Cat gifts…

Ah, the love of a cat. The neighborhood welcoming committee has visited our new home. He/she is a very large grey tiger cat, who is extremely affectionate. We have now made friends and it visits our work site when there aren’t any pieces of large machinery around. And, it has left me gifts to welcome us into the neighborhood!

Any of you who are familiar with cats knows what I am talking about. Last Sunday I had been working on our wiring all day. I had my bulky coat on to stay warm, gloves were off so I could actually hold the staples I needed to hammer. I had been going in and out of the garage and house, moving my ladder from wall to wall. At one point, I smelled what seemed to be sewage. I thought maybe it was our porta potty. But the smell seemed to be following me around. I started searching, until I finally realized whatever it was was on my hands!!! After a few minutes I was able to piece together the puzzle. The neighbor cat had come in under the garage doors (there is a gap until our garage floor slab is poured) and left a small puddle of poop in the middle of the hallway, that I hadn’t seen. Yes, I stepped in it, then spread it onto every other rung of the ladder, which the front of my bulky coat then got streaked with, and eventually my hands every time I had to move the ladder.


I used my drinking water to clean everything of poop and even cleaned the puddle up. Everything got tossed into the wash, and I took a long, hot cleansing shower when I got home.


On Thursday I had to meet with someone about our plumbing to septic connection, which is in the crawl space under the house. To get to the spot I needed to be at, I either had to go over or under a large pipe. I chose to roll under. After our conversation, we moved back towards the opening, but stopped to discuss more near the spot I had rolled under. That’s when I got the whiff of cat urine. Not really a surprise, as we had had an opening from the outside cut to get the pipes under the house. We would close that today. He looked around and we both saw a small, yellow puddle under the pipe. Fast forward about an hour later and I am still smelling cat urine. Yup. I had rolled in the puddle. Once again, everything I was wearing was thrown in the wash, and another hot, cleansing shower was take. To remove the smell from my hair.

Again, YUCK!

In spite of the unpleasantness, I still like the cat that brought the welcoming gifts. He/she is just being a cat. The crawl space is sealed up now, the cat pee will be wiped up when it thaws and some Stink Free will be applied. The garage doors will now have a board placed across the front to keep the critter out of the house until the cement is poured. And I will still offer my hand in affection the next time it comes to visit.

Hope you belly laughed nice and hard reading this. I have been.


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.

Dreams realized…

It’s one thing to dream, and work towards that dream. But it is awe inspiring (at least for me) when that dream begins to take shape.

We have had pictures of what we wanted our house and shop to look like for the last year. Four months ago, they became blueprints, then permits. Permits turned to excavation, then underground utilities, and cement pouring. But this week, something seemingly magical happened. Walls went up. Now that all the prep work is workable, the framing began. First there were two walls across from each other, then a framed garage door space, then staircase walls. Next, the floor joists for the second story were hoisted to the top of that. Soon after the floor and exterior wall sheathing was applied, windows were cut.

All of a sudden, there is a room! With windows and doors! It was turning out exactly how I had imagined, and yet, I was still awed by the fact. I knew on paper the design worked, but to actually see it, to walk in it, wow.

The work will continue on the shop until it is dried in, hopefully in the next thirty days. Then, we move to the house to frame and dry in. That should go quicker, as it is single story, and much of the underground work has already begun.

This moment of blogging is for my sanity. Between the build, maintaining our current residence (lawns, gardens, pets, etc) and preparing for our daughter and her two little ones month long visit, I have been running around like a crazy lady with a wild look in my eyes. Today I realized that I need to take care of myself, which for me means, taking a moment to myself. Read, transfer photos from my phone to PC, take a nap, whatever. I probably need to make an appointment to remove the eyelash extensions that remain.

But every time I think of those walls, I think “Wow.” May you catch a glimpse of the reality of whatever dream you are working towards, and may you sense the “wow” and satisfaction of a job well done.

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.

8am and all is well…

Have you ever noticed, that when you are super busy, if you stop to really think about it, you are even busier than you think?

It’s been a long week for me and I have to put it down tangibly to get it out of my head. I need to clear some “desktop” space so there is room for all the new stuff that needs to go there for a while.

