balance.

It seems amazing to me how much less I write when I’m feeling more balanced. A year ago, we would be just home from Nepal and I was in survival mode; probably one of the lowest points in my life. This year, in contrast, has been so much calmer. It was like the changes that needed to happen, needed to happen, and now that they have, I’m feeling significantly better.

Jayan and I are home, on our own, tonight, my husband having gone to an anniversary party of some friends. My husband does DJ work as a side thing (mostly because he enjoys it, not because he makes a lot from it), and he said there would probably be too much noise for our son. He’s probably right. So, he’s there and we’re here, waiting on a pepperoni pizza and a couple of Cokes.

I told my husband that I might just finish the painting in the kitchen, but that clearly isn’t happening, tonight.

My parents helped us to take out an odd piece of soffet that at some point must have held overhead cabinets over where we currently have a small peninsula. That was about a month ago; my parents are workhouses, my mom also mudded and sanded the ceiling in the same day. Our job was to prime and paint the ceiling and the soffet that are remaining and hang up the light fixtures that I’m still not 100% sold on. I had the ceiling and the majority of the soffets primed but the primer was so runny/drippy, that I quit and haven’t wanted to come back to it.

(Side note? This auto correct on the tablet I’m using is driving me insane!! There has got to be a way to disable the dam thing…)

I think part of the problem, too, is that there isn’the enough change/color/contrast between the color that was there and the new primer. So, in other words, it’s boring for me to do. I’m sure you all understand.

The rest of the home? It’s coming. Rooms are feeling more and more complete. Thank god for eBay and Craigslist. I have had lots of luck finding pieces that work well together to furnish our home.

My mom says I should hire out my Craigslist skills. (The beautiful mahogany Story & Clark baby grand piano I found for $400 out of a beautiful Highland Park home in St. Paul was one of my best finds.)

I do think that Craigslist is similar to thrifting. You need to know what you want, you need to know the price you’re willing to spend and then you need to be ruthless about looking. Search often and pounce when you know you’ve found what you’re looking for, so you don’t lose it.

Most of the time, I end up purchasing the item I came to see and I always pay full asking price, because the item is already within what I have deemed “acceptable price” from the beginning. There have only been a few times that I’ve walked away. There was one time with some side tables that were wobbly and another time with a chair more dirty than I was comfortable with. (Did I mention that being okay with a level of imperfection is totally a part of Craigslisting, too?)

So. Anyway. I’m so pleased that our home is looking more cohesive and less thrown together. We actually have most of the main pieces in-place. That being said I do think that I’ll always be tweaking here and there, though, for things that will work better in scale, etcetera.

The interesting thing is that now that I have most of the furniture pieces, I’m thinking about more permanent changes like updating our backsplash tile and retiling the upstairs bathroom.

So, I admit, I have been nesting, totally. I love it, though. I love seeing how a space can change with a little paint. I think it really is the textiles that make the room, though. Pillows and draperies and rugs. Soften the hard edges.

We’re still talking about a baby. Maybe this will be the year? I am feeling better about it, now, especially since things are simmering down, more. Honestly, I sometimes worry about how much I can handle.

I remember those first months home with my son. It was amazing. I had absolutely no sleep and was lucky if I could manage a shower, but I was so at peace and so in love and it was incredibly clear that I was just where I needed to be at that moment in time. Have you had a moment like that? I hope that every person can have time like that, just being in your element.

It will be different, of course. Harder. I don’t know how our son would handle it. He has a hard time with noise; he spent much of the last flight we took, huddled against us, clasping his ears with his hands, because a small child was crying. It hurts his ears, of course, but he’s also incredibly sensitive and for him, crying means someone is hurt, and, of course he wouldn’t want that.

He was sick for two weeks this past month (first with influenza, followed by a urinary tract infection.) He has a congenital issue with one of his kidneys, so the fevers and the UTI were both pretty scary for us. We were talking at the time about how tough it is with one kid when they’re sick. What would we do with two…or three.

I guess we’ll figure it out, if the time comes. That’s what we do, right? Figure it out.

I was listening to the radio the other day just killing some time waiting for a girlfriend of mine, who was dropping off her car at the mechanic over our lunch hour. I scanned the channels and had just settled on a talk radio station. The guest was commenting on how our children are placed with us to help the parent in some area of their own development. Ironically enough, just a few days before I had listened to a different guest talk about a different book in an interview on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday  that had close to the exact same message: That the child chooses the parents. That the parents need the child, just as much as the child needs the parents.

