Missing sanity…

The past two years has been a flurry of building a house and stick built shop. Managing subs, scheduling deliveries, meeting with inspectors, and many long, hard days of physical labor.

Now that all that is done, it is time for the finishing touches. There is a punch list with about 40 small items that need to be completed. Things like shim the shop toilet so it doesn’t jiggle and we don’t damage the floor flange, put up the range hood extension piece on the chimney to cover the pipe, and put the decorative hardware on the garage doors. It’s also time for landscaping.

Landscaping for us will be scheduling our excavator to come out and fine tune what he did last year for lawn prep. He did it last year, but we ended up with vole/mole problems in the lawn area, so we put off hydro seeding until this spring. Good thing we did. Over the winter, there was quite a bit of ground settling with the new soil that had been spread, and we were able to see that we had a drainage problem with our gutter downspouts. The excavator will be addressing all of this with five truckloads more of topsoil, and fixing our downspout issue. As soon as that is done, we can call for hydroseed if. Then the sprinklers will be running almost nonstop for a few weeks until the seed sprouts.

In the midst of all this, I have been scrambling to find cedar 2x6s, 2x8s, and 8x8s to build a pergola, and get all the materials for building a greenhouse/shed combo for all my gardening stuff. Containers, tools, soil, fertilizer, etc. I have been able to source the posts from a local, custom miller. The frame and top materials from a local specialty wood supplier, and the decorative 1×2” pieces from someone in a neighboring town. Because the posts are custom and will take about three weeks to manufacture, I had to work with my builder to rearrange the schedule a bit, since he will be here in one week. Apparently there are now shortages of many materials that we once took for granted.

Speaking of shortages; I also had material delivered today for building a greenhouse/garden shed. I have all the materials to frame it and cover all the sides, but my supplier for twin walled polycarbonate has absolutely no panels available for the roof, and isn’t sure when their order will arrive. They are hoping before the end of June. It’s a good thing it will be good weather for the next four months. The roof won’t be critical until autumn. Until then, my few greenhouse plants will enjoy lots of fresh air!

I am currently sitting in a uhaul, waiting for some of the pergola lumber to be loaded. Which explains why I have time to blog. Once they are done, I head to a hardware store for a twelve foot long sonatube. That’s a tube of compressed paper, or sometimes metal that is used to hold cement around posts in the ground. Once that is added to my load, it is home to unload the wood, then gas up the beastly truck on the way to return it.

Once all that is done, I will pick up my dad ant home and get him out of the house to run errands. I could really use some home time to prepare for the upcoming feast of Shavuot/Pentecost that we are hosting on Sunday, but since my father injured his hand/wrist in a fall a couple weeks ago, he hasn’t been able to drive. So it falls to me to make sure he can get out of the house daily.

As time consuming as it is to be the caregiver for my aging father (83), I don’t think I would do it differently. I cannot even imagine home trying to make it on his own with his limited budget. And he would be lonely. The days I spend with him I cherish, as I know that each day brings us closer to the end.

I pray that you find a way to cherish whomever it is that takes up your time today. Tedious as it may be, inconvenient as it may be. whether it be a toddler, a teen, a widowed sibling, a sick spouse or an aging parent. Time is short, let’s make it count by making life more beautiful for the people in our lives.


Building update…

Whew! We have now lived in our new home for almost three months. Most of the boxes are unpacked, I finally feel organized. We got our garden beds into place, filled with compost, and planted tomatoes, cucumbers, various squashes and greens.

The weather finally dried the ground enough to get our final backfill around the buildings done in mid July. About an acre and a half of the space around the house has been rototilled and derocked in preparations for sprinklers and hydro seeding. The sprinklers will be running almost 24/7 to keep the new seed wet enough to sprout.

Many, but not all of the little odds and ends that we needed to do around the house has been done. I still need to trim around the base of cabinetry, and prime and paint the three drywall patches. I plan to make an acoustic panel for our great room to cut down on some of the echo in the large room.

I finally found someone to side the shop for us. It has been tough finding contractors/subs who have time in their schedules. Everyone is so crazy busy around here. The ductless heat pump system goes into the shop next week. Hopefully the insulators can come in the following week, and drywallers by the end of the month. Then it will be painters, electricians with final fixtures, plumbers to put the bathroom and kitchen fixtures in and the stair railing installations. Then carpet for the upstairs and cabinets.

I am still getting the gas line issue dealt with from the meter to the house. Once we can connect to the meter, we will have in floor heat for the shop and a working fireplace for the house. In reviewing remits for the house, I found that the heating company forgot to get a final inspection for the split system for the house. I informed them and they have renewed the expired permit and ordered the inspection for next week. I am so tired of permits and inspections.

