When finding yourself requires a passport…

I often journal and last year when I traveled to London, I did just that.  Below is the first entry in my journal recording my trip, the first I had taken in four years…

October 31st, 2012:  9:50pm EST

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I awoke this morning with a mix of excitement and dread.  Excited about the trip that would begin today, and dreading the actual traveling.  Leaving Jack, leaving my young business, leaving my house and all my things and the comfort they provided me…  I actually thought, many times, about cancelling the trip.

In the past, I would have done just that.  Convinced myself that I had too much work to do at home.  That I couldn’t be so far away from Jack.  That I couldn’t afford it.  And while all of that is true, here I sit, in the International Terminal of Atlanta’s airport.

I was hoping for a sit down meal to linger over, because I had to be here so early, but the only food is food court style.  So, I had a crab cake and jalapeno and pepper jack grits and a sweet tea and observed the passing travelers.

I don’t usually wonder where people are traveling to or from, as most people do.  No, I am most often wondering if they are traveling on business, or for a vacation.  And I wonder if they left a family at home.  And I wonder if they miss the ones they left at home.

That is certainly due to my history of being the one left at home so often, and wondering, from my own house, whether LK was missing me or what he was doing while on the road…

But this trip is for me!  I haven’t had a real (international or plane required) trip in four years.  No, I’ve been at home, pregnant, or nursing a sick child, or raising a relatively healthy child, or nursing a broken heart, or staging my comeback, most recently.

So I really, truly hope, that this trip can be the start of a new chapter in my life.  A happier, brighter chapter, full of optimism, hope and opportunities.  A “reboot” of sorts.  People always tell me I have earned happiness, and that I deserve happiness, and I believe that for other people.  But for myself?  Not an easy entitlement to take on.

Happiness has, for so long, looked to me like marriage and a family.  But now I am, surprisingly, looking forward to a trip to London without a significant other.  I’m pretty sure that’s called growth.

And if I get home happier, rejuvenated and engaged in life again, well maybe someone will find me.  And if not, I will be all those wonderful things for me and for Jack.

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My next journal entry finds me freaking the hell out, having left Jack and barreling over the Atlantic Ocean, farther and farther away from what I know and love…  Check back soon!

Warmly,Maggie

 

Sometimes, it takes a year to start again…

Well, it’s been a year since my last post.  It seems like only days have passed, really.  I go through cycles of wanting to share, and wanting to protect my story, and the last 12 months were a protective time.  Now, I am feeling the desire to write again and to share my corner of the world.  It’s such an amazing life, and I’m blessed to be living it.

I have promised several friends, who have promised to become accountability partners, that I will begin writing again.  So below is a quick recap of the past year.  I will try to catch up and let you know the highlights of the past year in the coming weeks, and also write more regularly about life here with Jack.

As you may have noticed, I bought the domain name and have moved my blog from a free site to this one.  I haven’t “prettied it up” yet, but that will come in the future.  For now, I just wanted to make the change to a site I owned.  It just felt right.

And now….  The STAR of this show…

Sweet Baby J is continuing to grow and learn, and quite honestly, amaze the medical community.  His last cardiology appointment was a few weeks back and his heart is looking very healthy.  What is most frightening to me how quickly life is passing these days.  Jack is taller and more talkative everyday, and I can feel him growing up and away from me, the way children do, but mothers dread.  He loves school and is learning so much, and he seems destined to have the love of reading and knowledge that I have enjoyed.

My business efforts have been paying off in the past year and I’m starting to see some good traction and growth. I wake up each morning looking forward to the opportunity to help my clients grow their businesses and, thereby, improve the community I live in.  I used to always feel superfluous as a sales rep for  large companies, telling myself that we “weren’t curing cancer” and that what I did didn’t really matter.  And maybe this business isn’t really as important as healing people, but I am helping them to realize their goals of having successful businesses.  I love helping people learn new things, and that has become a major focus of my company lately.

Some of the things I will write about include making the decision to commit to my business and really try to make a go of it as an entrepreneur.  Some of the highlights include a trip to California, where I met a personal business inspiration and several women who continue to amaze me with their success and willingness to help one another.  I can’t wait to tell you about that trip!

