Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Rest Of The Time

In the moments between awesome new fall episodes of tawdry television shows, I am, in fact, trying to figure out what to do with myself. Well-meaning, and possibly envious, friends have asked what I do with all this time I've got now, and I should probably have a better answer than "Oh, you know. Whatever." So, I'm working on what it is I want to do. If not during My Whole Entire Life Oh My God, at least during each week. And I realized that what I really need is a schedule.

I was talking with my mom about this just the other day (hi, Mom!). Interestingly, even though we're at very different points in our lives, we both are finding ourselves with lots of time on our hands, and struggling with it a bit. I'm not complaining, truly I'm not. Having this much time is a gift, and I'm not knocking it. But it does, sometimes, loom. Big stretches of undefined time, like big stretches of undefined space, can make a person uncomfortable. Most of us, I think, really need boundaries. They help you know where you stand.

So: a schedule. Boundaries for the Week, if you will. This isn't anything I'm going to print out and laminate and check off, but it's helpful to have a not-super-rigid set of expectations for myself. So far, this is what I've got:

Mondays: Laundry. (Yes, big excitement there, but I'm only doing it once a week, which rocks.)
Tuesday: Fix a space. (Clearing out stuff, organizing stuff, whatever. Once a week I'm going to tackle a room, or a closet, or at least a drawer. This week, I cleaned up under the kitchen sink. So. Gross.)
Wednesday: Volunteer. (I volunteer with the snack program at Sarah's school. It isn't, you know, fulfilling in a meaningful way, but it's cute to see all the kids, and cracks me up that I'm officially "Sarah's Mom" there. Even the kids who know my name call me that at school.)
Thursday: Groceries. (It's gotta happen at some point.)
Friday:.... (To Be Determined. Or maybe just left open.)

Weekends can be weekends. Whatever needs tackling can be tackled, and if there's nothing pressing, well, that's just fine.

So, that's the plan. It's modest, it's flexible, and I can change it up if I need to. Not bad. Oh, oh, and I have a small goal for myself for this school year: I intend to experience something new once a month. Whether that's learning a new craft or other skill, or going someplace I've never been, or otherwise extending myself, at least once a month I'm going to try something new. I thought I'd missed out on September, but I just remembered that I, duh, started volunteering for the first time. September, check!

There you go. What I do with myself now that Sarah's in school.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


So, here's the thing. I... I didn't just spend the last two months doing amazing summery things and cute small-town photo-oppable things. If you want to know the god's honest truth I was mostly (deep breath) watching tv.

There, I said it.  I watch television! All the time! I love the teevee. Love. It. And not even just, like, PBS and the History Channel (although I adore Antiques Roadshow). No, I wallowed -- and continue to wallow -- in the dregs of television programming. Well, not quite the dregs. The liquid above the dregs. The backwash, basically. And I don't even mean while folding laundry, which, honestly, HAS to be the reason television was invented. No, no. All summer I'd finish doing all the cute fun stuff I'd been doing all day, and think about posting about it and then turn on the tv, and... Zzzzzz. Brain death. And now it's fall, so I don't even need to watch reruns of America's Next Top Model or Firefly (best show EVER) or see Master and Commander for the (conservative estimate) fifteenth time. There's brand new stuff to see! Yay September!*

But that's not all. When I'm not enjoying the backwash of our culture, and frequently while I'm indulging in it, I am lost in the world of Pinterest. You guys know Pinterest, right? It's like your own personal Internet's Greatest Hits. If you could make a mix tape of the Internet, this is what it would be. You know all that stuff you bookmark to come back to and instantly forget? On Pinterest you can SEE that thing that caught your eye in the first place. And -- and this is the real time-suck element -- you can see other people's pins (that's what you call the stuff you put up on Pinterest, pins; they're just pictures of what you'd otherwise be bookmarking and forgetting). It is awesome. You're welcome.

So there. Now you know the truth. If it weren't for the Internet and the teevee I'd probably have solved the fiscal crisis and maybe brought about world peace. I'll get right on that.

