6-Month Hiatus

It’s been a long while! Six months and a day since my last post here at Simply Grateful Housewife and even now writing is not going to again be part of my normal routine.

So much has happened in the past 6 months, but not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about blogging. I have piles of recipes and post ideas ready for the writing, but time just escapes me. When Hubby retired ten months ago I never dreamed that so many things that filled my days would suddenly become things of the past. It’s not that I don’t want to do them anymore, but for the moment I don’t NEED them as I used to.

Blogging used to be more of an escape for me. It filled in the long hours I spent alone — or at least without the company of my Hubby. Seeing him 16 hours a week for nearly two years and not much more than that for the twenty or so years prior to that, I was always looking for things to fill my time. Crafting, scrapbooking, writing, journaling, cooking, canning, blogging, and then gardening were just a few of the things I took up. Through the years I got burned out doing several of them, but the last batch of time-fillers I had chosen are still high on my list of things I want to do, it’s just that now isn’t their time.

Now my days are spent enjoying the company of a husband that I never truly got to know. It’s amazing how I could have been married to this person for 24 years  and am just now beginning to really know him.  Spending 24/7 with him for ten months is bound to give you a bit more insight into a person.

For better or worse! Hubby has brought this up many times and always concludes it with, “We’ve did the worse part for the past 23 years, so how about trying for the better part now!” Sounds like a plan.

We’ve taken day trips, seen parts of Michigan that we’ve never seen, done things we’ve never done, and spent days just sitting together doing absolutely nothing and yet we’re not bored. At first I thought I’d want to do all the things I thought I was missing out on. Now I’m just happy to spend a quiet morning with him sitting in front of the computer drinking coffee and me putzing around the house. Just having him home is enough to fulfill me.

This too shall pass!

Maybe.

I’m not going to expect this honeymoon phase to last forever and I can’t say honestly that there haven’t been days when he’s gotten on my nerves and I have to run up to the store to escape, but when I think back about all the time we lost and will never get back, I think I’ll take being with him rather than without him.

I’m always surprised to see how many visitors I receive each day on my blog and want to thank all of you for stopping by. I know as Hubby and I get more used to being together I’ll be able to return to blogging and do look forward to it. I miss the blogging but at the same time I don’t want to take time to do something so completely selfish — not now. Eventually the day will come when I’ll be able to split my time between “making up for lost time with Hubby” and doing the things that I enjoy doing by myself, but for now the only thing I want to fill my time is Hubby. That being said, who’s to say that day won’t come next week or even tomorrow?

At the moment Hubby is sitting in the office, in front of the computer, drinking coffee. I’m sitting on the couch, with Bell between my legs sleeping, and blogging. Not a bad way to spend the evening, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

 

Too Much Time On My Hands

Sitting here on the patio the scent of hyacinth over-takes me.  The temperatures were in the low 60’s this afternoon, but with the sun hidden deep beneath a wall of clouds, it feels chillier than that. A blanket draped over my legs and another hung over the back of my chair just in case the breeze becomes too much, ensure that I should be able to sit out here for at least another hour — until the winds pick up and the rain that is forecasted finally gives the garden a much-needed shower.

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I’ve spent the day pondering all the worthwhile tasks I could be doing with the time I have while nursing my torn meniscus.  Pondering…that’s all.  Whenever I think about actually doing anything, I can’t find the gumption to go any further.

I admit it, I am a procrastinater.  Unless there is a deadline, a specific date and time that something absolutely has to be done, I cannot bring myself to doing it.  To say I work well under pressure…yes, that would describe me.  Give me an hour to complete a task that should take two and I breeze through it without thinking twice. Give me a week to complete a task that should take an hour, and well, typically I won’t even start it until there is nothing else I could possibly do other than that.

I don’t like being a procrastinater and yet I can’t pull myself out of this funk I’m in to do much of anything other than fret about all the things I should be doing/could be doing/would be doing if I didn’t have so much darn time on my hands!

It’s just after 5 o’clock and everyone is inside taking a nap.  Hubby came home from work, ate dinner, then headed upstairs for a nap.  Zeb came home from the gym, ate dinner, then went to his room to check his eyelids for cracks.  Grace came home from work, took Bell for a walk, ate dinner, and then went to her room to “relax” which is sleep in Grace-speak. I have sat home all day, alone, waiting for someone, anyone to come home, and then when they do, they all take a nap. Needless to say, I am a bit bitter here.

Contact with anyone other than Bell today has taken up less than an hour of my time.  Heck, I spent more time making dinner than anyone has spent with me.

Bell on the other hand, well she can’t seem to get enough of me.  She has brought me every stick she could find in the yard and chewed them to bits wherever I might be sitting.  There a shreds of wood all over the great room, office, dining room, kitchen, and especially out here on the patio. She has also confiscated every garden glove from my gardening bin, which I inadvertently left open after retrieving a trowel to break up some dirt for a pot earlier today. If I don’t go on a gloving expedition, I’ll be out every pair of garden gloves I own.  Not that this would be any great loss as Bell seems to think chewing a hole in at least one finger, usually two, is standard procedure for garden glove care.