And in what is a surprise to no one, except for me, I am dating.  Close friends frequently told me that I would date again, but I was happy alone, and dating is exhausting. Lots of people told me that men were “intimidated by me” and that’s why they didn’t ask me out.

Apparently being an intelligent, independent, single mother with her shit together is far less attractive than the feminists would have us believe.  Well, I have no time to invest in making a man feel superior to me, so I didn’t waste time with it.  I knew that there had to be a man out there who was not only NOT intimidated by me, but could hold his own, celebrate my strength, and still make me feel like a pretty, pretty princess.  And y’all, I found him.

At least I may have…

It’s still very new, and who knows what will happen, but we are enjoying each other now and he is teaching me a lot about relaxing and enjoying life.  And Jack thinks he’s really fun, too.

OK, so there you go.  A quick peek into the past 12 months.  As promised, I will detail a few highlights and keep you posted on the awesome monotony that is daily life around here.  I no longer feel like my happiness is a year away.  It’s always just around the corner, if not all around me like the blessings and joys I’ve found lately.  I just had to look.

Good to see y’all again!

Maggie

Continuing the journey…

I knew going into this blog that it would take more than a year to find happiness.  Anyone who is honest with themselves knows that it is an ongoing and never-ending task, searching for their own happy.  But I like to set deadlines and goals, and a year is a good length of time for new ventures.

 

My latest journey on the “road back” was a short trip to London, England last week.  I used to travel all the time; for work, with LK, whenever the opportunity arose.  But with all the upheaval in the last three years, I hadn’t been able to, and realized this summer that I hadn’t travelled in almost four years.  I was beginning to get a bit of cabin fever and wanderlust, but the ties to Jack were too strong to allow me to branch out very far.

 

But then, this fall, I reached the point of no return.  I was frustrated, lonely, exhausted and, quite truthfully, angry.  I had been taking care of all my obligations at home, which I freely and joyfully took up. But let’s be honest here, taking care of a special needs child is difficult.  Doing it as a single parent feels like an impossible task some days.  I consider it a blessing and an honor to be doing it, and doing it fairly well, but even I have my limits.  So I decided to call in a favor.

 

Immediately prior our separation, LK and I had a trip to Paris planned for my birthday.  Once he left, I discovered that he had cancelled the trip without telling me.  I asked him why he cancelled my ticket and he was stunned when I said I would have gone alone.  Of course the ensuing discussion wasn’t very civil, but what came out of it was a promise to provide a plane ticket (via his immense bank of airline miles) once I was ready.  And while he was a little hesitant when I called the favor in, he did book the ticket for me. 

 

In another blessing, I had friends in London who offered me a place to stay.  I had known JS, the wife, since she was dating LK’s brother, nearly a decade ago.  I had always prayed they would marry so that we could be partners in the crazy family that was LK’s.  But in a bit of divine intervention, it didn’t work out.  And now we know why.  :-)  I had only met RS, the husband, a few times, but we had become “Facebook friends” and shared Likes and Comments back and forth for a few years.  They were wonderful hosts and I loved their neighborhood and hospitality.

 

Those two bits of the trip, a plane ticket and place to stay, removed a significant barrier to my ability to travel: money.  I could afford food and some sightseeing, but that was about it.  The addition of a longtime friend, JD, who travels regularly, meant that I would have a sightseeing partner, which removed the final fear: Being kidnapped in a foreign country.  Don’t laugh.  I have watched a lot of Lifetime movies in the past four years at home.

 

Over the next few weeks, I will share my photos, as well as selections from the travel journal that I kept.  I saw lots of old stuff, ate tons of delicious food (it’s a myth that the English have terrible cuisine) and learned a lot about myself.  I was also reminded of the Maggie that I knew before LK left, Jack arrived and I let myself be forgotten so that other things could be taken care of.  

 

I hope you will check back and if you do, that you will enjoy my remembrances of the amazing trip.  And I really hope that if you have been putting off travel, or been putting yourself on the shelf for the benefit of others, that you will be inspired to again place yourself in the forefront.  At least long enough to remind yourself of who you are and want to be.