It’s funny how the universe communicates when it wants us to hear, isn’t it?

slower.

I spent last night in the hospital.

I had pains in my lower abdomen throughout the day and after it wasn’t going away, I called the nurse line at my insurance and they advised to be seen within three hours. Me? I thought it was appendicitis. I went to urgent care. They took a blood draw and my sodium levels were critically low; I seemed coherent and so they had me sign a waiver and had me drive myself to the hospital.

I called my husband on the way. He was being a good dad/hubby and picking up our son from daycare for me, while I was being checked out.

“Hey, I’m being admitted to the hospital,” I said. “I’m on my way over. My room’s on the sixth floor.”

“Could you pick us up?” he said.

“What?” I was a little taken aback.

“Could you pick us up?”

The car had died. Right there, at the foot of our daycare provider’s driveway. He turned the car off when he went inside to pick our son up and when he got to the car, it wouldn’t start. He called a tow and were hanging out with our daycare person’s family.

He told me, after I picked them up, that Dawn had went to get gas to make sure that wasn’t the issue. I was thankful that they are good people and took care of my boys after hours, like that.

We went to the hospital together, were brought to the room. The nurses brought some sandwiches for the boys. I changed into a gown and a robe that was made for someone much larger than myself and then sat.

“If this turns out to be nothing, maybe I can just go home,” I said.

No, the nurses told me. I was there for the night.

I am normally to bed by nine at home – this writing at 10:30, like this, isn’t typical – but with people coming and going like they were, I couldn’t sleep. I watched episode after episode of Modern Family (love that show). My boys were curled up next to each other on the super hard foldout futon, snoring lightly (the little one) and heavily (the big one).

“Are you a night owl?” the nurses would ask, initially surprised that I was still up.

“No,” I said. “I just can’t relax.” I realized that it had been too long since I last watched Sex and the City. I had completely forgotten about Steve and his one ball.

Sleep was eventually.

So, today?

The blood draw at the hospital? Was normal. The x-rays? Didn’t show anything. The CT scan this morning? Nothing out of the ordinary.

I had kind of wished that there was something, just to validate the way I had felt. It made me feel like a kid at home, faking sick.

The evening doctor told me she suspected the reading at the urgent care was wrong. “When I talked with them on the phone, I asked them to re-run it, but they didn’t,” she told me. “I’m sorry.”

What this means for me? Is that the hospital room stay might not be covered by insurance.

It’s an expensive month for our little family. We had replaced the gutters on our home at the beginning of the month and had repaired our boiler (and upgraded our boiler system). We replaced our dishwasher, which had been needing repairs for longer than I should probably admit.

Now, a hospital stay that might not be covered and a new fuel pump for the car.

Like I said (or maybe I didn’t), we’ll be fine. But, wow. Talk about things creeping up on us. It felt at the beginning of the month like we were making progress – doing things that needed to be done and had to be done. The old gutters had failed and had to be replaced – the heat needed to work. It’s good to have clean dishes. It’s good to be in good health and have a car that works.

What were the odds for things happening the same day. I dunno.

We had our first snow this week. I came to the office, as usual; one of the only ones who did. The few of us who were in, checked in with the others; made the rounds to see who was there versus who wasn’t. The first snow of the year means that even in Minnesota, everyone takes things slower.

Even though the roads were a mess, having the snow on the ground…I dunno, it just made everything feel cozier, somehow. Like a new beginning.

Thanksgiving is this week. I took time off for Friday; I take off the day after Thanksgiving every year. I’m not a Black Friday kind of girl – the one year that I decided to work, I had an accident with my husband’s car on the way in. That was two years’ ago and I haven’t worked it since then. I’m superstitious about it, now.

It will be good to have time off with family.

The thing with the hospital? Ultimately, it was good for me to take the time to slow down. To stop. To rest.

I don’t do enough of that.

between then and now. (but not really.)

I realized today that I hadn’t written since May. And my post from May was posting pictures from February. And I didn’t say much about the in-between.

There was a lot that happened. Things are good, now. But for a while, it was very, very bad. Although, I admit, I do dramatize for effect, sometimes, and I get wrapped up in things more than I probably should. It just wasn’t good and I was stressed out, but made some changes that, thankfully, have seemed to work for the better.

I am feeling better now than I have in a long while. And I am thankful for that.

I don’t know that I have any readers, here. I have written so sporadically that anyone who does read, probably has read before and followed from somewhere else. One thing that you would know if you had read for a while is that I am a journal keeper – it’s actually one of the things that brought me to sharing my life online (and un-sharing…and sharing again.)