Yah willing, we will have the bulk of the shop finished by the end of the year. I am looking forward to getting out of building mode and into maintenance mode. I hope you also have something that you can be looking forward to.

New occupation…

It seems that during our building project, I have learned some new trades. I can now say I am a stripper. A wire stripper that is. Since we pulled a homeowner electrical permit for our electrical, I am learning tons about wiring a home, with wise counsel and guidance from a friend who is a licensed electrician. I have learned how to create electrical circuits, design my power panel, run wire, strip the sheathing off the ends of the wire, staple the wire to support it, and so much more.

In the process of working on these projects, I have also earned the title “rafter rat” by my co-workers, because of having to work in the rafters to run the wire and staple. This was a task that challenged me. When one of the guys on the job asked me to help sheet the gables by getting into the rafters to hold a side of plywood, my ego had me respond quickly with “sure!” After taking a deep breath, I climbed the ladder, and stepped onto the rafters. I did fine, and after some time, became fairly adept at maneuvering through them without hitting my head or palming a board with a nail sticking out of it.

The whole being in charge of building a house has been a real growing process for me. I have had to learn to stand up and speak my mind to the foreman about what is important to me, the homeowner, his boss. I have had to initiate hard conversations, request things be redone, and more. It has been hard and sometimes stressful. But it has also been extremely rewarding. To realize what I am truly capable of. To see a drawing become a house is an amazing thing.

We are turning a corner soon. We hope to have the plumbing and electrical done by and inspected by mid January. After that, the subs start coming in to do their thing. Siding, insulation, drywall, paint, flooring, cabinet installation, doors installed, the house trimmed, closet racks installed, etc. it sounds like a lot, which it is, but it will go quickly. In no time, we will be moving in. Moving is still a few months off, but is beginning to look imminent.

It has been a fun process, but I will be glad when it is done. I will keep you posted.

Bleary eyed…

Early morning, once again, arrives way to soon for me. The minute she saw me at the top of the stairs, the old cat PK started howling at me “feed me! Let me out back! No feed me!” I like to imagine that there is a please somewhere in the yowls, but I know better. A quick scoop up of her fragile body stops the noise, and I pet her until she says enough. Feed the cats then check the phone for messages.

My phone is set for do not disturb between the hours of 9pm and 8am. Although I don’t want to hear the alerts, I know that there are things happening on the shop/house build this morning that may require my attention. Sure enough, there is a request for me to call the cement company to pay for two extra yards of concrete that was ordered for this morning’s 6am pour. Insert the ear buds, make the call and let the foreman know it is done. Check.

My eyes still feel heavy as I step into the kitchen to begin my morning chores, when I hear my honey open the bedroom door. Breakfast now takes priority. A banana and greens protein smoothie should do the trick for the man. As for myself, I will stick with no sugar/stevia vegan protein and greens for mine.

Breakfast has been consumed, along with a few supplements and the daily comics. Once I finish with the chores, I get to pick up two of our grandkids for a couple days. I cherish the time we get to spend with them, knowing all too well how fast they grow up and get busy. The sports schedules have already reduced the visits I used to get. Once there are work and social schedules, time with them will be at a premium. The weather today is not great and we are expecting rain. If so, a bowl of buttered popcorn and a game of monopoly may be on the table for the afternoon. Literally on the table!

Tomorrow, we are going to a neighborhood garage sale in town. I will give them both twenty bucks to buy whatever they like. I do get veto power, but that will be reserved for extremes. Non modest clothing, or inappropriate decor. They are good kids, and I have yet to have to have to use the veto. We will have Subway sandwiches for lunch, and Baskin Robbins ice cream for a treat. I love sitting down to a meal with them and just listening to them talk. I try to just listen and ask questions, and toss in a few teaching comments in the midst. Serious lectures are reserved for the serious, which does not often come up. This is becoming an annual summer event with them. A close friend who has never had children is joining us. She loves them, they love her. Again, her company with them every now and then is becoming a tradition also. We will probably go out to dinner with Grandpa after work too, and then we will watch Who Wants to Be a Millionaire together. The kids love trying to beat Grandpa at trivia games. Before bed, we will probably read a few more chapters of the book in the Little House series that we have been trying to get through whenever they spend the night. I think we are on book three?

Of course I will have to answer building calls and questions, and I definitely plan on taking everyone out to the site to see what has been done so far. And I will have a few household chores to do. But the days with the kids fill my love tank to overflowing. I pray that I am filling theirs too. I want it to be about them, about their growth, about loving them. Loving and serving others has always brought me great joy.

