Attitude problem

I know that patience is a virtue...  It's just not one of mine.

But I think I'm finally coming to grips with the idea that we're not going to be moving for another few years.  I want to.  I really, REALLY want to.  But we have a few factors in our personal and professional lives that make waiting a much wiser idea.  I've known this for a while, but I'm actually starting to believe it, if you understand the difference.

So, in order to make our time here more bearable, I've been working on my attitude.  Towards the eternally unfinished house, the neighborhood, and the neighbors.  It was either that or go crazy making myself miserable.  What started it was taking an acquaintence on a little mini-tour of my "neighborhood".  I use the term loosely, since we live in the county and we have the same number of people in a square mile as cities might have in a 3-block radius.  But showing the area to someone who had never seen it kind of let me see it the way I did when we first moved here.  And what I saw surprised me.

Although there are some hilbillies around, we really do live in a nice neighborhood.  Not subdivision nice, but rural-ish nice.  Almost all of the houses are well-cared-for, and the people are friendly.  Our house, with flowers blooming all around and a messy veggie garden (and in spite of the 80s facade), looks cute from the street.  We're surrounded by woods and hills instead of the flat cornfields that make up most of the rural areas here.  And by the roads, our house is less than 3/4 mile from the lake.

Speaking of the lake...  When we first moved out here, I wanted to get a membership to the conservation club so that I could use the beach there.  We'd also taked about getting kayaks and paddling around.  I used to walk down to the boat launch, just to look at the water.  After all, what good is living by a nice lake if you never use it?  And so, 5 years after moving in, I finally got a membership to the conservation club.  I don't plan on hanging out at their bar with the locals, but they have nice grounds and a sandy beach.  A few days ago I walked down and took Ethan for a swim in the morning before work.  We had the whole place to ourselves, and he had a blast.

Tonight Shayne and I got home at around 8 pm, and the bar was in full swing.  But in an oddly appropriate twist, they had a rockin blues band, so it was actually nice to be able to hear the show from our backyard.  I sat out for a while to listen until the bugs got too bad.

Living in the here-and-now is not my strong point.  I can't help but be thinking about what I'd like to do, planning ahead, and dreaming about the future.  But now that I've taken time to really look at what is...  It's not so bad. 

In fact, I kind of like it.


Living small

Every year since I was 4, my mom and I have headed "Up North" for vacation during the summer (and more recently, sometimes in the fall and winter as well).  For those of you not from Michigan, "Up North" is how we refer to the northern portion of the lower penninsula (not to be confused with the upper penninsula, which is the U.P.).  For us, Up North is the Leelanau Penninsula, the "little finger" of Michigan.  It's a beautiful area, surrounded by Lake Michigan and sand dunes, pockmarked with crystal-clear spring-fed lakes, and decorated with woods and orchards of cherry trees.  It's my favorite place in the world.

This year it's really made me examine how we live our life.

We stayed in a very cute little cabin.  It was probably built in the 1920s, and it had lots of charm and character, including a 1950s stove.  It was small, maybe 600 square feet, but it didn't feel cramped.  It was cozy, but in a good way.  It had everything we needed (except space to hang clothes, but it was a vacation cabin, so whatever), and nothing we didn't.  I wanted to stay forever.

About a week after getting home, I went to a house to take a burglary report.  This house was maybe 1200 square feet, with a very open floor plan, so it wasn't even large by today's standards.  But what struck me about this house was how calm and peaceful it felt inside.  There were comfortable furnishing, but nothing extraneous.  A few tasteful pieces of art were displayed on the walls and on a bookcase, but there was NO CLUTTER.  None. 

These two homes have really inspired me to try and cut out the clutter from our home.  I spontaneously deconstructed the kitchen one night last week and completely rearranged the cupboards and got rid of a bit of junk.  It's one of the hardest rooms to declutter, since you really have to keep some things that you only use once in a while (turkey platter, certain servingware, my big canning kettle).  But do I really need the golden retriever mug that I got when I was 12?  Not so much.  Three sets of mixing bowls?  Probably not.  I also got rid of any storage containers that were missing lids, and any lids I didn't have a container for.  And by moving some things from one cabinet to another, the cupboards look much nicer and are much better organized.  All of the food prep items are together, the servingware has a cabinet to itself, and all of the drinkware (cups, mugs, and such) are in one place. 

Of course, the floor still looks like shit after the flood.  The cheapo laminate will never recover.  There are pieces that don't fit back together because they swelled, and the edges on every plank are raised.  It looks bad.  Combined with the hole in the ceiling, we're really rocking the white trash kitchen look.  But at least my cabinets are organized! 

We're still not sure what we're going to do in the kitchen.  We're not prepared for a full remodel, but now that Ethan is crawling...  Ugh.  We're going to have to do something.  I just don't know what.

Next on my decluttering list is the basement.  I have a few boxes of stuff that I never seem to look in.  I think I'm just not going to look and trash it all.  I hate being like that, since I like to donate items that could be used.  But if I look, I know I'll never get rid of it.  And it obviously means nothing to me, since it's been boxed away since we moved into the Prairie Box.  Seriously, if I haven't looked at it in 6 years, do I really want it?  Or...  Maybe I'll limit myself to one rubbermaid container of "memorabilia".  Then I don't have to get rid of everything, but I can keep a few items that are important but not really displayable.  I think I'll try that tonight and see how it works out. 


Water woes, etc.

Two nights ago, we had a mini-disaster...  The main drain clogged, and the entire contents of our bathtub ended up backing up into the dishwasher, pouring out into the kitchen, and seeping down into the basement.

BIG mess.

Our cheapo laminate floor is ruined, which isn't a huge deal since it only cost us $125 anyways.  But it's just one more thing to make the house look crappy until we get around to replacing it.  Hopefully that will be soon.  The drain folks are coming out tomorrow morning, so we'll see what happens.

In other news, Shayne found trim to match the existing stuff at the ReStore, so he trimmed out the closets this weekend.  It's starting to look finished!  We still have to find doors, but at least we're moving along.  Maybe in a day or so I'll take the remainder of the painted trim to the Strip Shoppe so that it can get nekkid.

The chickens are doing well and have expanded their range into our neighbors' yards.  Thankfully none of them mind, but we've apparently been the topic of several conversations at the bar down the street.  I never thought that chickens would be the talk of the town, but I guess there's not a lot going on here...!  I'm just glad that nobody is bothered by them, though I do worry a bit that they'll venture out into the road and get hit.

The meat birds out at the 5-Oh Farm are also doing well and should be ready to butcher in 2 weeks or so.  Jay has decided to take them down to Wakarusa for processing, since his Whiz-bang chicken plucker isn't finished.  We should still get fresh, semi-free range, hormone/antibiotic-free birds for less than $7 each.  He had extra, so we're getting 20 now instead of 10 (but splitting with my mom).  I really wanted to learn how to butcher, but maybe next year.  I'm thinking about getting a few of the "Freedom Ranger" chicks and raising them myself.  Too soon to decide.