One of the things that I have found in my “journalling life” is that an issue will continue to repeat, like a cycle, until you do something about it that changes course. I have a few “theme issues” that repeat and repeat and repeat. But I needed to get to a breaking point before I could do anything about it…or at least, that’s what seems to need to happen for change to go down.

So, I made a very risky choice. And it worked out. But at first? I thought it backfired. And that I had made a very big mistake.

One of the things that I try to do is to think, “So what? What’s the worst possible thing that could happen?” (And this is difficult to do, because I go to the most dire, desperate situation EVER, because I think very black and white about everything.) And, I think I learned this from an episode of Dr. Phil that happened to be on when I needed to see it (like most things, if you pay attention), but it comes to reframing how you think about it: “This happened. Not the worst thing in the world. I made it through it. What next?” But when you’re in the thick of things? It’s very, very hard to do.

But, I made it through.

I was thinking this morning about my baby book. (Somehow, between waking and my shower, it popped into my brain. Weird. Does this happen to other people? Must be just me.) Anyway, there were three years’ between me and my next youngest sibling coming along, so the book was actually completed for more than the first year or two. (Which is more than I could say for my son’s book…) There was a section that included the first comments from the doctors and new parents about the baby.

Let me say, I was born three months’ premature and growing up, I refused to look at the “pre-due date” photos of myself. (A scrawny, ugly red chicken thing.) The comments? The doctor said “Baby – ok.” I don’t remember what my mom said. My dad said, “She’s tough.”

(He was always the optimist, my dad. He still is.)

It’s probably the only time I’ve been called “tough” my entire life. Quiet, yes. Sensitive, yes. Tough? Not so much.

When this year began, my husband and I talked about it and I said that I felt like it would be a good year. That I felt like things were shifting – that good things would be happening. We went to Nepal in the midst of all the crap and it was good to be a literal world away, at the time. Although I couldn’t really truly enjoy it.

Next trip will be better.

I wrote SO MUCH while we were in Nepal. The house was cold, but the roof was warm and we would sit out on battered sling-back chairs and read books or journal (me). I wrote over fifty pages and read over sixteen books (thank goodness they were on the Kindle). I felt smarter and more in-tune with myself than I had been in a long while. I thought about the kind of lives we are living; the kind of lives we want.

When we ended the trip, I had honestly debated just staying.

Maybe someday, we will.

For now, our lives are here. If my son’s schooling wasn’t an issue, you never know, it might be there.

It’s hard, with my husband’s parents getting older, having them there and us, here. For now, they are healthy and we can afford to see them. But a few weeks’ every few years isn’t much time. And that’s what it’s about, right? Time.

We went on a safari. Rode on elephants. Avoided malaria. Spent way too much time in a rented car with a driver who was insane…there wasn’t enough time to spend doing small things like holding Maa’s hand (my husband’s grandma, who I adore) or hearing stories. I tell my husband that he needs to write these things down. He isn’t the memory keeper of our family, though. I am.

I need to ask.

I need to listen.

I have learned that I need to do a better job at living in the present.

To have faith.

To change the things I can and to not worry about the things that I can’t.

(I’m still learning.)

I’m still finding answers, (although maybe not looking for them so much.)

progress. (?)

A few photos of our recent painting updates.

I started revamping our hallway a long time back…painting out the trim and doors and painting the walls. I didn’t like the deep gray that we had alongside our red/orange dining room wall color, so I’ve been in-search of a replacement.

(I’m not kidding you, I have a sack of those sample pots of various Benjamin Moore colors in one of our closets. It’s embarrassing.)

I chose Roycroft Suede from Sherwin Williams’ Arts and Crafts collection. I have always adored Craftsman bungalows and actually found through comparing swatches that I already had used equivalents of two shades in the palette in our house (Roycroft Adobe in our dining room and Decorous Amber in our butterfly bathroom.) So looking for other colors within the collection seemed the way to go.

I should have swatched more areas.

I loved the color in the hallway – a medium brown, maybe a bit taupe. It went a little olive-y on the second side, but I thought I could live with that.

I moved to the fireplace wall and it looked kind of yellow. I figured it was the lighting and the existing color (plus, this color sort of looks like baby poop yellow-green going on, but thankfully dries darker), keep going.

So I did.

It’s green.

It’s an okay color, but the color looks different between the soffit wall and the fireplace wall – to the point that I think it looks like two different colors.

