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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
My blog has been quiet for a few weeks. Because… we moved.
More on that in a minute.
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.
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.
When we bought our little fixer upper and the acreage it sits on, we immediately focused on cleaning, trips to the dump and lots & lots of painting. As we busied ourselves with house and grounds improvement, the 2 ½ acre field that makes up half the property was growing… and growing. To the point where the grass, scrub and prickly bushes were waist high.
“I’m going to mow the field,” MyUPSGuy claimed in the driveway of the “little house.”
One of the things I’ve been thinking about since we closed on the “little house” in May and began this journey of downsizing is that I am certainly not the first person who has come up with the concept of minimizing. As a matter of fact there are numerous websites, all orchestrated and written by folks who are downsizing, small-ifying, removing clutter, living in a tiny house (have you seen that show – Tiny House Nation??), and in general trying to live life in a way that has less clutter, more sanity and works for them.