 

Maggie

Picking Uniforms for the Summer

Recently, I have been discussing the coming swimsuit season with my girlfriends and many of them are self-handicapping their search.  This happens every year, but for some reason, it really bothers me this summer.  Women hate shopping for bathing suits.  Well, not all women.  I am sure that there is a small percentage of women who have low body fat percentages (except in certain, strategic areas, mysteriously) and high self esteem (at least, evidentlly), who find the process beautiful and self affirming.  The rest of women hate those women.  Not really.  Just kidding….

But, as I said, this year feels different.  Maybe it’s the battle I’ve been through, or maybe it’s the beautiful child that I grew in my stomach, but this year, I am going to buy a suit that I like.  I am not going to worry if it “makes me look fat” or is “age appropriate” or whether it confirms my “mom” status.  It is just going to be for me.  I didn’t get stretch marks while I was pregnant, and sometimes I cry about that.  Unfortunately, Jack came 10 weeks early and I didn’t gain that much weight.  I would trade a stomach full of scars for a healthy child, but I can’t.  That experience does give me some perspective, though.  While I was pregnant, I began to see my purpose on Earth was to raise Jack, and it made the changes in my body beautiful and meaningful.  When I see the rare woman, covered in stretch marks, yet brave enough to don a bikini, I silently revel in her bravado, and envy her healthy children, whom she carried to term.

Now, I understand that some men may look at women in bathing suits and make judgements or even comments.  But I believe that the biggest problem is from women judging each other.  One friend said she stopped wearing bikinis at age 37, because it was time.  I will be 37 later this year, so I guess I get a little leeway this year.  She is now looking for the “one piece with the skirt” ensemble so popular with middle aged women.  And she is gorgeous!  So why are women worried about the suit?

Who knows?  Some of it is that they want to hide body imperfections, or appear responsible enough to have children, or even just to be comfortable.  But whatever the reason, buy the damn suit you want, ladies.  And let the 400 pound “adonis” who is looking at you worry about the stretch band on his own suit.

I told my friend last week, when we were discussing the little black bikini I was searching for “don’t hate the player, hate the game!”  It was a joke, but I am working hard on a body for health reasons, and it allows me some latitude, in terms of the suit I wear.  But I WILL NOT be self handicapping my bathing suit search in order to avoid attention or make others comfortable.

Just say NO! to the one piece with the skirt!!!!

Unless that’s what you really, really want to wear…..

Maggie

Projects Update: Closets and Faucets

I hope you all are having a great week.  Atlanta was blessed with beautiful, mild weather today and Jack went to his first day of preschool.  What a great milestone for him, and for me!  When I dropped him off I expected at least a little bit of a fuss, but he just went right in and never looked back.  Clearly, he will have a love for school just like I did! 

When I picked him up, there were two children asleep, one crying his eyes out and Jack was playing with a toy telephone that another child was trying to take from him.   He just looked at the boy, held on tightly and waited him out.  Jack retained possession of the toy and when he noticed me he didn’t run right to me, but just kept playing.  Fortunately for me, the crying child needed a hug so I got to sweep him up and love on him until Jack was ready to leave.  The teacher told me that Jack was the only child who hadn’t cried that day and I felt blessed to have such a happy, confident child.  In spite of his rough start and all my overprotectiveness!

So, finally an update on the projects I’ve been working on!  With the help of my father and his friend, we replaced all the faucets in the bathrooms.  I have lived with the ugly bronze ones that were here when we moved in for a decade.  I didn’t want to spend money fixing something that wasn’t broken, but when they began to refuse to yield water, one by one, I was able to give myself permission to go buy new ones.  And I found gorgeous brushed nickle ones for less than $50 each!  It was a small change that makes me happy everytime I look at them. 

Below is a photo of the old faucet, which was the same in all four sinks.  All four were removed before I remembered to take a picture, but I believe the ugliness is still obvious:

And below is the new faucet.  This one is in the powder room and as Daddy pointed out, it matches the mirror that I bought for that bathroom over six years ago. 

I love the new faucets!  I will keep squirrelling a little money away each week until I can afford the next bathroom fix-up: new lighting!!  Each bathroom has, wait for it, ugly brass light fixtures that I really don’t like.  I’ll let you know when I get that done, hopefully before Christmas!

