Living in close quarters
Six months in, and I’m beginning to sense that my “winter sabbath” is going to need to be much longer. I’m trying to rest and regain my bearings, but it has been hard. Here are my most difficult challenges thus far. Feel free to skip the downers if you’d like!
DOWNER: It’s a bit lonesome. It’s not that I’m seeing any of my friends less, but because we moved a good 45 minutes away it takes more effort to “just” meet anyone for coffee. Or even to go *get* a coffee. I’m missing the last-minute get-togethers and the on-the-fly multi-family pizza suppers. I’m not currently running a book club and no one else is either. It feels like I’ve left the party and no one remembers me.
UPSIDE: My house is full of people! We’re connecting with one another more with board games and have been doing an evening family Bible time since September. I’m missing my friends but growing closer to my family. And my snail mail writing has picked up, connecting with friends who’d rather send a letter than communicate online.
DOWNER: It’s cold. Gone is the thermostat to maintain whatever comfortable temperature I want at all hours. The floors are cold. The walls are cold. The windows are cold.
UPSIDE: We’ve learned to use a woodstove and once it’s going, it feels wonderful in here. I’m not sure if it’s the wood-heat, but it feels so much nicer than electric. We’ll be looking into a better woodstove so that we can bank the fire (new terminology!) and make it easy to restart. Once the siding gets replaced on the north wall, that will help the cold walls, and the floors simply need rugs. Slippers help too! Windows are on the “to be replaced” list.
DOWNER: It’s dirty. There is dirt on the floor all.the.time. I can’t even figure out why…it is more people in less space? Is it blowing through the non-insulated (but looking-very-pretty) walls? It is a constant battle to keep it swept. Constant.
UPSIDE: We can sweep! It is a great blessing not to have carpets. Rugs we can shake out. Floors we can sweep. And when the floor is swept, I *know* it’s clean. Carpets, not so much…lots of dirt can bury into those fibers. I’m not sure I’ll be replacing my dying vacuum cleaner. And, with so many people here, we all work together to keep our house clean. Many hands, light work.
DOWNER: My kitchen is too small. As in, way. I appreciate the blogs and photos of people cooking and even writing cookbooks from their galley kitchens, but I now have ten people and only a teeny bit of counterspace. It’s a challenge to find places to sourdough or otherwise ferment anything. Plus our range doesn’t work well, and the fridge has its own issues as well.
UPSIDE: I can make this room bigger. I can move things around, build new countertops and replace appliances as the budget allows. It’s just going to take some time and a bit of out-of-the-box thinking. I’ve hired a kitchen designer, and though that’s not cheap when you have to add travel costs to the boonies, I figured it was cheaper than making expensive mistakes when it comes to remodeling. Although…she hasn’t contacted me for a month, so maybe she doesn’t want to make the drive. Maybe it will be just me making tons of mistakes. And blogging about it…because bad stuff happening makes for good storytelling, right? Meanwhile, I’m using stools and chairs for additional counterspaces, and we’re just making it work. We’re eating 🙂
So, yes, our new downsized home is very pretty and has a lot of potential. But it’s living in the messy middle of what is and what it could be that can be a downer. It’s good to remember the upsides.