Friday, September 25, 2009

Still Breathing Deeply

We were briefly successful at cooking dinners a few times a week and using all the leftovers for lunches and lazy-evening dinners, and I really want to get that back and finally nail down a semi-regular weekly grocery trip that will keep our kitchen well-stocked but never over-stocked, so that we don't have food going to waste. We've had no more than one not-even-full bag of trash per week, with recycling and a compost heap accepting the rest of our waste, so I'm happy about that. But I want to know that we're living as responsibly as we can afford to, not letting leftovers sit in our fridge and veggies rot on our counter because we're so busy and have more than enough. I want to have just the right amount. I want to fill up the freezer with our own prepared meals so we can easily make a great home-cooked meal for anyone at any time, and for ourselves when we need a night to just relax. And I want to be comfortable enough with running the house and kitchen that it will be natural to incorporate our own vegetable garden into it next spring, so that the awesome rain barrels Paul built will be put to good use, and we'll be even more self-sufficient!

We've spent so much money on ourselves since we bought this house, and we feel so lucky and happy to have so many nice things. And still, I want more things that I know I don't need: an iPhone, a Kindle, more shelves for the living room, new shoes, new fall clothes; I think of more STUFF every day. But starting now, I am going to make a huge effort to STOP. I am going to focus on enjoying everything we have, and getting it all organized into the flow and routine I crave. That's the really important thing right now, and once I can do that, it will be clear exactly where we stand and what should come next. Paul might be going back to school full time by next Fall or even sooner, but if everything else is running smoothly, that should fit right in with the routine and actually make things even easier.

I can feel my impatience kicking in already for all this to just happen, so I'm going to need to come back and re-read this post often to remind myself that I have to MAKE it happen, and that I CAN make it happen. And when I need a break, I already have a cozy house to relax in, an awesome husband to relax with, a ton of amazing friends nearby to hang out with, and a family nearby who's always happy to feed me dinner and DVR TV shows for me and welcome me into my old comfort zone while I work on solidifying our new comfort zone. Life is good, and it's only getting better.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More Deep Breaths

I am still hoping we can get Juno this weekend. Whether or not she’s with us, I’m planning to spend the entire weekend cleaning, organizing, and hopefully clearing out the den in the basement so that can become another comfortable living space. Either the expectation of getting her, or actually having her there, will be a nice added motivator to get all this stuff done this weekend. If I can get significantly caught up, it will do an immeasurable amount of good for my stress level and feeling like we’re on the right track towards all these impossible visions I have for a smoothly-running household.
[UPDATE: Provided her biopsy results are negative, we will be getting Juno this weekend!]

I keep looking ahead a few weeks and expecting things to calm down and start being "normal," but they never do! I still think it might actually happen soon - once we get the dog, and clean up the den in the basement, there really isn't anything else big and exciting on the horizon. I really hope I'm right. I really, really, REALLY want to have a routine, keep the house reasonably clean & organized on a regular basis, and spend time doing a bunch of little things instead of a few big things. I want to knit, and read, and cook, and play with the dog, and spend 15-30 minutes a day cleaning; not stress about painting that needs to be finished and the huge mess in the basement and baskets overflowing with laundry and sink overflowing with dishes.

All these friends having babies have made me want to have a baby more, not less, even when I hear their first-hand stories about the bad stuff; but I feel like I don't even have my own life under control right now, so how could I possibly do it with a baby? This is part of the reason that I am excited to have a dog - it will be a lot of additional responsibility, but I always worked harder and did better in school during the most busy and difficult times, so I think this will be similar. I always get my house the cleanest when I'm expecting company or planning a party, and I think having a dog will help me keep my eye on the ball, step up to the plate, and really finally get into a viable routine that will allow us to keep the house at a reasonable level of organization all the time, instead of in big waves of super-messy to clean to messy again. And if we can do that, then stress will go way down, and we'll be able to focus on the important things.

I'm sure this will not happen as neatly and easily as it sounds when I write it like that, but I need to have this hopeful plan in place, so please don't leave comments telling me it's all a pipe dream. I need to believe that I can have my house 95% clean, organized, finished, and running like a well-oiled machine by mid-November so that we can enjoy it for the holidays. I want my plan to start sending more snail-mail from my very own desk in our little home office to be realized in time to send out nice holiday cards to everyone. I want to have the traditional Wednesday-night-before-Thanksgiving party at our house, and flow right into Thanksgiving Day with Paul's family, hosted at our house, our first official family holiday event in our own home. I want to send out change-of-address post cards to invite everyone to an open house, so that our home can be that place where everyone feels welcome to stop by just to say hello, ask for a cup of flour, borrow a rake, join us for dinner.

