treasures that have survived several moves and lifestyle changes in the past years.  I am in the process of doing a final clearout of a storage unit that I have held onto for too many years. I am going through boxes and a house that is also filled with too many things, and trying to keep only what I really want.
Many years ago, in my old life as a young wife, I owned a small home business called HerbPatch, making and selling "herbal gifts and pleasantries". For quite a while, my work area was in our busy (family of seven) laundry room. We had an old milk house on our property, and my late husband renovated it for me. I always suspected that he was tired of picking bits of lavender out of his clothes! I spent many of my favorite hours there. It was much more rustic than this new building, but, it too, was a special place, Two of the walls had floor to ceiling shelves, filled with gallon sized glass jars of dried flowers and herbs. A large wooden table filled most of the room.  At the time, with five young children, I called it My Place of Serenity. I have thought of Serenity Cottage as a name for my new building, but now my life is serene almost all of the time. I'm not sure if I need to be reminded to be serene. I want to call it a cottage instead of a she shed because I have loved seeing so many beautifully named cottages during my visits to England. Nearly all the houses in my favorite little villages have names and signs on or beside their doors.  I am thinking of something quaint but not overly cutesy. I would enjoy hearing any suggestions.
I no longer make flower arrangements and potpourri to sell, but I will be doing lots more  papercrafting, sewing, and reading, and writing. I am starting to feel more creative, just knowing I have a room of my own.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

And More of the Same




A Short Walk Around the Neighborhood
We are still staying home, as is just about everyone these days. In a few days we will celebrate our first half year of marriage. (April 12). During this time I think we have spent more time together than most couples! Our first two months involved a lot of time in cars, and car dealerships, since ours decided not to behave on our honeymoon. We managed to have adventures anyway, although it was a bit of a stressful time. I spent a lot of moments determined to be cheerful, and I think I managed very well under the circumstances. John is very easy to get along with, but he is a man who loves routine. Sometimes I think my main routine is a lack of routine!
He Drives. I Stitch and Talk.
We are "a bit older" than most newlyweds, so we have more than seventy years of memories, recollections, and reminiscing to catch up on. We talk a lot. And as long as I stay away from the tv remote and politics, we get along very well. Just tonight we discovered that both of our fathers liked to eat fried corn meal mush. I don't think most people even remember that. I'm not sure if grocery stores even carry it anymore. Of course, it has been weeks since I have been in a grocery store. Or any store. We have been taking this stay at home thing very seriously.  We do take walks. John works outside when the weather is nice enough.  I have been putting things away, as so many of my possessions have been in storage for several years. Sometimes it feels like Christmas when I open boxes and rediscover items I had almost forgotten. And then I need to decide what to do with them in my new home. And to make things blend when so many different tastes are involved.
I also watch a lot English cozy murder mysteries. We just subscribed to one of the British channels, and I will happily confess to binge watching. I feel a little guilty not multi tasking, so I have been keeping busy with hand sewing. In January I purchased a block of the month kit, and for the first time ever I am caught up. I have been waiting for over a week for April's wool and it finally arrived today. They do look a little wonky here, so don't examine them closely. I think it will all go together well when it's done. I've never stitched a big project like this one before. And now I can watch charming  English mayhem without guilt.
                                                                             
                                                                             
February
January

March
 That is what we've been doing here. There is lots I didn't mention, such as the worry and the prayers. Our lives haven't changed much, but I know this is making major differences for many others. We miss seeing our children and grandchildren. It is difficult knowing that we can't be there to make this
staying at home easier for others. Stay safe everyone. And may this soon be over, and may we all remember and enjoy the things that make life precious.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Fun Times at Home



