Sunday, December 22, 2014
We woke up around 6:00 a.m. the next morning and had our morning coffee together as we rocked. Mostly, we sat in silence as we watched the sun slowly wake up the hollow and all the living things in it. The silence was punctuated with thoughts we shared with each other, if something happened to come to our minds.
I made potato and egg breakfast tacos for breakfast. After I heated up water on the camp stove and washed the dishes, I heated up more water in my big stock pot (formerly, the loo-in-the-tent, for those of you who have been reading a while) so that I could wash our hair.
The Propane people said that if they didn’t come on Saturday, that they would definitely come on Sunday. There was a high demand for propane and propane tanks, and thankfully for us, they were working 7 days a week during the winter season. So we sat there with clean hair waiting for the Propane people to arrive, and discussed the house and what our plan for the day would be.
Since we had arrived on Friday, we had felt sort of aimless in our work on the house. Not only did we feel that our work was on ‘hold’ waiting for the plumber and propane people to finish their business, but we had lost our focus on the what we wanted to do with the house. It seemed that we were hitting roadblocks every way we turned.
As we have gotten to the ‘bones’ of the house, we have been better able to see how the house was put together, and that has presented some problems. We were both feeling very discouraged. Neither of us is skilled in working on houses. Neither of us has ever done anything like this before. We have money constraints, time constraints, skill constraints, and we need to get the house ‘liveable’ by the time we have to move a whole house full of ‘stuff’ into it when Bud retires in June.
I said a quick prayer, because when I don’t know what to do, prayer is the ONLY thing I can do. The prayer I said was this:
Lord, please give us direction. Helps us to make this house into a haven of peace and rest for all who come to visit, and for me and Bud, too. Fill us with Your Wisdom, Knowledge and Discernment, and give us the skills we need to do the job. Help us to use this house for YOUR purpose, whatever that might be.
At around noon, I heard a car pull up, looked out the window and was elated to see our sweet friend who lives down the road. She is the one who had us out for burgers and to use her shower over the summer. I’m going to start calling her ‘R’. I met her out on the porch, gave her a big hug, and ushered her inside.
When ‘R’ came in the door, her eyes lit up. Last time she had seen the living room, our bed was in there and we had two ugly, lime green, 70’s kitchen chairs that we inherited with the place that we pulled out for her to sit on. The whole place was just not a very inviting or peaceful place to sit and chat. This time, we had the two rocking chairs and little table.
I offered to make a pot of coffee, and she accepted immediately. She followed me into our ‘kitchen’ and while I ground the coffee beans and put the coffee on, Bud showed her the work that the plumber had done in the bathroom. She ‘ooo-ed’ and ‘ahhhh-ed’ over the progress. When R first moved to this area, she went through a similar sort of thing, so she knows what it’s like to live like this, and how every milestone is a major victory.
While the coffee was brewing, we went back into the living room and offered her a rocking chair. She readily accepted and sunk down into that rocking chair, and immediately began rocking with her head rested against the back of the chair. It looked like that chair was made for her (but she would have to fight me or Bud to get it!) Her eyes glazed over as she looked out the window while rocking, and peace washed over her. She also enjoyed the coffee (we have good coffee, if I don’t say so myself), and she even had a second cup. I was grateful to be able to offer something to this lady who had done so much for us, and to have some nice chairs to offer it in. (Thank you, Bud.)
R came bearing gifts, too! She brought us some handmade soap! I LOVE handmade soap! I use to make it myself, but when I got sick and started to struggle with fatigue, I lost interest in just about everything I use to enjoy doing. Bud loved my handmade soap, and hated to go back to grocery store soap. Even when I made my own handmade soap, I loved to try handmade soap made by other people. Some of the soap R made for us was unscented, and others were lavender scented, which is one of my favorite scents.
She made note on the packaging of the date it would be ready to use. Cold-Process soap has to cure for four weeks. It’s okay to use before then, but it’s just not as hard as it will be at the end of four weeks, and melts quickly. When we were finally able to use the tub, Bud cheated and used one of the soaps. I was secretly glad, because I had been lusting after those soaps and couldn’t wait to try them, either! This is some seriously good soap, and I’m having a hard time waiting for it to cure!
One of the things R said to us while she was there rocking was how much she loved the walls. When we had gotten layers of wallpaper and particle board paneling off the walls, I liked the way the walls looked, too, but there are spaces between the boards. All of the boards are not square, in fact, nothing is ‘square’ in that house. None of the windows are even. Even the doorways are not square. Quite frankly, it looks like the stereotype of a ‘hillbilly house’.
I have always been drawn to rustic cabins and houses. We had planned on putting up knotty pine or cedar paneling on the walls, but every time we talked about our ‘style’ it was always a cross between ‘rustic’ and ‘the-hillbilly-who-struck-the-big-time,’ and we had no clear idea of the direction we wanted to go.
R also mentioned that the sturdy oak wood on the walls was part of the structural integrity of the place. Even the plumber was talking about what a nice house it was, and said that he had seen a lot of run-down houses and had put in plumbing on old houses that weren’t near as sound and good as this one. He told us TWICE how nice it was. Just about everyone who has come in has commented on the walls.
The walls are a dichotomy, of sorts. On the one hand, you have this awesome, sold oak, beautiful wood on the walls. On the other hand, some of it is cracked. Some of it is stained. It’s rough, it has a lot of nails (or nail holes.) The boards are different widths. You can see the saw marks on it. Many of the boards are not square, and a wedge has been put in there to straighten things up. You can kind of see the different widths in this picture:
After R left, we felt encouraged. Everyone who has come into the house has said they like the walls. So it’s not perfect, but it’s good wood. We have decided to ‘go with it’. The more I thought about it, the more I liked those walls. We just have a massive task ahead of us getting all of the nails out of there! It’s almost comical how many nails are in those walls due to the layers of wallpaper which they nailed and tacked in.
When our friend left, we started pulling nails out of the walls, feeling more focused and more at peace.