I try valiantly not to get attached to material things. I have seen in life how "stuff" puts us all in bondage. Big houses or small houses with lots of things that have to be organized, cleaned, cared for... it distracts us from the meaningful things in life. I have experienced the burden of moving too many times, I have dusted too many decorative items, I have sorted clutter, I have stacked and re-stacked. So, as we moved for the third time this year back into our one bedroom octagon, I have found myself appreciating the significant lack of material items. I may be short a potato peeler, cheesecake pan, nice dishes, an iron, 3/4 of the clothes in my closet, etc. but the simplicity of it all is actually soothing my soul at this point. I now bake cheesecake in my cast iron pan (with much success!), we eat off metal plates which don't break on the cement counter tops and floor, I never used an iron anyway, and I'm doing just fine with 1/4 of my wardrobe accessible. If you're looking for Christmas dishes over the holidays we will have lovely Christmas-themed paper plates. :-)
However, I cried over my broken crock pot this morning. My beloved friend, Kathy, gave the crock pot to me when we first moved to the neighborhood 6 years ago. I don't know how she knew I might need one, but I have used that pot constantly since that day. It has been a mainstay in the challenging times because it has allowed me to throw a meal in during the less hectic morning hours, and then after an exhausting day, come back in to find dinner ready. So, though it has been such a treasured gift, I'm not really sure why the tears. They just seem to come more easily these days. I think there's more behind them than the broken gift. I have a lot yet to unpackage from this season of life. I may not ever be able to break down all the components to make sense in my mind, but I'm trying to accept that some of the emotions don't necessarily make logical sense.
Kathy also gave me this picture 4 years ago... I look at it so many time every day.
When we re-entered the octagon, we were pretty mortified at the condition it was in. One of the windows was broken, several things needed repair, but the worst part was that the garden was soaking wet and filled with mildew. The sump pump which keeps the excess gray water pumped out of the house to water the outside trees had failed and the tank which holds the gray water was split down the side, allowing all the gray water to leach into the garden unchecked. With the incredible help of my dad, I removed the soaking wet dirt, rocks, sand from the smaller garden area near the tank. We also removed the top layer of dirt from the entire garden and sprayed it all with an anti-fungal spray before refilling with fresh dirt. Then, Dad and I removed the original broken tank, pump and pipes. We removed 25 shop vacs full of water. We carefully refitted a new pump, pipes and tank. Then, we put in new gravel, dirt and sand. It took us a couple days, but the house was unbelievably improved for the effort. No more mildew smell! No more humidity! We opened all the windows and let the fresh mountain air restore what had been lost in our absence. The broken window will have to remain broken for the foreseeable future. I will address that when I have the means to do so.
After a thorough cleaning (we deposited a tremendous amount of gross mud throughout the house in our pump project), we started moving stuff from the A-frame into the octagon.
We're slowly making progress in the octagon, but it will take time.
Kaysee and I took the A-frame cabin by force and have gotten it almost ready to Airbnb again. It was a monumental task as it was quite filthy from our flood-filled months living there and all our furniture and belongings for the cabin were transferred to the big house to use as an Airbnb. We're starting with a fresh slate, but also from the ground up. :-) Literally. We have a few more things to do: move dirt, cover sandbags, remove sandbags, improve the driveway to be more water proof, and paint the jersey barriers. But, we have it listed for rental starting October 1st, about 1 month before I predicted I could have it ready. We already have 5 bookings in 24 hours. Here is our listing.
My boys have been incredible through all this transition. Even Lochlan is doing really well. He has taken off, barefoot, at a full gallop down Copeland a few times, had some serious screaming fits that last somewhere between 15 minutes to three hours, but overall he has been cheerful, adaptive and engaged. He is using more words every day and we listen to him talking to himself almost all day long. Some of it makes sense.
I have not been able to climb my hill in well over a week, and I think that may be contributing to the higher tear reservoir. I hope to visit this place of refuge tonight to refill my heart with hope, determination. It reminds me that mud is temporary, fire necessary and new life promised.