We are living in a different world than we expected, aren't we? Our state, Iowa, isn't under an official "shelter in place" order, but of course nearly every one is doing just that.  Even though we have been staying in for over a week, it seems like much longer. 
My last big outing was to the grocery store, with one quick trip to Menard's. I am starting to notice how often I usually leave the house. Normally I do go to work at least two or three times a week, but not now. I don't usually think of myself as a shopper, but do like to go to a bookstore, library, and craftshop more often than I realized. Those are my "happy places." I like to wander around and get inspired. I'm pretty sure I like these stores because the clerks, though friendly, are usually unlikely to chat. I am not much of a chatterer. That is actually helping me now. John and I are used to living a pretty quiet life, so all this isn't as big a change for us as for many. Luckily, we don't have to worry about a big change in income, since we are mostly retired. The biggest difference for us is that we are no longer going out to dinner several times a week. We received a lot of restaurant gift cards for our wedding five months ago, and have been using them quite steadily. I've made no secret of being a begin-again cook. I realize that I have had several years of snacking instead of cooking!  It still surprises me that my new husband likes to eat dinner every night. He is a very good sport about it all, and he really isn't a very adventurous diner. This is probably good for me, because I do not like long and complicated recipes. I have discovered that I don't like to spend more time with food prep than it takes to eat the finished dish. I do spend a lot of time looking at recipes, just because I enjoy it. I'm not sure if it means anything though. I also like to spend a lot of time reading diet books.


I need to show our new whirligig. It's a bi-plane, and was adorably rusty when we bought it. I am attracted to men who like to paint purposely rusted yard ornaments. Years ago, I came home from work one day and Jim had painted all my yard art glossy white. John painted this one red, white, and blue. We found a Snoopy on a shelf, who fits almost perfectly. (He did have to have surgery on one leg) He still needs a goggle and helmet to be a proper Red Baron, but I did knit him a red scarf. When the wind blows, the plane flies, the propeller twirls, and the scarf blows. It is pretty cute, even if it isn't what I would have thought to be my style.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Luck of the Irish


Happy St Paddy's Day. This beautiful hand embossed picture was a wedding present from my daughter-in-law and oldest son. Thank you Jim and Kristan. It hangs by our front door, so I can see and read it every day.

" May your troubles be less
And your blessings be more.
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door"

One of those simple Irish verses that manage to say it all, isn't it?

          Tess and Finn---Younger Days

My Irish Girls
Erin, Meg, Bridget
This is going to be the strangest March 17th that any of us have lived through. And I certainly hope it is the most unusual one that we will ever have to remember. There won't be a lot of celebrating going on I think, because almost everything is closed. The Corona virus has become a chilling reality. None of us knows what to expect. I don't think that it really hit me until I went to the grocery store and saw that so many aisles were empty. They were completely out of all the meats that I planned to buy. There were almost no canned goods. Hardly any soups, or fruits or vegetables. And everyone knows that paper products and cleaning supplies can barely stay on the shelves. And the sad thing is that it isn't because of lack. This has been caused by fear and hoarding. No one needs to have too much of anything.
The past several years have turned me into a bit of a minimalist in the area of food supplies, because I didn't have a kitchen. As a fraternity House Mom, I had a chef for five years, and really did very little grocery shopping. Now I am learning to cook again, and to plan meals. But we have only shopped for what we needed. I haven't had a full pantry or freezer. And we go out to eat a lot of nights. Seriously, a lot. Many restaurants have already closed. There is a very good chance that everyone will need to be quarantined for weeks if this virus is going to be controlled. 
Green Eggs and Ham
Lately, I have been seriously trying to be healthier. I just started a series of Pilates classes, and have started to feel a difference. And now my gym is closed. I have been flirting with the Keto diet, or at least a low carb version of proteins and veggies. As of today that is no longer working for me. Sadly, crisis has turned me into a monster for chips and chocolate. Tomorrow is another day, and I will hopefully come to my senses again before it is too late.




