so~ with many, many thanks to some family members that helped make it possible, we recently bought a house. the house next door, to be exact.
we're renting it out as a vacation rental. there ought to be lots of interior photos on the listing by now (we added them and they've yet to show up).
there has been a lot of painting, mostly of pickets (spindles?) for the porch and touching up inside, much hard work with big loud tools by papa, a lot of furnishings acquisition and cleaning and long days and late nights. Claire no longer thinks it's super fun to go hang out next door while we work and clean and suggest she entertain herself with large boxes from IKEA. she's been a trooper, really.
we eat quick lunches like this:
and then get back to it~
(we did not paint it blue and purple, previous tenants did. there was an older woman who wanted the house "Carolina blue", and then a few renters later wanted a more "fun" porch color) I have trouble wrapping my head around the blue, papa has more trouble with the purple. some day, perhaps, we'll change it. for now, there are things like sheets and mattresses and cookware to buy (because we're guessing folks will want those things) so the paint goes way down the list of priorities. as in, it's really not even on the list.
so that's been happening.
yesterday, on my way back over to clean after feeding the chickens, I noticed our garden. I hadn't really given it a glance in the last few days. beans and cabbage need to be harvested. really I haven't picked the cabbage yet because I know the sauerkraut and kimchi are not about to be happening just yet and I'd hate for any of it to go to waste. I took a few minutes to add some more twine around the tomato stakes, having seen that the indeterminate varieties were quickly surpassing their current supports (and my height, by quite a bit) and several branches were leaning over precariously. they are looking really good so far and I've been mostly pretending not to care too much about them since the last couple years have been such blight-y busts in the tomato department around here, but honestly I really hope they keep it up and I'm very excited for some yummy tomatoes. I still need to tie the tomatillos again. I got an armload of squash and zucchini to add to the already full drawer in the fridge. I keep saying I need to make some curried zucchini pickles and squash relish, maybe freeze some..... but like the sauerkraut it's not happening at the moment. I did make dilly beans the other day, though, so there's that.
my dad had a birthday and Claire and I took him out for lunch. we had a great time and gifted him a painting of Claire's that was his very favorite. it has been in our dining room for a long time and every time he comes over he says how much he loves her "Woods Monster" and I tell him how I do, too, and I can never part with it.
and then it was his birthday and I thought what the heck, I get to enjoy the artist herself every day so what's a painting, right?
he almost cried when he opened it. love that man.
she had ballet. she loves her ballet class. recently we went to buy her new slippers and the woman that helped us was one of the dancers in the Asheville Ballet and so we recognized her from the Nutcracker and Cinderella. Claire seemed a little starstruck and barely spoke or made eye contact. like it was all a bit too much, but in a good way. anyway, we rode the bike to class and then to the market afterwards for pastries and just a bit of hanging out. and then back home to work and clean and get the house (next door) ready for its first visitors, nana and aunt Jenni-baby and Claire's cousin, Lauren.
later that afternoon, a fever. which led to a nap on the couch (she practically never naps) snuggled under Cory's (bright and happy and soft and cozy) quilt. hours later I gave her some children's motrin and watched the nearly instant transformation from weepy, refusing-to-eat, miserable child to happy, dancing around, eating-a-ton-of-dinner child. I sometimes (always) have a hard time with how to approach fevers as a parent. I really want to let the fever do it's job, and so typically I let her ride it out a bit, even a moderately high fever, for days, especially if it isn't affecting her basic needs too terribly. but when she's just outright miserable I'll give in and give her a little motrin. and I'm always pleasantly shocked by the quick turnaround. I've heard great things about yarrow tea and children's fevers. any of you have experience with that?
she made a fox. I really like that little fox.
and she pointed out the "autumn leaf" print on the sidewalk. I hope it stays there for a while,
I like it too.
my mom stayed with us for a couple nights last week and will do so again this week. I pick her up and drive her to her outpatient therapy (where she is kicking butt and even doing some of the exercises with no supplemental oxygen) and then here to our place, then back to therapy and then home a couple days later. when she was here last week she read the journal I kept (and the blog posts I wrote) while she was in the ICU. she has no memory of those months herself, and it was pretty intense and emotional for her to read all of that. but good, definitely good.
often I just stopped whatever I was doing and looked at her and gave quiet thanks for her being here, for her having made it through, for the future, and for possibility.
one night I was getting dinner ready and overheard her reading a book to Claire in the other room. tears came to my eyes and I stood very still, soaking it in. because, you know, there were times this spring that I thought it may never happen again; her reading to Claire, that is.
thank you, thank you, thank you.
when she comes this week, we're having Thanksgiving dinner.
because of course.