And because I can never be satisfied and I’m not a color expert, I’ll probably just end up buying another gallon of paint.

(My husband is so sick of me buying more paint.)

Honestly, I would like to be done with the painting part and not have our house be a patchwork of colors, as well. I would love to have a cohesive color scheme and good flow from room to room, so it’s a little discouraging that this didn’t work.

Oh, well. All part of it, right?

20140105-212906.jpg

20140105-212934.jpg

20140105-212958.jpg

20140105-213013.jpg

soon.

We are leaving in less than a month. It doesn’t seem so close, but the day is inching closer and closer.

It will be nice to see my husband’s parents and family. We last visited Nepal in the fall of 2011. I remember coming home and our house seeming to be so huge. We Americans have no idea how much space we have – and we don’t even have that large of a house, comparatively.

Jayan has been doing well in his special needs classes. He takes a bus each day from daycare to class. (He has a new daycare, too, and outside of some hitting issues, which are getting better, it was a pretty smooth transition.) The assistant on the bus complains about how he shirks his coat and boots once he’s on the bus – and honestly? That’s just Jayan. That’s the first thing he does when he gets into my car, too. So best of luck to you. :)

I like that we are seeing progress. Hopefully thibgs won’t regress while we’re away.

mayors of this block.

I’m not sure if I’ve told you, yet, about the story of our house. The one before we bought it.

We were fortunate enough to find out, at least somewhat.

Our neighborhood was founded by airport employees back in the day, prior to the city being incorporated. Our home was built in 1966 and the city was incorporated in 1968, which I think is pretty awesome. (I have a soft spot for homes, what can I say?) At the time, the rules of the development was that all of the homes needed to be ranch-styled houses and the lot size was a minimum of a half-acre. Our neighborhood weaves in and out of the hills, some areas very wooded and others, more like our own, where it is more suburban, with mature trees. It is a great area to walk with dogs and kids.

Our home’s original owner, Louis, lived here from 1966 (or thereabouts) until he passed away in 2006. He was a very tall man (6’5″, by reports – a pretty large contrast with my husband and I…neither of us surpass 5’6″!) and had trouble with his knees later in life. He used a chair lift on our stairs for some years and spent the last years of his life on the entry level of the house, creating a makeshift kitchen on that level and using the den as a bedroom. Because our entry is flush with the grade, he then had no stairs to worry about.

Louis passed away in our house. Our neighbor, Charlie, told us that he was found in the den. He had passed away in his sleep. My husband swears he hears footsteps in the hallway upstairs from time to time. I have heard them, too. I like to think that he is pleased that the home he built has a family that loves it.

But before that, before then. There was the friendship. 

Jack and Louis were best friends. I don’t recall how they met – if they had befriended prior to living here, or after, but Jack and Jan’s house was across the street and one down from our house. They were a bit of an odd couple, big burly Louis and then Jack, who stood 5’3″, at the most, if even that. 

“We ran this block,” Jack recalled. “We were the best of friends.” He talked about their kids growing up together and running through the trees or watching deer. “When new people would move in, we would go together to say hello…”

They told them that they were the mayors of this block. 

And it was true. 

Ironically, we met Jack prior to moving into our house. Our realtor advised that if we were interested in seeing what a neighborhood was really like, it was a good idea to knock on doors and talk with the neighbors. So, that’s how my husband met Jack – and he was excited to meet the people who would be moving into his best friend’s house.

He took special interest in us after that. Telling us how much he liked watching Jayan “mow” the lawn with his green plastic mower. How they would comment all the time to their friends about the cute little guy across the street. He would find me in the yard, (picking weeds, most likely) and would tell me stories. How he met his wife (Catholic school), how he grew up in St. Paul, how Jan was too shy to go out with him at first, but eventually gave in. 

I always liked when he would stop out and talk like that. I love stories and the history in things. I love seeing the nostalgia in a person’s eyes when they have an especially good memory.

He was quieter this summer. I would wave from our car when I would drive by, sometimes seeing him inside his screened porch. I don’t know if he always saw me – some days, he just stared straight ahead. He might not have recognized our car. I’m not sure.

Summer turned into fall. I remember the day I saw the ambulance. It wasn’t moving. I wondered what had happened, but was on my way to the office (it was the morning, and, of course, I was late, as usual). I asked my husband about it that night – he hadn’t heard anything.

A few days later, we found that Jack had an aneurism. He was still alive, but only by life support. I was still amazed by how quickly life could turn – most older adults in my life had a slow decline over several years, nothing so sudden.