           

        

 From Me and Mine, 
     To You and Yours.               May the Future Be Bright             And Even Be Better 
     Than All of the Past
 Happy St Patrick's Day

Saturday, December 21, 2019

2019 Christmas Decorating


I remember my first married Christmas. I was nineteen, and Jim and I had just bought our first house. We had a big, live tree, with handmade decorations and tiny white lights. Many of them were made with salt dough and cookie cutters, and then painted. Patchwork styrofoam balls with modpodged fabric were popular then. I think I actually strung popcorn and cranberries for it too. We hardly had any furniture. I remember arranging tv trays in the corners to look like tables.
Obviously, times have changed. Over the years, I collected a lot of decorations. Most of them were still handmade or gifts from friends.I have always decorated for Christmas, but not with a lot of sparkle. I have never had a themed tree, or one with a color scheme different than traditional holiday hues. No life sized Santas or light up reindeers for me. I think the wildest I ever got was my Christmas village. It was actually made from several different villages, using only my favorite pieces. I've never wanted things to match too much.
 I put most of my decorations away a few years ago, and didn't open the boxes again for quite a while. I had a small tree for me, with paper decorations cut from antique books. I let the youngest grands decorate their own little trees. Most of the ornaments have been in storage, along with our original Christmas stockings. I didn't start listening to holiday music again until last year. But now, I am living through my own winter thaw. It is so good to be enjoying Christmas again.
It's been several years since I have lived in a real house. As a fraternity House Mom, I had one rule: it must not be breakable. It was a good rule.
 Now I am living a new life,and it's one I didn't count on happening for me. Especially at the age of seventy. I am in a house again, and decorating for a merry, happy Christmas. We are watching Christmas movies again. We are looking at the lights and drinking hot chocolate. We are discussing the merits of tiny white fairy lights versus big colorful bulbs. (The bulbs won). We even have bubble lights on our tree! (I hadn't seen them since my childhood!) I don't think I went overboard with the decorating, because, in truth, we are still putting things away, and trying to decide what goes where. And we are blending his and mine. Some of my favorites, some of his, and new ones that we have acquired together. Our styles don't always meld, but that is to be expected, since we each have each lived over 50 years with all our "stuff".  We have too much furniture, and are still trying to make it look like it belongs together. We will probably be "a work in progress" for the rest of our lives, but that's okay.


"John's Morning Routine" painted by his son
My favorite cupboard
Large Crochet Stocking

Santas and Trees and Subtle Lights

More Trees and Handmade Garlands
And Gifts From Friends

Portion of  John's SnowGlobe Collection

My Advent Lighthouse

Our Library

Another View of  "The Library"
More Bookcases Unseen
My Favorite, Favorite Bookcase
Finally Out of Storage

John and Sandi's First Tree Together
Ornaments from Clear Lake and Laramie
And Our Wedding Decorations
"Just Married"
The Beginning

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

On The Road Again

Who ever would have guessed that I am a gypsy cowgirl? I love this town! We got our car back yesterday afternoon and all went well. I am going to miss the push button start and especially the heated seats on the rental.
Last night we went to a lovely restaurant called "Altitude". We do notice the altitude here. It is nearly 8000 feet. We are used to less than a thousand. So many of the shops are on the second stories of the old buildings. (Remember when I mentioneded the brothels?) Lots and lots of stairs!!
Today we shopped and our first stop was the bookstore we visited last time. Next door is a used bookstore and coffee shop called Night Heron Books.  There are lots of little coffee shops and candy stores. 



 "The Chocolate Cellar" is another great shop. I have never seen such a display of antique chocolate boxes and  candy tins.



I loved "Cowgirl Yarns." We actually saw four men come in while we were there, so I'm hoping John didn't feel too out of place. One of the men sat down and worked on his knitting.
Another really fun shop was "Miss Etta's Place." Remember Etta Place, The Sundance Kid's lady friend. Loved it. They even had a free hot chocolate bar. I felt like I was in a Hallmark movie!
We did more shopping and bought several ornaments for our first tree together. We had a very good day and planning for an uneventful ride home
tomorrow. Yippee Yi Yo and a Merry, merry Christmas!


