the fairies, as their custom, clapped their hands with delight over their cleverness, and they were so madly in love with the little house that they could not bear to think they had finished it

I am thoroughly exhausted. I need a vacation from my own life.

It's funny - blogging didn't seem totally impossible until I shared the fact that I do it with someone new. We've been friends for years, I freely admit to a fierce girl-crush, and knowing that we still have a lot in common is awesome. But apparently it makes me tongue-tied, too, or whatever the written equivalent might be.

And there truly hasn't been much time, or energy, for anything beyond the basics. I get home from work and immediately launch myself into the project of the day. Cleaning, rearranging, cleaning, hanging pictures, cleaning, unpacking, cleaning, laundry, cleaning, filing, cleaning...you get the idea. There are also some unforeseen complications to the long-term storage phenomenon: some of my things did not weather that situation too heartily. My file cabinet, for instance, with its metal rods for hanging files, developed weird grit all along the rods. I have yet to determine if they can be removed and cleaned (steel wool? Magic Erasers?) or replaced, or if I will need to just cut them out with my Dremel and drop in a removable frame of the sort that fits into a desk drawer. As it is, when the hanging files move along those rods, the sound is enough to raise the hackles of all the local dogs.

My plants, too, are needing some extra care. They love it here, but it's taking some time and thought to determine who wants to live where, and which will flourish under what conditions. The front door of the house faces almost perfectly West, so those in the bay window get bright afternoon sun. There is one shy boy who takes that afternoon light but not directly, happy enough across the room from all the fuss. The rest are in various places on the other side of the house (facing East), whether in the kitchen, dining room, or fireplace room. There may be others who will live in the two bedrooms on the west side as well, but the furniture in those rooms is currently for books only.

Most of the plants that are not here have been living with my friend BGM (who writes at Sledding with Rosebud) and his Gardening Beauty. They are in the process of packing up their household to move from the state of dairy to this one, where he works. In fact, they will be renting a home about a mile from me. It is an awesome set of circumstances that should make a lot of things a lot better in the coming months.

This weekend was a blur of spending and projects. D&R (& H) took me on a whirlwind trip through this area. We started with breakfast from the bakery, which they delivered (what kind of friends are these? The best!). Then we went to the Habitat ReStore, where I got a couple of little things and a few big things for the house (a new faucet for the basement bathroom, towel bars for the upstairs bath, and three large - maybe five feet square? - wooden grid things that we're planning to use to make shot glass display units. After that, we went to Menard's for a new dining room light fixture, some outlet and switch plates, and various small items. Then it was back on the road, to the big city to the northwest. The first stop was a craft store, because H needed some things for the play that she's going to be in, and I wanted an oddly-sized frame. Next was lunch at Noodles and Company, my first time there. (They do like to share new experiences with me!) It was, as advertised, very good. After that, we "stopped by" Target, for which I had a gift card. Even so, my eventual bill was nearly $130--but I got curtains, rods, wastebaskets, and various smaller things. That was a very satisfying stop, I have to admit: I got exactly what I wanted, and what I would not have been able to actually go for if it weren't for the gift card. I should put up a plaque in the room stating that the gray velvet curtains are brought to you by the generosity of V.B.R.!

Our next destination was Savers, which is a sort of combination Goodwill-type secondhand store/Halloween store. Their inventory is a bizarre mix of first-run, slightly pricey holiday stuff, good quality used clothing, and wackadoo flea market. I got a hat for the skull, but was also tempted by a red leather jacket. It seemed so far afield from our purpose that I managed to stop myself just in time.

The last stop was CherryBerry, a stark and upscale yogurt bar. (Yes, it was my first time there, too.) It is a serve-yourself place, and you pay by the ounce, at $.48. We were musing at that price. Why that, specifically? Why not $.50, or the less round $.49? It makes one wonder. I had a combination of chocolates with espresso and salted pretzel for contrast, topped with chocolate sprinkles and granola.

Once we returned, H went to a school play (at a different school) while the three adults set to work. We hung curtain rods and curtains, put up the dining room light, put in the towel bars, fixed a couple of things that had been ailing, replaced drawer pulls with plainer versions, replaced switch and outlet plates, and generally got all sorts of things looking much more "me." In so doing, we unloaded my entire toolbox all over the house, spread Styrofoam schnibbles everywhere, discovered a few more "huh" elements of the previous homeowners' personalities, ate the remaining donuts, and completely exhausted ourselves. By the time they left, all three of us were sort of groaning and moving slowly. Truly, R worked the hardest and had most earned the day off, but he was up earliest (according to texts with D) and headed out to do even more work today. I, on the other hand, was fairly useless and a little crabby for most of the day. I did manage to straighten up, even vacuuming and at least getting all the tools back near the box and the fasteners all on one counter awaiting assistance from someone who can tell me what the heck it all is.

So, what's left? I'm reluctant to even think that sort of question because in some ways it never ends. I do need to buy a bed for the guest room, and probably an armchair or four. The book room requires significant organization (and that's where the file cabinet, with its screeching metal rods, lives). My bedroom is good except for the fourth curtain panel (the Target store only had three in stock) and the schizophrenic ceiling fan/light fixture, which is black, brass, brown, tan, purple, and blue. The bathroom needs another towel bar and a light fixture to replace the truly awful one currently in place, but both of those situations are not vital to life as we know it. The kitchen is fine, though the next time light fixtures are on sale at Menard's, I will get one from the same line as the dining room fixture, so we can run the same theme through that open floor plan. (And the light over the sink, which probably cost $2.99, could use an update someday, too.) The dining room window needs another panel of valance (Target had only one on shelf). The fireplace room needs a new window covering and rod. The drape looks like it could stand on its own and the rod is so large that it probably weighs at least 25 pounds. The ceiling fan in there, too, is weird. Very...athletic. It runs faster than any ceiling fan I've ever seen.

Oh, and there's a couch in my garage, waiting to be hauled downstairs, should I encounter two or three strong young men who'd be willing.

I've been fantasizing about a long, hot shower for a day and a half. It's time to indulge. This week, with the fallout from last week's connection outages and illnesses and also two new employees and the resultant mayhem and distraction, promises to be wild. The best I can hope for is a decent night's sleep, good rest, and maybe some good dreams. That does not seem too much to ask.

And, with any luck, I will be back here before too long, too.

[the title quotation is by J.M. Barrie, from Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens]


  1. Re the hanging rods...have you tried vinegar and baking soda or salt? Or lemons?

    Wish I could be there to help. I'm not bad at shopping and making messes. ;-)

  2. I haven't tried a darn tootin' thing. Good call on the vinegar & baking soda; I think that should be my first attempt. Maybe this weekend.

    It would be more fun if you were here. Even if we weren't making messes, it would be a whole lot better if you were nearby.