He passed away on a Friday. The family waited until all of their children could be home before finally taking him off life support.

Even now, I think about him, a few weeks later, and I think about how he said our house had always been gray, even though we can see from the siding that at one time, it had been green. That I wished I would have shown him the inside, again, after we had done more work to it. I somehow think that it would have made him happy to see us taking care of his friends’ home.

I really do think that they are looking out for the neighborhood, now. Louis and Jack. Together again, playing cards – keeping watch over us all. Maybe laughing about our leaves. He always kept his lawn impeccable. I wasn’t sure how he did it. With leaves like ours, you almost have to have a sense of humor. I hope that Jan has someone to help her with her yard.

Our newest neighbors moved into the neighborhood over the weekend. So strange seeing the home with so many cars. My husband laughs at how I keep track of the houses and the inhabitants. I need to stop by and introduce ourselves – we have lived here for four years and were never appropriately introduced to the last people.

It would be nice to know them, this time.

so long.

I haven’t written in a while.

I don’t like to do that.

I can’t tell you how many times I have come to a blank screen and thought, “Well, I’m here…now what.”

How much of real life can go onto a blog. At what point does it become over sharing. I saw a YouTube video recently that had the presenter talking about the benefits of keeping a journal on paper, rather than go to the likes of Twitter or Facebook (neither of which I put too much on…), but the principle was that some of the stuff we put online shouldn’t be there.

She was saying this because she was annoyed at reading melodramatic postings that were, yes, I’d say inappropriate for the audience. Maybe something more appropriate for a notebook in a drawer, than in public.

So I think about things, and honestly? When I blog, a lot of times I will do so, so that someone will listen.

Our son was recently assessed by our school district and although not a medical diagnosis, everyone feels fairly confident that he falls somewhere on the autism spectrum.

This, I had expected, but it is different to actually be working through things. The past few weeks have been a blur of assessments and meetings. We are now putting together an IEP.

It is good to see progress, but still overwhelming. I try not to think about everything at once. Talking with my aunt, who had helped her autistic grandson through the process, helped me to feel better.

One step at a time.

I have been pouring over docs online to see what I could have done to change things. Things I could have done differently – not that those things matter, now, but I’m the type who studies up.

The more that I read and find, the more I can see smattering of characteristics across my family both sides. It is strange how much you can notice when you look at things in a certain way. No conclusions, of course, just interesting.

One frustrating thing that happened is that we were trying to open enroll our son in the school district where he is currently in daycare. Note the “were” part of the sentence. We found out last week that the district was over capped for their special needs department and weren’t accepting any new students.

So, the past week, we have been desperately searching for a home daycare in our home district. We have been interviewing the past few days and are pretty sure we have our choice figured out, but it will also involve rearranging our work schedules, etc.

So much in such a short amount of time.

Unrelated, but related, it’s really stupid, but I have also had issues with the name of my blog. I registered it way back, but have never completely identified with it.

I don’t feel brave. I’m definitely not a girl, anymore, either. But I don’t feel a strong pull toward anything else.

But, I’m posting, so there’s that. I can’t help but wonder if posting somewhere else under a different blog name would help with my motivation to write? Something to consider, anyway.

Maybe it’s not that uncommon of a thing. Dooce might curse her choice of name every single day, for all I know. (Does she still write? I haven’t followed her in ages.)

Anyway, I’m going to post this, now, rather than have it sit in my drafts.

just like that.

On days like this, I need to remind myself to breathe.

Remind myself that things could always be worse.

Remind myself to count my blessings, rather than my hurts.

It would have been my cousin Chad’s birthday, today. He passed away a few months ago. I think of him every single day. I like to think of him as sort of a guardian angel, looking out for me. That or that he plays tricks on me – the latter is more likely. Last week, while I was home with Jayan, the lid jumped off my sugar canister I keep on my counter (this cannot happen on its own). Freaked me out.

Chad would have laughed. He was always about the pranking.

I have been so stressed out, lately. There are things in my life that need changing, clearly. I feel like there are things underground working against me. I’m not normally wrong about things like that.

I just need to trust that things will work their way out. They always do. But, as normal, I worry too much. It’s not good or healthy to do that.

I need to remember how lucky I am. I have a supportive husband and a stubborn son and I house that I love. We can afford to take vacations. We have loving, relatively low-drama extended families. My husband is a newly-official US citizen. I have a new car. We live in a nice neighborhood.

I just need to keep my head up, stay strong. Remember things can change.

Just like that.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.