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Wife Life: Trouble In Paradise


First of all, I need to set the stage and remind you all that I have a history with electronic devices. And it isn't a good history. From the time I got my first computer, and it took 157 sign-ins before I could actually connect with the internet until today's debacle with the remote,  I have always had unusual experiences. I can't even count the number of times that internet technicians have said to me, "I've never seen this happen before!!!
Every once in a while I visit a psychic for a card reading. (Doesn't everyone?) She was very quick to point out that I probably had trouble with this very thing. She said it was a sign of my powerful intuitive aura and electrical field or some such magical explanation.
My children would be the first to tell you that this is true. They will not let me use their computers or their phones.
So, today, I had a little mishap with the tv remote. I hardly touched it, but it wouldn't play nice. Finally, after a lot of exasperation, John was able to get it back to where it was supposed to be. I won't say that I have been banned completely from the remote, but I don't think the tv and I  will be on very good terms for a while. It occurred to me that our first fight just might be about a television.
Actually, things are going really well. There isn't any trouble here. I just thought it made a good title. Of course, there are so many changes in both our lives. Being a newlywed after many years of marriage, followed by several years of being alone, is bound to have some adjustments.  Learning someone else's routine is necessary. After years and years, we are used to doing everything a certain way, without really thinking about why or how. I have moved into a house where John has lived for nearly thirty years. He has raised a family, and had a wonderful, loving wife, who wasn't me.  And, I too, have all my memories of another life. It will take a while before we have adjusted to living in this house together.  At some point, we may decide to move, but right now this is best.
He has been so good about everything, while I am rearranging furniture, and adding my own considerable collections and personality to an already lived in and loved in space. I know it's difficult when I move something away from where it's always been, but he is always cheerful about it. Well, almost always. There is that little thing with the remote.






























































































Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Wife Life

Hard to believe, but I have been a married woman for five weeks! Our life is pretty normal and calm, and I am loving it. I've been quiet here, so I guess it's time to catch up on the everydayness.
I am still working part time for the fraternity and for the funeral home, so I am finding myself busier than I want to be, especially with the holidays coming. I am trying to work my volunteering back into my schedule, but I haven't been too successful yet. You just can't keep adding things without taking something away, can you?

When I last wrote, we had just come back from our half honeymoon. Our car is still enjoying Wyoming, but we haven't seen it. This week we were finally going to pick it up, after the dealership called and said it was ready. All was well, the weather was good, and we were going to take a road trip. But they called us back to let us know it had failed the test drive, and now the transmission is out of commission......AGAIN.  At this point, we will likely decide to have it towed back to Iowa, rather than gamble on winter weather. I am hoping to to return to Laramie, even if only to visit The Second Story Bookstore again.

 This building was built in 1889 as a public hall, and was the site of many large concerts and dances. Some of the events were the Annual Brakeman's Ball, Machinist's Ball, and the Union Pacific Orchestra Gala. Wyoming was a Railroad Town!


The building became a hotel in the mid 1890's. Downtown Laramie was right in the middle of the Red Light District for several years, and all the little rooms and alcoves which are now filled with books were well used by the local cowboys and "soiled doves"

 The upstairs bookstore was renovated and rented to the owners in 1992. They have owned the building since 1995 and are delightful. This was the favorite place we visited on our half-a-moon. We have a love of books and book shops in common. (Remember, we had a book theme wedding!) We had our own version of books on tape on our trip. He drove and I read aloud. I haven't done this since my children were small. John loves to learn about World War II and airplanes, so our book was "Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe" by Robert Matzen. That's not a book I would have normally read, but I really enjoyed it. And now I know a lot about fighter pilots.  I would have probably picked a cozy British mystery. He usually reads non-fiction and biographies. We are a very well rounded couple. I am talking about our literary tastes, not our size, but, yeah, that, too.

Tune in again for "Wife Life: The Times and Adventures of an Elderly Newlywed"  Maybe someday people will be reading this aloud on road trips!