The next project that I want to catch you up on is the closet build out that I started in the guest room.  I absolutely love the result!!  I am still planning to add drawers in the future, but the three drawers cost as much as the whole organizer, so they will be acquired as I save for them.  For now, the shelves are working just fine.  This photo is of the closet organizer empty:

And here is the closet filled with my sewing machine, some extra blankets and pillows, luggage and off season clothes:

I am very happy with the end result and have been in there to just look at it several times since it was finished.  Clearing out the clutter is great, and creating a beautiful, functional storage space is absolutely wonderful.  When your whole world seems hectic and out of control, it’s just nice to have a corner of your home whipped into shape.  Is there anything more relaxing?

So is there anything you can do in your own home to make a corner of your world more relaxed and peaceful?  Let me know if you start a project of your own in search of happiness!

Enjoying my home and life,

Maggie

 

Sappy, Life-Affirming Metaphors Ahead…

I did not get the closet build out finished last week and I am totally okay with that.  Because what I did get done is prepare the closet for it’s new role as my favorite closet in the house.  Below is the before photo of the closet with the single, builder grade wire shelf.  The closet is not living up to its potential at all…

Now, brace yourself for the aforementioned sappy, life-affirming metaphor.  I don’t know if it was the fatigue, or the paint fumes, but I began to really identify with this closet during the past week.  Like the closet, I haven’t been living up to my potential in quite a while.  But only as a woman, and person.  As a mother and protector of Jack, I am an unmatched and rousing success.  As Maggie, I have left a few things untended.

As I removed the wire shelf, the anchors and screws that had supported it clung to the wall like a dog to a bone, and like I have been to my past.  Once finally and violently removed, the holes left in the drywall were gaping and dramatic.  I couldn’t believe the size and design of the anchors.  How could this much engineering be required for a lone wire shelf?  But the ugly shelf was expected to hold perhaps a hundred pounds of clothes and the drywall foundation would never be strong enough. 

Anyway, I guess my marriage was like the anchors and screws.  Over engineered to hold up an ugly and dysfunctional relationship that, no matter how many beautiful clothes, or trips, jewelry or other “things” were hung on it, would never be pretty, and certainly never strong enough to support us.  It, we, looked great on paper.  Everyone said so.  I thought so.  But in practice, the design was flawed and the life we built fell apart.  So, moving forward, I patched and sanded the voids left in the wall and painted them a lovely shade of creamy off-white.

Isn’t it a beautiful clean slate?  I am still looking for the spackle and sand paper and paint that will transform my soul into a clean slate, but in the meantime, I find that hard work and sweat are a great help. 

Below, I have included a photo of the lower half of the tower that will be in the center of the closet, to give you some perspective.  It is about two feet wide and the closet is about seven or eight feet wide.  The bedroom is kind of small, so I am going to install drawers in the tower so that a dresser isn’t necessary in the room.

The next step involves a level, a drill and a saw, and although I am quite comfortable with a firearm, these tools scare me.  So I am waiting on help to arrive this weekend.  If all goes well, the closet will be finished by this time next week and I will have a wonderfully fresh, clean new place to look at and be inspired by moving forward.

We can all thank HGTV and the DIY network for the metaphors and disproportionate importance placed on home improvement this week.

Happy home improving!
Maggie

 

Well, when she says it…

I have spent a lot of time in this blog referring to “that man” as “my soon to be ex” or “him” or “Jack’s father” and it has always irked me that I have had to be so clumsy in my writing in order not to name him.  I will still not name him here, because even though he is a baby-abandoning jackwagon, I don’t want to compromise his life by writing about him by name in this forum.  Most of you know us personally, and you know who he is, and those of you who don’t know us personally won’t lose any of the story by not knowing his name.  In any case, I have decided to create a “nom de code” for him so that I don’t have to expend energy trying to hide his true name.  I thought of several derogatory names, but I think Jack may find this blog some day in the future, so I don’t want to be unduly harsh.  I will just call him “LK” for no other reason than that those keys are conveniently located near one another on the keyboard.  So….. Moving on…..