There I was, laying in bed, at 6:30, praying and telling God how grateful I was for his multitudes of mercy towards me daily, when my grogginess was jolted by the sound of a wretching cat. I didn’t have to mentally mark the spot, as the grass she left behind would be enough. But, there is always a follow up puke. I stumbled to the bathroom to grab a washcloth to mark that one. Since I was near the bathroom, I took my homeopathic remedies for the day, and added one for the nasty looking spider bite I earned on my forearm while harvesting our strawberry bushes. I remember feeling a poke, but didn’t notice the results until last night.

But wait! I digress. Back to the cat. After taking my remedies, I slipped my Birks on (yes, I wear them indoors. I have horribly flat feet, and my ankles and knee start to hurt after just a couple hours without something orthopedic to help) and went downstairs to collect the necessary cleaning supplies for the cat vomit. A paper towel for the grass, smell remover/cleaner and a towel. Carpet cleaned? Check. Down the stairs I went, again, to put away all the supplies. Bring the newspapers in from the front porch? Check. Fill everyone’s water jugs for the day? Check. Get breakfast ready for my honey and I? Check.

And so much more! It’s the little, daily chores that really add up in a day. I won’t bore you with the rest of them. I did actually, force myself to sit down at the table to eat breakfast and read the comics, and organized my day. I am a written on paper checklist person. I don’t trust my phone reminders or calendar, I need it on paper.

Our house building project has been good for me, on a personal development level. I think I said this before, I feel like I am riding a wave, wanting to be in control, but only having a thread of true control. That has been a challenge for me, to learn to go with the flow. But I feel good about everything. Amazingly.

This week has been a whirlwind, with not much on each days list getting accomplished, because issues of urgency take precedence. The phone calls from our foreman to bring this, call them, pay for that, dealing with a list of conditions to clear for our mechanical permit, each one adding a phone call or more research, etc. Yesterday I wash Today, I am doing something for me. Writing in my blog, followed by weeding in my own yard. During the hot, summer months, I like to get out in the yard early, before the temperature soars. Once I head indoors, I will buckle down for some more paperwork and phone calls.

And, the call of the urgent has just come through. I have to meet my foreman to go over the blueprints for the house. Off to a coffee shop I go. The weeding will have to wait.

The dilemma…

My hubby and I rarely have a hard time making decisions. Every home we have bought together was an easy decision. We saw, we felt it was right, we bought. Same thing with the parcel of land we have. We saw it, we felt it was the one, we bought it. And that was no easy task. When we saw it, it already had an offer on it. At the end of the buyer’s contract, they still couldn’t get a loan, so the sellers gave them an extra thirty days. They got their loan, and promptly moved a camper and a water tank out to the property.

Their belongings remained on the property all summer. No, I wasn’t stalking them. The property sits within eyesight of a main road I have to travel to get to and from my grands. Anyhow, early fall I noticed their camper was gone. A week later the water tank and misc stuff was also gone. I told my honey, and he told me to write them a letter offering to buy it. I did, and a few days later they called saying they were just talking about selling. Turns out the wife wanted to have trees acreage, not prairie land. His exact words were, “happy wife, happy life”. We negotiated a price above what they had bought it for, but still at a price we would have paid for the property when we first saw it.

Fast forward four years. The property is now paid off and we are feeling we should build. We sold off the two rentals we had to cash in on the great market we have currently, so we have some cash to build. Our dreams are grandiose, a huge shop for working in and gathering with our extended family in for the holy days. A big house, with enough space for my dad to have some space of his own, and a bonus room over a three car garage for when our daughters family comes for an extended visit each year.

The dilemma, we don’t want to go back into debt. Several years ago we received an inheritance, and have been blessed with the wisdom to be able to increase its value over the years. We live in a home with no mortgage. It is expensive enough to live these days with all the required insurances, utility bills, food, etc. We really feel for people who are struggling with finances. We really don’t want a mortgage again. As we have begun the process of getting blueprints and getting estimates, we are coming to the realization that we may have to downsize our plans. Maybe build the house first, and the shop at a later date? Maybe build a considerably smaller shop and just keep celebrating in our house? Maybe have to compromise on what we are willing to live in space wise and aesthetically? We really need to make some decisions this weekend before the building permits are issued.

We are praying and seeking guidance from trusted people in our lives. I will keep you posted. In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying the change of seasons in whatever part of the world you live in. I know I am.