Sunday, October 20, 2019

HALF A HONEYMOON

We are home. I have to say it seemed like we were gone a really long time, but that is because so much of it was spent in cars. We ended up with three of them! A big thank you to the GM dealership in Laramie, who really went above and beyond to see that we had a car. They contacted General Motors and they rented us a car to get back home. They actually had to get special permission to get a Ford, since the rental place didn't have any Chevys. It will be a few weeks before our car is ready. The transmission went out, (2017, and only 30,000 miles) and because of a strike, car parts are difficult to get.  We have the rental until ours is fixed and then have to have it back in 2 days. It's about a 10 hour drive, so when they call, we have to be ready to go. It reminds me of packing a bag to have a baby!
We are pretty sure that the fact that we were in our 70's and on our honeymoon helped. We played that card as often as we could. Hoping to be able to take a couple of days and see some of the attractions we missed the first time.  I didn't get to the quilt store, but I went to my newest favorite bookstore ever. I can't wait to tell you about it. And I really want to get some good pictures of the scenery that aren't through the car windows.
We still want to go Oregon someday. But we are thinking of flying.
New Ford Fusion: Our Current Ride

The following is copied from my earlier Facebook Posts. I wasn't able to blog from my phone.

LARAMIE, WYOMING 
Our second car
Luckily for me I have my little sewing corner set up, so I have been stitching away while we decide our next step. We finally got in late last night, and the first motel we went to didn't have any available rooms! Then we found another one close to the car dealership, so this is where we will be for the next few days.They have given us a car for the weekend. They aren't sure when they can even look at it, because 4 cars were towed in ahead of us! Laramie is a pretty historic place so I've found an old mansion for us to visit. There was also a Brothel tour, but we missed it. In the old days, Laramie was called Hell-on-Wheels, a wild old railroad town. It was also the first place that women were allowed to vote. And I hear it has a pretty good quilt shop. We are still blissfully happy with everything except the car.

UTAH
I'm not able to blog on my phone, but here are the highlights of our marriage
so far.
1. We had a beautiful suite at the Marriott.
2. After dinner, I stood up and tipped the wobbly high top table over. Two full glasses of water absolutely drenched my dress. I grabbed the chair. The table hit the chair, and we all hit the floor. I ended up with a swollen lip and a bruise on my chin. No, I was not inebriated.
3. First day of honeymoon went very well, except Nebraska vies with Wyoming as most boring state to drive through.
4. Things finally started to get prettier as we got to Ogden, Utah. Unfortunately that's when the car started to misbehave. We checked in to a Hampton Inn. Sorry to say that the very small room in this one was $100.00 more than the nice large one in Sydney, Nebraska's Hampton Inn. They did give us a free bottle of water. ( I guess this must be common. Our second hotel went up $100. for our second night. It was Homecoming weekend. Luckily, we didn't have to stay another night)
5. This morning we took the car to a dealership. (2017 and still under warranty) They couldn't find anything wrong.
6. Found a great needlework shop. Yea!
7.Car still not feeling quite right so we decided to head back. Mostly fine all day
8. As I write this we are in a tow truck headed toward Laramie which is 70 miles from where our car completely stopped. We waited one and a half hours for it to get here. Two troopers stopped to see if we were ok, and a man who calls himself The Alien also stopped. It is so dark here that a person cannot see anything but other headlights no matter where one looks.Not sure of the next step yet, but I think this marriage will survive, and the wedding was lovely.
9. I know that I would not make a good pioneer. Ever.