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No one will probably get up until after 7 p.m. at which time I will be ready to wind down and start thinking about going to bed.  Hubby will sit with me for a few minutes before heading to the gym; Zeb will get a glass of something to drink then retreat back to his room to play his video game; and Grace will sit with me wherever I am but will have her mind completely preoccupied with texting her boyfriend (why she bothers sitting with me, I don’t even know).

Being laid up is difficult enough without feeling if I didn’t make dinner, I’d probably never see anyone.

Yep, it’s been one of those days.  A day where I’ve had way too much time to sit around and feel sorry for myself.  A day when I feel totally alone, except for this fuzzy dog sitting between my legs on the lounge chair, gnawing on my garden glove, happier than a pig in slop that I’m not gardening, washing dishes, folding laundry, dusting tables, making beds, or sweeping floors.

It’s funny, but when I’m busy I don’t notice how much time I spend alone and it doesn’t seem to bother me.  Take me off my feet for a few days and I’m ready to lock all the doors and windows and hold the family hostage until they can convince me I’m more than just the cook around here.

I know what I’m feeling.  I’m feeling sorry for myself. So much so that tomorrow this sitting around and nursing my knee is going to have to stop.  There is something to be said for maintaining my sanity at the cost of a little aggravation in my knee.  For the good of the family I think it’s best I find an easier way to mend my torn meniscus. Or else they are just going to have to actually spend some time with me which with the “mama’s not happy so whatcha gonna do about it” attitude that has replaced my usual cheery self (okay, cheery might be a stretch), I’d go with the get off your duff and do something.

For the moment though, I am doing my best to enjoy the chattering of the birds, the scent of freshly cut grass, and the solitude that once is gone I’ll miss — and for this I am trying ever so hard to be — Simply Grateful.

A Moment Of Peace

I’ve learned that loneliness is not a way of life, it’s a part of life.

~ Live & Learn & Pass It On

The house is empty — quiet.  The only sounds breaking the silence are the gas heater roaring on the fireplace and the floorboards creaking as they expand and contract from the hot and cold air continually battling for position.

Hubby is off to work, not to be home for at least 24 hours.  The kids are off doing young adult things with friends and co-workers.  And Bella, well, she is curled up among the blankets on my bed dreaming of bedtime, wondering why I’m not up there snuggling with her.

The dinner dishes are stacked on the kitchen counter, still full of morsels of food that are turning into cement, assuring the need for a good soak before they’ll ever be clean again.

The laundry room floor is full of clothes in need of washing, making it impossible to enter without elaborate mountain climbing skills.

The office is a disaster area with piles of paperwork in desperate need of filing or addressing and boxes of inventory to list on eBay.

The great room carpet has everything from that elusive Kleenex that never gets picked up to dog hair to the never-ending supply of lint that never seems to go away, disguising the dark blue color to a pale shade of speckled white.

There are canning jars on the dining room table for storing the 25 pound bags of flour and sugar we recently bought as well as using for the ever-growing list of recipes I want to can for the pantry.

I haven’t started my gardening to do list for the spring, fearful that I’ve already missed some important dates for the preplanting season, so I continue to keep my head buried in the proverbial dirt hoping things will just somehow work out.

The gym in the basement is calling to me, but the call falls upon deaf ears as I have more excuses for not going down there than any one person should be allowed.

So much to do, yet here I sit.  The quiet surrounding me, smothering me.

I don’t know what it is, but having time to myself isn’t always as glorious as I envision it.  You know on those days when everyone is underfoot, getting in your way, making demands on your time, leaving you absolutely no space to breathe.  When you think to yourself, “If I only had a few hours to myself…”

Well, I got my wish.  A few hours to myself, and yet, now I don’t really want them.  I do far better knowing that everyone is home, everyone is exactly where I know they are safe, everyone is within shouting distance.  Without the hustle and bustle and demands of being a wife and mother, I’m at a loss.

This isn’t always the case.  Most of the time I do enjoy a few hours of reprieve when everyone happens to be gone.  In fact, this is the case most of the week these days.  Most days I have the house all to myself from 7:00 till 1:00 and sometimes longer.  That time alone however is different, it doesn’t seem quite like I’m ever really alone.  During those hours I cook, clean, do laundry, work, can, exercise, plan meals, write, dream of spring —

Maybe that’s it.  This has been an exceptionally cold winter.  Last year was bad as well, but this year I feel as if I have been cooped up in the house with no way out.  Almost like I’m trapped.  It’s night, there’s no place to go, I can’t sit out on the patio, it’s too icy for a walk, I’m stuck.

I’m not a cold-weather type person. Funny coming from someone who has lived in Michigan all their life, but true.  I dress appropriately, sometimes to a fault, so I can stay warm even on the coldest of days, but the cold makes me lazy.  It is easier to just sit here and complain about it being too cold to do anything than to collect the layers of clothing necessary to keep the cold from chilling me to the bone and venturing out into the icy tundra.  Plus it’s not especially smart as I’m getting up in years and I certainly don’t need to fall and break anything.