Monday found us, bright and early, at the pediatricians office for Jack’s 15 month check up.  “LK” was supposed to be there for our 9:30am appointment but by 9:40am he still hadn’t appeared.  I kept telling myself not to call or text him, that if he wanted to be there, he’d make it happen.  That I was no longer responsible for making sure he took care of the important things in his life, that I don’t work for him anymore.  But that’s not me.  So I texted him and asked if he was coming.  He replied that traffic was bad and he was almost there.  Now, we live in the metro-Atlanta area.  Of course the traffic was bad, nimrod!!  Leave earlier!!!  Breathe…..  

I told him the exam room we were in and waited for him to arrive.  When he did he noted how amazing it was that we were already in a room and hadn’t been kept waiting for the doctor.  That is one amazing thing about raising a child with a congenital heart defect.  They are so susceptible to infections that we are never left in the waiting room of a doctors office for fear of infection from the other children.  It’s a perq that I would gladly trade for a healthy child, although I appreciate the gesture. 

When the doctor came in, she was followed by a medical student, which is par for the course when we visit any doctors office.  Jack is quite a rare case.  Actually, any baby with a heart defect is an exciting learning opportunity for those in the medical field and this student was hanging on the doctors every word.  When the doctor completed her exam she asked if the student could listen to Jack’s heart and I consented.  The student asked me to describe the defect, and as she listened to the murmur, her eyes grew bigger and bigger.  This happens every time.  The doctor used the familiar terms to speak to her and explain the condition and the anatomy and I just sat knowingly.  The doctor told the student that while Jack had a massive murmur, as long as it didn’t sound like a horses gallop (the cue that heart failure was beginning) that his heart was doing okay.

“LK” on the other hand was unfazed and began asking the doctor questions.  He had heard her extol Jack’s growth and appearance and just wanted assurance that Jack was healthy.  He actually said “So he’s doing really well?  He’s basically a healthy, normal kid?”  I immediately stiffened and raised an eyebrow.  I have been telling “LK” for two years that Jack is not a healthy normal kid and that he would always be at risk, but he still doesn’t believe me.  Or maybe he doesn’t want to believe it about Jack.  I’m not sure which.  To my extreme satisfaction, the doctor also stiffened and set “LK” straight with a direct and stern response confirming that Jack was healthy, and really quite lucky, given his condition.  But that he would never be “normal” and that he would always be at risk for heart failure and infections or sickness that would put him in the hospital.  She told him that Jack had a “repaired” heart, but that it would never be “fixed” and that he would need treatment his whole life.  Ahhhh, satisfaction, vindication, what?  Not sure, but that made me happy.

“LK” texted me later and said it was really “eye opening” to go to the doctors appointment and hear about Jack’s growth and development and that he looked forward to meeting with the cardiologist.  I took a moment to breathe before I responded, and marveled at how a man with a masters degree in engineering could be so daft in understanding the condition and care of a child with a severe congenital heart defect.  Not “a child” dammit!  His child!  And then I realized that I wasn’t feeling anger, but disgust, and pity.  It is so very sad that he missed so many of Jack’s medical milestones and doctors visits.  I know Jack so much better than “LK” does, or probably ever will and while “LK” has a freedom that I may never know again, I have a bond with Jack that “LK” may never develop.  I think I win out there. 

I have seen Jack’s heart on ultrasound over 30 times and saw his right ventricle thin and begin to improve pumping function over the course of his first year.  I “fed” him his first meal (via feeding tube) and I placed, removed and replaced feeding tubes so that he could continue to grow.  I was nearby each and every time that Jack’s heart stopped, or that he stopped breathing and he had to be resuscitated.  I measured his oxygen saturation levels for six months and I have monitored his skin color from the moment he was born for indications that his heart or blood flow were compromised.  And on two occasions that led to hospital visits and confirmation that he was in a very early stage of significant distress. I listen to his heart so often I sometimes wonder if I’m not doing it just to make sure it’s still beating.  As some sort of comfort. 

I am tethered to and, some may say, “trapped” by the heart condition that Jack has.  But it has been so much more a liberation and a blessing.  I have been given the opportunity to realize the deepest, most loving relationship I have ever known and I am a more loving, compassionate and caring human being because of it.  It is absolutely not fair that Jack has to have this defect, and I still rage and sob with pain over his bad luck.  But I believe that, given how well he has done, that he is destined for great things.  God, or the universe, or however you describe the great planner, has placed Jack on Earth, and me as his mother, for the express purpose of bettering the world.  I can attest that he has already made me a better person.  I am hoping and praying that he will work his magic on “LK” next.