* Yay September, except for one thing. Downton Abbey. You all probably already know all about it and have seen bootleg copies of the new episodes from the UK, but I didn't catch up with it until maybe two weeks ago, and then only because I thought the second season was about to start but moments after I finished the last episode I learned that Season Two doesn't begin until JANUARY. The pain! Good grief. Thank god I have Ringer to fill the void.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Carrying On

So, hey. I'm going to just type away here as if I hadn't been MIA for two months. Things I didn't write down (but mentally composed posts about) include, but are not limited to: swimming, vacation in Maine, swimming, my cousin's wedding, swimming, trips to the creemee stand, trips to Cape Cod, swimming, berry picking, and swimming. Oh, and Sarah taught herself to swim. I may have mentioned that.

And then fall came, and all of a sudden: KINDERGARTEN. Best thing ever, kindergarten. Sarah loves it, I love that she loves it, and she's in a class with one of her BFFs, which we all love.

But you know what the best thing about this new kindergarten gig is?

Fresh rolls. Every day on our way home from school, we walk past a bakery that makes five cent rolls for the kids. For real! Five cents! Who does that any more? The bakery here in Pleasantville, that's who. The kids walk in each clutching a nickel in their sweaty, sticky little fists and emerge with fresh bread. It's adorable. I live in a Norman Rockwell painting.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reveal, Part One

Phase three, part one, of the summer projects is, I think, complete!

Hello, brick!


The front part of the driveway is still a dug-out mess, but it's not being bricked. It's getting its own special thing. That would be phase three, part two. Phase three, part three (seriously) will be all about filling in those planting beds you see above. I'm pretty sure there isn't a part four, but who knows anymore? I've lost track. Oh, wait. Yeah, I think there is a part four (outdoor furniture). Okay, but I'm almost certain there isn't a part five.

If the painting ever gets done, this place is going to look sharp.

Monday, July 11, 2011

More More

Phase, um, three? are we up to three? of Tom's plans began today, much to my surprise. (I mean, I knew there would be a phase three, I just wasn't sure it was happening today.) Let's see if you can figure out what he's up to now:

Too close? How about this:

Oh, yeah. Trucks. At my house. Want to see what they did today?

Two weeks of this (I'm told) after which this view is going to seriously improve. Seriously.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

As Promised, More

So, as I mentioned yesterday (two posts in a ROW; it's a summer blogging miracle!), paint is not all we've got going on around here.

You all might not know this about Tom, but he's a fella who enjoys a project. Usually that project is writing a novel. Once it was founding a college. But once he finishes a big project like that, he needs to turn his attention elsewhere. Like toward trading in both our cars in the space of ten days. Or getting the house painted. Stuff like that. But this summer, trading in both the cars and getting the house painted wasn't enough. Oh, no.

This summer, he decided we should tear out the ugly old deck.

And put a big old hole in the side of the house.

And stick French doors in there.

Not bad, eh? And get a load of the morning sunshine coming into our kitchen:

Not a bad project, I have to say. Especially if we get some nice fresh drywall and new paint over the plywood. And if you can believe it, this still isn't the extent of it. In a couple of weeks, there'll be even more to show you. I know, you've got to be thinking, "What more could there be?" Oh, just you wait.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Friends, there has been some painting going on.

Okay. The barn is still red. But now, a more stately red. A less harlot scarlet. See, the thing is, I love a red barn. Just not that particular shade of red. Look:

Paint on the left there is the first red I chose. Paint on the right is what it looks like now. See what I mean? The first red was too pink. Or coral. Or something. It just wasn't right. Of course, the name should have tipped me off. The bad red was called Combustion. I should have had misgivings right there. The new red? Shaker Red. Duh.

But wait, there's more! As of two weeks ago, the house colors were this dingy mess:

I couldn't find a more recent photo of the pre-red barn, so here's a chilly blast from the winter for you.

As of today, here's where we are:

I think we're getting somewhere.

But paint isn't all that's been going on. This place is getting all kinds of interesting. I'll tell you more about it tomorrow. (For real!)