Our Impala.  John, tell us how you really feel

Monday, October 14, 2019

Mr and Mrs Brafford

And We Are Married

Our Immediate Families 

Outside the Yellow House


The Yellow House

On October 12, 2019 I changed my name. I am now Sandra Moran Brafford. And I couldn't be happier. Everything went as planned, and was perfect. Except I cried like a baby when I said my vows. This surprised everyone I think, especially me.
We had a book themed wedding. Next time I will show more pictures of all the ways we used books in the ceremony. John was such a good sport. He has loaded and unloaded my bookcases several times in the past few weeks. They made the perfect wedding arch. We decorated the shelves with special items, and books, of course. I tried to find book titles that included all the names, but ran out of time. Some of the ones that I thought would be most difficult to find were actually easy. I found grandsons Oskar and Cass right away, but got stuck on more common names. And if I had proceeded, I would have filled all the shelves with books.
We took a family photo  and almost thought we would get everyone. Oskar and his new brother Leif, stayed home in Minnesota with their mama, since Baby is only a few days old. Two of the KC grands were sick and couldn't come either. We'll keep trying for that big photo.
We had lots of help putting everything together and I am so grateful for all my talented friends and family. They helped to create just the wedding we wanted.
I walked down the aisle to an Eagles song, "No More Cloudy Days". One of our early dates was at an Eagles concert, and that quickly became "our" song.  Our ceremony was very short, but meaningful
Our Readings
Life is amazing and then it's awful. And then it's amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it's ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful and relax and exhale through the ordinary. That's just living, heartbreaking, soul-healing , amazing, awful, ordinary life.  And it's breathtakingly beautiful.                    (Anon)

And now at last
They were beginning
Chapter One
of the great story
No one on earth
Has ever read 
Which goes on forever
In which every chapter is 
Better than the one before.                  C.S. Lewis

The Vows

John:   You have brought light back into my life. You are my today and all of my tomorrows.
And when we are old, let's sit at the breakfast table for hours, watching the birds and the squirrels. Let's walk together, (holding hands) in the evening as the sun goes down, and sit on the porch, reading aloud from our books, But mainly, we'll just love each other.

Sandi: (CRYING LOUDLY)  I didn't want to fall in love or to need someone ever again.I really didn't want anything. But then you appeared and became everything I wanted. You are my home and my adventure.
You are my love story
And I write you into
Everything I do
Everything I see
Everything I touch
And everything I dream
You are the words
That fill my pages.

     The Rings

This ring is a token of my love for you. I marry you with this ring. And with all that I have. And all that I am.

It was very short and absolutely wonderful. I wanted to post it here, in case you missed it because of all the crying.  
And now the wedding is ended, And the marriage begins!

                      



Thursday, September 26, 2019

Moving-The Saga Continues


You would think I would be all moved by now. But I am not. I don't know why they call it "Moving Day". I've done it several times now and it always takes me a month. This time I planned it out, and started early. I was living in just two rooms for the past few years, so how much stuff could I have? Well, obviously, much more than I admit. Whenever I move, my main problem is paper. Books, magazines and files take up a large portion of space in my life. I don't know how it happens, but two narrow bookcases contain at least fifteen boxes of books when they are packed up. Heavy books! The math doesn't seem to match. Yes, I do have more than two bookcases. And files! I just can't believe it when people say you will never look at them again. I want to see everything.
I previously wrote about the bathtub story. I am still living it. My computer just broke. I may have dropped a box on it which contributed to its' sudden demise. When I went to buy a new one, I accidently backed into someone's new car in the parking lot. My House Mom job didn't end a month ago like I thought it would, and has involved some time consuming duties I wasn't planning to have. I found out that I can't have my mail forwarded because I am moving from a business to a residential address. So I am trying to let everyone know. And I will be changing my name. To add an extra little bit of complication and humiliation I sat in a chair which collapsed, and gave me several aches and bruises. I have cut out just about everything in my days recently that isn't necessary. (Okay, I did see the Downton Abbey movie, but that was absolutely necessary).
I have a new laptop now, but I am still trying to get used to it. Important files keep disappearing. Even now, my sentences are melting away, even as I write them. Am I the only one that has this happen? I've spent hours lately searching for things I need and used to have.
And now our wedding is only 2 weeks and 2 days away. There will be lots of changes! I no longer have a chef. I am enjoying cooking again, but you have to think about it every day!! I am learning to live with someone again. Really, twenty eight frat boys don't count. We are having a simple, but no longer small celebration. Most of the preparations are under control, if not finished. And I am sure it will come together. So I guess I am not yet a Bridezilla. Or, I am just in denial. Yes, that could be it. Today we got our marriage license. Now we are feeling pretty official! And very, very happy.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Bathtub In The Hallway Syndrome