Maggie

Project 2: Complete

I managed, with some help from family, friends and prayer, to get both bedrooms cleaned and ready for my guests.  The office now has a bed in it, and both are made and comfy for a welcoming stay.  My houseguests arrived this afternoon, following a multi-day road trip to get here, and M.A.’s sweet son said “I can’t believe we’re finally back in Fayetteville!”   Such a sweetheart.  We’re all happy he’s back, too!

What I realized this week was that the true project wasn’t simply getting the rooms ready for them, although it needed to be done, and was quite a lot of work.  No, the true project was getting myself ready to share my house with other people.  I knew that my persnikity-ness was a barrier to happiness in my life.  I like things quiet, and I like to do things a certain way, and I like my schedule.  But someone can have things in their home exactly as they want them, and still be completely isolated and lonely and unhappy in their life.  I wouldn’t say that I have been “completely unhappy” but I have certainly been isolated and lonely. 

This past week, I was really getting ready to open myself up to living with other people again and engage in relationships with people in very close quarters.  What I realized was that I had a lot of fear of rejection and abandonment.  I know where it comes from, but couldn’t explain to myself why I felt those fears in this situation.  Now I understand that I don’t want to be overbearing or rigid in my interactions with my houseguests just so that I can keep things the way I want them.  I want so badly not to offend them and force them to feel unwelcomed, or uncomfortable and feel like they can’t live here.  I don’t like things in my life the way they are, and that’s why I’m attempting this whole project.

So in short, the rooms were transformed this past week, and I made progress in my own transformation.  The rooms in my brain and heart are also being rearranged and the long held beliefs about how things “should be” are being swept out.  I feel very good about this new, on-going project and have high hopes for a great summer with our guests.

Best,

Maggie

Project 2: In process and exhausting…

I am so glad that I am taking on this project.  It feels so good to get rid of things, either by trashing, recycling or donating them.  I have visions in my head of a home like one you would see in a modernist design magazine.  You know the ones, most people call the rooms “cold” or “empty.”  But I love those.  There’s usually a couch, a coffee table, a mirror or some art piece, a silver or glass “object d’art” and a delicate looking orchid in an expensive vase.  Now, the reason I love it so much is because I remember being in the hospital, and having to direct my Mama to the things I needed in my home.  I made a long list of things, with directions of where they were, and I think, even a drawing or two.  I don’t want to live like that.  It made me anxious.  I want to be light and clean and ready to go at a moments notice.

I have a way to go on that goal.   But this project is getting me one step closer to it.  It is so much work, but I had a friend helping me today, so she was running things to the garage, or another room while I continued to sort and purge.  I just loved the efficiency.  That never worked with my ex.  He always wanted to throw out entire boxes of stuff, but I needed to touch each piece, just to make sure we weren’t throwing out important things.  Would it surprise you to hear that I found three rebate checks made out to him today?  All of them were written (and expired) over four years ago.  Ugh!  That made me so mad!  But then I remembered that the whole point of this year-long experiment in happiness was to let go of the things that used to make me feel so angry or alone, and begin to build a new life and home full of things and experiences that I love.  And oh, are we on the way!

Today I put away all the clothes in the “laundry annex.”  YAY!   I then removed all the Barbies from the closet, entered the name and serial number into a spreadsheet and sent that to a contact I have that sells things on eBay.  With any luck I’ll clear some clutter and make a little money to finance my next project at the same time.  If not, the Barbies will be piled in my bedroom until Christmas when the little girl patients at Egleston will be blessed with an embarassment of socially controversial toys.  Below are photos of the “boys room” after today’s work.

I changed the bedding, but I may have to try again.  Still a little too “35-year-old-woman” for a little boy.  Gotta go shopping again, I guess!

And below is the boys room closet.  Only the stuff from the shelf is left and that will all be gone tomorrow.

I’m so excited about what I have planned for this closet!  I hope it works out.  We’ll all see the results soon!

The office didn’t make a huge transformation yet, so I am not going to show any in process photos.  But that’s mainly because I forgot to take those photos, it’s almost 11pm, and a severe storm is barrelling toward me.  I also spent some time this afternoon cleaning out the storage closet under my stairs, and stocking it with pillows and blankets.  Raleigh even has a bed in there.  I am ready if we have to go there.