May you discover what type of service brings you great joy in life, and may it fill your emotional tank to overflowing.

Random thoughts…

I am so thankful to the creator of the universe this morning. For sustaining my life through the night once again, so that I may live another day, and somehow be a light to others, showing forth his love for them.

I am so grateful for insect repellent!! I have an awesome essential oil recipe I use. Smells good, is natural, and works! I brought a pack of baby wipes soaked in it to a friends house last night. We went for dinner, they live in the woods, last time I was there I came home bumpy and itchy. I felt the first “landing” on my arm around 8pm. I quietly slipped to the foyer where my purse was, wiped down all exposed skin, and enjoyed the rest of the night “landing, bump and itch” free.

Our permits to build were approved this week! So exciting. It took a month to get something that should have taken a week. Our area is definitely experiencing a building boom. Monday, my honey and I, go into the community development department, sign our names in front of their notary, pay our fees, and “poof” we are official! Let the framing begin! Ok, let the cement pouring on the footings begin first.

On a related note, last night my husband was sharing about feeling very unprepared for teaching at church this morning. He hates that feeling. We both do. Both of us like to feel in control and prepared. I have also been feeling very out of control with the whole building process. Everything seems to be happening so fast. We need to order wood so the guys can prep window headers while waiting for the permits, but the companies I asked for bids from are still working on them, so we buy from the company we think will have the best pricing. Our DIY in floor heating has taken an interesting turn too. We have hired a guy/consulting company to prepare the schematics of the system for us, and the control panel. We will lay everything, and connect it to the main panel, etc. however to get the permit for the mechanical, I have to provide “calculations” about capacities, oem something, and lots of other techie words I know nothing about. When I asked if they do that, or could help me with that, they said that the HVAC contractor usually does that, and asked if I had one. Ummm. No. Doesn’t DIY mean do it yourself, or, in other words, you won’t need to hire and pay an HVAC contractor for this project? At first I was angry, really angry. However, after a drive to the big city thirty minutes away, with my calm me down music by Brian Crain playing softly in my ears, I came off that ledge and began to think about how we could solve the issue. Was that a moment of personal growth? Oh my! This old dog is not too old to learn a new trick!!! Another thing I am thankful for.

I think my homeopathy regimen is beginning to show results. Last night I had some key limeade with dinner, a few bites of sugar laden rhubarb pie and a very cheesy chicken enchilada casserole. All delicious, but dairy gives me a gassy tummy and sugar can exacerbate the hot flashes. Yet, I slept well. Really well. In the past I have battled dealing with adrenal fatigue. My hormones have been out of whack, I get exhausted, but too wired to sleep soundly, often waking four or five times a night. Pretty much the only remedy was stopping everything and spending a month at home, in jammies, doing only things which are emotionally non stressful. But, in spite of the house stuff, I seem to be doing better, handling the stress better, handling life better. Again, I am thankful to God for his mercies and provision of all that we need in life, including homeopathy. I started this part of my journey after reading a blog I can across on joettecalabrese.com. She is a great educator, and all of her stuff is downloadable and a lot is free. She also has classes you can take, which I will when life slows down a bit (meaning when the building process is done). I would add the link, but I haven’t yet figured out how that feature works yet, sorry!

Oh! I am thankful there are no bees buzzing around my food!

Last thought. I am thankful for summer Sabbath mornings. Cold sweet potato pie, breakfast on the shaded back patio, colorful blooming flowers, cats eating long grasses so they can go into the house later to puke it up in a location I won’t see until my bare foot lands in it. Crickets are chirping, doves are cooing, and the neighborhoods resident pheasant chimes in periodically with his distinct voice. My soul is at peace.

May you also find the confidence and humility you need to stay teachable during your journey on this earth, and may you find your “Sabbath morning” peace for your soul.


After waking from a very decent night sleep (that’s another story), I took those old supplements that are supposed to be good for my health and wondered downstairs. Spanky, the black cat, followed quickly behind me hoping for an early morning foray in the backyard. Now that the weather had turned to beautiful, she will be begging to go out whenever I am near the back door. Oatmeal was made for my honey, and I chowed down the last piece of Sabbath sweet potato pie while skimming the local papers for any news worth reading. To make sure we are all drinking enough water daily, I fill water bottles daily. We all aim to drink what is filled at least, more if possible. I added straight cranberry juice to mine to ward off a possible UTI.