When our children were small we lived in a big old nineteenth century farmhouse. It was a great place to raise them, and we loved living there. We spent most of the first several years building and unbuilding, adding on rooms, and knocking out walls to change other rooms. The kids thought having doorways covered with large sheets of plastic was the normal way to live.
Our house had a large bathroom on the main floor, and a laundry room that was quite a bit smaller. With five children, our laundry room was always busy, so we decided to change the rooms, and it was a good decision, but it was one of those projects that seemed to go on forever. I am sure we finished the laundry room first, because there was another bathroom with a tub and a shower on the second floor. During that time, our big, old clawfoot tub lived in the hallway, And it took up most of the space, so we were tripping over the tub for what seemed like months. The kids loved it, and spent a lot of time playing in the tub. Soon, I was tripping over both the tub and the the little people who thought they lived there. And of course, as things do, nothing went smoothly. Parts had to be specially ordered. The wallpaper rolls didn't match when they finally arrived. Etcetera, etcetera....
 I am not a woman who usually shares a lot with strangers, but I found myself telling anyone I saw about the bathtub in the hallway. People in the grocery store check out line, and the cashiers at the mall, all heard about my cast iron bathtub. (This tub was directly in the path of the kitchen and the laundry. These were the rooms where I spent a lot of my time in those days!) If someone said "Hello" or "How's your day?" or "What's new?", they would hear my long, sad, boring remodeling story. I couldn't stop talking about it. I was overwhelmed, and consumed by the disorder in my daily life.
And that is how I feel today. Good things are happening, and I am extremely happy. But the app on my phone reminds me that I am getting married in 51 days! NOTE TO SELF: Small, simple wedding plans never stay that way. And my calendar tells me I am moving in just 8 days. I worry, because, not only do I not have a kitchen now, I have hardly cooked at all in eight years. I worry, because I have gotten used to living alone. If one can call it living alone while sharing a house with twenty eight young men! I worry about combining and honoring our pasts, while building a new life together that is uniquely our own. I worry that I am still fat. And I worry just because I can think of all sorts of new things to worry about.
 Classes are starting in 4 days, and everyone has moved back into the Frat House this week. They just began a big reconstruction project here, because of water damage. This project was first scheduled early in the summer, and was supposed to be finished weeks ago, before we had a full house. This fall it is noisier than usual, since parts of the public space are off limits until the work is completed.   I am now in full blown "Bathtub in the Hallway Syndrome."
My symptoms are a little different, but at this time I am definitely Overwhelmed and Underorganized.  I am trying a few different ways to not feel overloaded. They may or may not be helping. I am working very hard to be conscious of where I put my phone, my purse, my glasses, and my keys. Even though I live in a very small space, I can lose anything here, and I have, especially now that there are boxes everywhere. I can hold something in my hand, and, in a minute, it is gone and I have to spend time looking in all the unlikely places I may have set it down. I think it is because this space has never really felt like my home.
I started going through all the boxes in my storage area. I really wish I hadn't taken on that project right now, but I don't want to carry all of this with me to my future life. The last two times I moved, I just put all the papers and memorabilia in boxes without sorting or looking at it. It wasn't time yet, and I couldn't face it. Now, I am ready to let go of things I have kept too long, but it still isn't easy. I keep telling myself that I don't need every word I have ever written, every craft supply, every book I have bought, and every decorative item. I don't have a lot of furniture anymore, but I have substituted with lots and lots of little things.
Now, as the deadline nears, I am saying no to a lot of people and projects. And cancelling appointments. If I have ignored you, not returned your call, or have just disappeared for a while, I guess I just have to say "Sorry, not sorry."  You are probably lucky. I would just be talking about the phantom bathtub anyway!