I was also very excited about the changes in the office closet so far.  Below is a shot of the closet as it was, once all the office supplies were removed, and then once I redesigned it a bit for clothes.

I put a shirt in there for a little perspective.  I think it’s awesome in person.  I can’t tell you how much I love a clear, clean space.  I actually went in there today and just breathed.  Aaaaahhhhhh….  I can’t wait until more of the house is like this.

So there it is.  Project 2 is well on the way, and my guests will be here soon.  It’s a lot of work, but it would be positively un-Southern to welcome guests into a home that wasn’t ready to make them feel comfortable and at home.  And that I feel more relaxed by cleaning out the clutter is a bonus that will make the whole adventure better.

I am now going to go get my baby and go sit in the closet under the stairs.  The wind is howling and Jack is starting tyo wimper from what I assume is the pain in his ears from the pressure changes.  I will post in the morning to let you know how we did through the night’s storms.  Somehow, I feel better able to handle tonight knowing that I have an empty closet, fully stocked for several hours of hunkering down.

Stormily yours,

Maggie

Project 1: Done?

 

Well, as it turns out, I am either incapable of, or unwilling to create the outdoor oasis of my dreams.  It would seem that lush foliage is expensive, and I’m just not ready to spend hundreds on a project just yet.  But I did complete the project, and although my previous self would have declined to publish pictures, fearing that since it wasn’t “perfect,” it shouldn’t be seen, my current self (or the self I am striving to become) realizes that it’s a vast improvement over the former patio, and I should be proud of it.  It’s really nice not to be limited by the prison of perfectionism.  I hope this a trend, because I’m much happier in the land of “good enough,” at least when it comes to home improvement projects of the aesthetic kind. 

And that’s all this one was, right?  Or was it?  It’s certainly not a load bearing wall, or insulation, or water proofing.  But it was much more than just a pretty project.  I got sweaty, and dirty, and I moved and cleaned heavy things.  I really felt that I was accomplishing something.  So, in a way, it was a mental or emotional weather proofing.  If I can be confident that I can take care of things on my own, then I don’t “need” someone around, such as a man.  If I am whole on my own, then any man that I may choose to bring into the picture in the future is an accoutrement to my already complete ensemble.  As a side note, I broke the garage door this weekend, (the how is not important, as it is highly embarassing to me) and tonight, I repaired the door all on my own.  I am feeling very “Super Woman-like” and will be shopping for my bullet proof bracelets soon.  I’m already on the road to self-reliance.

So there.

And now, without further ado, is my new happy place……

The new view from my kitchen.  It’s so inviting, and waaaay better than the rotted out grill that used to be there.  And see the new hummingbird feeder?  I hope they find it soon!

And here is the view of the seating area as I exit the sliding door from the kitchen.  Can you see the margarita?  It’s already a happy place! AAAHHHHH……

Here is a view from the backyard area, except in closer.  I wasn’t able to decorate the entire patio, but from about halfway in, the effect is close to what I envisioned…

This is the view towards the backyard, and as you can see, there is about half the length of the patio that is a little bare. 

Another view of my seating area.  This one kind of captures what I was hoping for, a bunch of color and texture.  Can you see the frog art piece on the fence?  It’s “whimsical” and the previous me would never have gone for that, but now, I think it’s awesome.  A little iron, strong and long lasting, and a little colored glass, bright and happy.  All the things I want to be.

So, there you have it.  I have officially “completed” project 1, but I am not going to stop working on it.  I am going to get more plants over time, and transplant and propagate new ones from existing growth in my yard.  I am also going to replace the grill soon so that I can do some grilling.  That was always my exes job, and I loved the taste, so I am going to learn how to do it now.  I think by the summer, this patio is going to be the vision I have in my head and a frequent place to hang out.  But until that time comes, I’m pretty darned pleased!  I sat out there this evening and it was just wonderful.  I relaxed after an exhausting week and weekend, and just felt the stress melting away. 

And tomorrow morning, I will be out there bright and early with my coffee and the paper.  I look forward to having some guests in the near future!

Maggie