I took my dad for a walk around the neighborhood park. I know, taking my dad for a walk sounds like I am walking a pet. I have deliberately started saying that to get a giggle out of people. At 81 years old, my dad can keep a pretty good pace up, although I would consider it my stroll pace. This is just fine with me. For me it is more about the sunshine, the fresh air, the sounds of the birds and so much more. It is a time of connecting with my dad on a human level. We are both fairly busy people, and I may or may not see him throughout the day, even though he lives with us. He goes to the library, the post office, visits a friend at work and brings her the local supermarket adds, takes a short walk with another gal he knows, and so much more.

And now, I sit on the couch, blogging. One cat is on the couch with me, another is peacefully snoozing on the carpet below the couch. I have a half hour before my crazy day shifts into fourth gear. I have to bring water out to our property to water the Apple trees we planted last year. Hopefully the well will be in soon. We are in line for it. Then I head to our vacant rental. For the next two weeks I have to spend time there watering the lawns so they don’t die before the new owners take possession. I will turn on the sprinklers, head to my chiropractic appointment, then head back to the rental to move the sprinkler, stoping at a local juice bar on the way for some liquid lunch.

Since I will have a couple hours until a coffee date with a friend and her daughter, I will spend time at the rental filling out paperwork to get temporary power installed on our property so the builders don’t have to use a generator for long. I found out yesterday that this process may take up to a month to complete. YIKES! So, after coffee, I may go price out generators, just in case. I was also planning to find one of those big, water coolers that they use for sports drinks at football games, you know, the ones they pour over the coaches head when they win a big game, to make sure there is water on site. By then it will be time to head home and fix dinner for my honey and I. Dad usually goes out for dinner with friends twice a week. I think I will make a veggie quiche. Or leftover chicken noodle soup. We’ll see what I am in the mood for when the time arises.

In the past, a day like today might have exhausted me. But, I have found that when I make time for something that brings me joy (coffee with a friend), I do better with morE busy-ness. I hope you find peace in the midst of whatever chaos fills your day today!

A day off…

What a nice day today. I got a good four hour stretch of sleep last night, and finally awoke to a beautiful, sunny morning. After making the cat happy with a neck rub, I went downstairs to enjoy the second sabbath of the weekend. Yesterday was the weekly sabbath, and also Passover, so, instead of hanging around the house, we gathered with others. We left around 10:45, and didn’t get home until 4:30. My honey was sure we’d be home by 3:00, but I know what an optimist he is. One of the many things I love about him. Anyway, today is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which means another day of no working!!! WooHoo!

I love these days! Breakfast consisted of a slice of cold sweet potato pie with oatmeal pecan crust. My father and I went for a walk, then my honey and I spent some time out on the back patio with the cats chatting about the day’s plans. Not chatting with the cats, with each other. Although MY plans for us included a loooong walk, that was scaled back to once around the park for the sake of his bad knee. After our traditional Sunday brunch of hash browns, eggs and a piece of fruit, we drove out to our five acre parcel of land to spray paint out the shape of the shop we will be building soon. The paint went over rocks, dirt and old cow patties left from the cows that grazed our property last spring. Funny how when you look at the measurements and square footage on paper it seems so large, but when it was painted on the ground, it actually seemed small. Maybe because it was in the context of the size of the lot itself.

Only one of the apple trees we planted last year will need to be moved, and I was able to mark spaces for three more fruit trees. If I had thought about it, I would have marked the spaces for the blueberry bushes we will bring from our current home. If I had though, I would have run out of paint before being able to mark out the last shop details. So, all for the best. We drove around two neighborhoods of larger lots to check out different fencing, only to find that they both had white three rail fencing everywhere. You gotta love neighborhoods with covenants, codes and restrictions. Our neighborhood of seven homes doesn’t have any. Yea!

The day was filled with loud farts being blamed on the cat (my honey, not me), flirting with each other and just having fun. It’s been a long time since we have had a day like this. Once spring hits, my honey will frequently have to work on Sundays. And since I got some sleep, I wasn’t exhausted all day. Dinner is leftover stir fry, dessert will probably consist of vanilla yogurt with some sort of fruit added to it.

Tomorrow it is back to the craziness of building. I have a septic inspection to change into a permit, a location permit to apply for so we can build the structure. State permits to figure out how to apply for for the plumbing, HVAC (heating and cooling) and electrical. I need to get on sub contractor schedules for the cement slab pour, insulation, heating and drywall. Floor plans for the house need to be altered so we can get on a framers schedule for the fall. If I don’t do that now, we may not get on a schedule until summer next year. So much to do, so little time to do it in. Oh, and I need to get my garden planted here at home, veggies and flowers, and maintain my house, and the rental we sold until it closes mid May. Busy, busy.

All said and done, at the end of this day, I am happy, content and hopeful for the future. I hope you also had a great day.