Still way long, so I'll finish venting tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Deep Breaths

I've been feeling thoughtful lately, but with no time to indulge in quiet contemplation. With Paul in class on Monday and Wednesday nights, and choir practice for me on Thursdays, we only have Tuesday evenings to ourselves at home. To avoid being lonely on Wednesdays I joined bell choir for the fall, and on Mondays the wives have been getting together while the husbands watch football (Paul joins them after class), so the upshot is a very busy schedule every single week. I love every activity, but it means that I don't do laundry, dishes, cleaning, or organizing that really needs to be done.

This weekend is the first in a long time with no big plans, so whether or not we get our new furry family member, I'm looking forward to spending it at home getting caught up. There's loads of cleaning, tidying, and organizing to do just upstairs, and even more to get the finished room in the basement cleared out. I feel stressed out just thinking about it, but luckily it's the kind of stressed out that makes me want to FIX IT. Unfortunately, that means I'm having a hard time thinking about anything else this week, wishing I could just go home and get started.

Last Saturday was a pretty huge stress-fest going to get the piano. Nothing went as planned, with traffic being the main stressor, but I'm happy that the piano is now living in its official spot in our living room. It's not very play-able right now, with two keys broken and the lower half of the keyboard not damping, but it still felt wonderful to re-introduce myself to Chopin's Raindrop Prelude, still my favorite piece. I was so happy when it came right back to me, and I felt like I could have sat there playing it over and over all night and not gotten tired of it. That made the stressful Saturday all worth it. I got the name of the guy who tunes and maintains Trinity's pianos, and he's coming to tune and fix my new pride & joy on October 13. I will be so happy that I will probably spend the rest of that evening playing the piano. Even not working properly, it feels SO WONDERFUL to own a piano again!

This week feels even more crazy, with not a single night at home, but it's all been fun so I can't complain. Monday night ALL the wives were free (usually only about half of us get together), and we were all at our house, which felt wonderful. Our living room feels lovely now that it has all the furniture we bought, floor lights, a colorful area rug, TV, curtains and blinds hung, everything painted, the piano, and even a painting propped up; but it felt like home with four friends, two babies, and a dog all hanging out and enjoying themselves. My mom even got to meet Ella and Andrew (the babies) for the first time! I had a great evening.

This post is getting extremely long, so I'll save the rest for tomorrow...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Home update

We got the carpet! It's brighter than in the pic in the previous post; in-our-living-room pic coming soon.

The TV stand is scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday, no word yet on the painting, but that's OK because I can't hang it until we also have...

this piano that we're getting on Saturday from friends near Philly!

In other exciting house-related news, today we officially applied for a
specific Italian Greyhound (as opposed to just applying to an agency for one in the future):

She's 5 years old and has lived in a kennel at a breeder thus far, having puppies. She sounds great for us because 5 years is about when IGs mellow out, she's used to sleeping in her kennel, she's healthy (which is why they used her to breed) so no expensive health problems, and she's already micro-chipped which means we don't have to worry about re-licensing her every year. In addition, of course, to all the other reasons we want an IG in the first place. Oh, also, I love the grey and white coloring. So, yay!!

Pictures soon, I swear.

UPDATE: We're officially approved to adopt the Italian Greyhound from Petfinder! She's getting spayed today (or maybe next Tuesday), and we will go pick her up as soon as she's recovered from the surgery! SO EXCITING!! I have to finish Ella's sweater before I can start knitting one for the new dog, but that's definitely next. Also, possible name (since we're re-naming her): Juno. As the Roman goddess of marriage and pregnancy, it fits with her first 5 years spent breeding. Also, it fits my criteria of not being a common human name (despite the recent movie). Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Home! It's almost here.

On Monday, Paul and I finished the hardest parts of finishing the living room. The painting is done, the blinds are hung, and the curtain rod is still empty but ready to receive the curtains. The furniture is arranged. In a few days, I'm going to buy this 5'x8' rug to ground the sitting area:

and this TV stand:

so that our new TV can stop living on our coffee table:

(Side note: doesn't President Obama look great on our new TV? I thought so.)

and we can start LIVING in our living room!

Paul needs to hang our clock above the fireplace, and I need to hang photos (LOTS of photos) to warm up those white walls, but that will be a fun process. I have a great idea for a big, asymmetric photo collage on the wall inside the front door. Also might get this 23"x35" Klimt stretched canvas, "The Tree of Life," which also ties right in with the whole color scheme:

On Saturday, we're heading down to Virginia for our friends Sarah and Ginny's wedding shower, and on the way we're going to stop at the Woodbridge Ikea to get another floor lamp to match the one in the picture above. If we see a pair of end tables we like, we might get those too, if the price is right! The shower is at 3:00, somewhere down Rt. 95 below Woodbridge, but we're leaving in the morning so we have time to stop at Lebanese Taverna for lunch before heading to Ikea. Should be a really fun Saturday!

Also, I posted pics of my various favorite babies: