Spring

With temps in the 70’s this past Saturday, I hoped that Spring was upon us, and yet, here in Connecticut, it has been rainy and cold all this week, still feeling a bit like winter. Sigh.

Spring can’t come soon enough. And with this time of year comes spring cleanup. Like any relatively rural setting, the small yard of the little house is full of downed branches, broken limbs, leaves, and brush. Underneath the brush, small green, living things are poking out, waiting patiently to make a big entrance. It is time for the rebirth to happen, and what a joy to watch it unfold.

But the newness of the earth can’t happen without loss. Watching everything go dormant in November is a stark reminder that things begin… and they end. And you can probably see where I’m headed… that the end is sometimes gloomy for all who must weather the snow and barren landscapes.

Surprise.

Surprise!

Two heads popped up from the edge of the air mattress.

“Good morning!” I said.

Our dear friends, Juan and Kate, were staying with us. This was our first foray into having house guests and we weren’t sure that the little house, with its 660 square feet, could accommodate more than two people overnight. But we definitely wanted to give it a shot.

Furry Grey Cat

Southeast Lighthouse on Block Island

And… we’re back.

After a four-week hiatus, there’s lots to talk about and stories to tell. Because… who doesn’t go to Block Island in the frigid temps, with the wind whipping off the ocean and where the only thing open in town is the grocery store?

But let’s back up…

The Grinch or Cindy Lou Who?

Recently someone asked me where the material for my blog comes from … and I’ll share with you that TRULY it is simply the goings on of a normal life. And as I get ready to write this content, I am quite certain that variations of this story have happened to you this week.

We are in the midst of the holiday season… the season of goodwill toward all people, young and old, gift giving, hugs, kindness, snowflakes and an optimistic view toward a coming year full of better things and new beginnings.

Cindy Lou Who

With this spirit in mind, I started this week like Cindy Lou Who. By way of reminder, in the 1957 Dr. Seuss classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch is a lonely character who watches the events of the town below his mountain perch with aggravation, malevolence and not a small amount of carefully hidden jealousy. The story describes his heart as “two sizes too small.” No question, books could be written (and probably have been) on the correlation between the Grinch character and human characteristics during this would-be joyful season. Cindy Lou Who, meanwhile, is a happy little Whoville girl who awaits the arrival of Christmas but is grounded enough to know that the season is really about love, versus gifts and garland.

Just When You Think You’re Done…

“So what do you think?” I asked our electrician.

There was a long pause.

We were standing in front of the electrical box inside the “little house,” which boasted a tangle of wires heading in every direction. The mess extended to outside the house, where a wire literally went through a hole in the gutter. Now call me crazy, but it has always been my understanding that electricity and water don’t mix. Alarming? A little.

Who Should Know?

Christmas wreath at the little house, 2017

Last Friday was annual wreath-making day. Excited, I wound my car from the “little house” down the mountain, through the woods, past Mitchell’s Farm and along Lake Zoar. Then over the Silver Bridge and left onto the country road that leads to my mother’s cottage.

Reality Sets In

Autumn in New England

As we moved during the last month, the New England leaves peaked, the boxes were unpacked, and “closet space reality” came into shocking perspective.

Let me describe the “walk-in closet” at the little house.

The Fun that is Ikea

Ikea boxes
Our boxes at Ikea (New Haven, CT)

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Ikea, but it’s got a setup that’s a bit like a maze. And from a marketing and sales perspective, it’s pretty brilliant. The store takes you on a winding path through various showrooms where it showcases the many pieces of clever furniture that you can purchase (and assemble yourself). It’s the store you can’t get out of, and somehow (at least initially) don’t want to leave.

Downsizing has meant that the right storage is critical in small spaces – and we’re realizing that we don’t quite have the right configuration. So….

Family

Packing 1
Packing the kitchen at the condo

My blog has been quiet for a few weeks. Because… we moved.

More on that in a minute.

Loading the piano into the truck for storage

Where are we in terms of progress on downsizing and finishing the “little house?” Doing nicely I think. The house now has a happily painted exterior, painted interior to include closets (they were gross), a new fridge and a decorated living room. The bookshelves are full and the propane fireplace went on for the first time the other night as the temperature dropped. It’s been a ton of work. Loads. But incredibly satisfying.

Along the way, our family has been eagerly following our progress… sometimes with an eyebrow raised and maybe just a little bit of doubt. But overall, the voices have been encouraging and full of hope for our new life tucked among the farms of Connecticut.

The Quaker Diner

The Quaker Diner, West Hartford, CT

After weeks, okay months, of painting at our new fixer upper, there was paint lingering in the crevices of my fingers and paint on the bottom of several pairs of shoes. I felt my relationship with blue tape had evolved to a new and perhaps disturbing place. MyUPSGuy was talking about the merging of paint “wet into wet” to the point where I was wondering if the fumes had gotten to him… it was definitely time for a break.