I sit here, guilt-ridden for the things I should be doing, could be doing, would be doing if I only had the inspiration, the drive, the time!  How can I possibly do any of those chores, duties, or responsibilities waiting for me when I’ve got to sit here and dwell on being unproductive and lazy?

It all seems rather silly, this vicious circle of procrastination which leads to guilt which leads to denial and then finally — well it will probably be bedtime so I guess acceptance comes next. Accepting that tomorrow is another day and one that I will take full advantage of and clean the kitchen, vacuum the great room, file the papers in the office, do a bit of canning, possibly pull out my gardening books, maybe do a load or two of laundry, and then wonder where the day went and why I didn’t have a moment of peace, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Tiny Bee Visitors

The past four days have been spent picking, cleaning, prepping, and canning strawberries, pineapple, rhubarb, lemons, limes, mangos and apricots.  It has been exhausting, but satisfying.

So far I have canned ten different concoctions and still have a fresh flat of strawberries and some rhubarb that Grace and I picked this morning, six pineapples, a case of apples, and a few kiwi left to work with.  Tomorrow the strawberries will be finished along with the rhubarb and pineapple, I hope.  Then I’ll finally have some time to sit down and share some of the recipes with you.

For now, I took a break from the hot kitchen this afternoon to check out my garden and other plants and found some tiny bees on the flowers of my own strawberry plants.  I might not get many strawberries this year, but the flowers are certainly giving these tiny bees a workout.

First there was one!

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 Then there were two! 

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Finally, there were three!

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I love canning and everything that it brings me, but even with the urgency I feel to get all the fruit we’ve picked canned it was nice to take a short break and witness one of nature’s finer moments, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

The Ultimate Garage Sale Bargainer

“I’ve learned that if you go to a garage sale, you’ll almost always buy at least one item you don’t need.” ~ Unknown, page 157, Live & Learn & Pass It On

Garage Sale season has officially opened in our area. Subdivision garage sale signs are popping up all over. You can’t drive anywhere without seeing some sort of advertisement on every street corner you pass.

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For years I anxiously awaited this season and for years I’d bring home one thing I never thought I’d buy — or should buy for that matter. “One thing” might be a slight understatement, but it’s a good place to start.

My passion for garage saling began when I was a teenager. My father introduced me to this addictive social phenomenon while we ran errands on the weekends together. My father was ruthless. He never paid full-price for anything at a sale, believing that “garage sale” was synonymous with “make me an offer.” If something was marked $4.00, he’d offer $2.00, knowing full well he would probably get a counter offer of $3.00 and would be all too happy to pay it. Not every bargaining effort went smoothly, and sometimes he walked away empty-handed, but the rush he got from the experience was palpable and contagious.

For years every summer when garage sale season opened, my father and I would get together to traipse through subdivisions that advertised “This Weekend ONLY” sales. House after house we’d hit, picking up little things here and there, and occasionally finding something big we could not do without. Although these excursions were enjoyable for us, my mother was not so enthralled. She complained incessantly about each and every thing my father brought home — whether it was a good deal, something they really could use, or something my father just wanted. She claimed he was wasting his time and their money.  Still, the time I got to spend with my father during these trips was priceless.

As my father got older, my mother’s wrath against garage sale treasures took its toll and my father decided the battle was no longer worth the fight. Age has a funny way of changing people. Our summer expeditions came to an end as did the priceless father/daughter time we shared. I occasionally would stop at a garage sale by myself, look around aimlessly, then get back in my car and head home. The thrill was gone.

After several years of living firmly under my mother’s thumb, my father reached his breaking point and came to the realization that “he mattered” just as much as she did. He started stopping at garage sales again, picking up an occasional trinket that HE wanted. This opened the door I thought had closed forever and we once again embarked on our father/daughter garage sale expeditions.

This year in preparation for Garage Sale Season I decided to approach it from a different angle. I decided to make a list. As corny as that might sound, lists are something that really keep me in check. Going to the grocery store, shopping for Christmas presents, preparing for the next semester of Grace’s college, getting ready for a dinner party — all of these things begin for me with a list. So why not garage saling?

All winter I have made notes of little things I needed or wanted but didn’t want to pay full price for on the retail market. There are a few things on the list that have already been crossed off, because the need or want for them outweighed saving a few bucks, but for the most part, I had a pretty good idea of what to look for when the long-awaited Garage Sale Season opened.

Today my father and I spent an exhilarating morning driving through a huge subdivision garage sale, stopping at every house with an open door. Even if from the street it looked like all they had were baby toys and clothes, we knew from experience you just never know what treasures they might be hiding in the dark depths of their garage.

The very first sale we hit, my father found a brand new pressure canner still in the box, something on his Garage Sale List. My mother had thrown his out, claiming he didn’t need it. My father picked it up, opened the box, examined the contents and then looked at the price. It was marked $20. Although they go for much more in the stores, the “make me an offer” mind set lives on, so he offered the owner $10. She looked at the box, argued “It’s brand new, never been used,” then after some hesitation, countered with $15. — SOLD!

Time pushes on, changing people as it does. Sometimes however, people hold onto parts of themselves they need to, they want to, that they like the most. My father is a garage sale bargainer at heart, and no matter how hard anyone tries to change that, he prevails, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.