Coffee Chat: Golden Autumn Daze

Come in...Forgive the mess.  The house, sigh, is the way the house is mostly these days.  John says it's 'in flux'.  I feel like I'm running from one fire to another and not putting a single one out fully.  But it's lovely, truly, to have this time to play house .  My goal is to make spaces calmer and clearer. 

There are Spekulaus cookies to go with the coffee.  Not so terribly sweet but lovely spicy, crisp cookies.  They are seasonal at Aldi and I was so happy to see them in stock.  I'll buy them routinely from now until they are no longer available just about the end of the holiday season.  They are just perfect for dipping.  I sat down last week with a cup of coffee after I finished putting away groceries and dipped one in my coffee.  It made me think of Granny.  She often had windmill cookies at her house and she always dipped them in her coffee.  I sighed a little and said "Oh Granny!  How you would have enjoyed these cookies!"    For half a moment it was as though she'd joined me. It made me smile.

Last week was a little hectic and a little confining.  We were super busy on the previous Sunday with two engagements: a Newcomer's breakfast before regular church service and that evening a Newcomer's small group at the pastor's house.  We came home for just 4 hours in between service and the evening engagement and I put John to work moving small items that I'd not gotten to on Friday. It took the two of us another hour or so of work to get down to just the largest bits of furniture in each area.  And it's a good thing we did do it then because we didn't get home until late and I was so weary! I washed my face and crawled into bed with the book I was reading.

We were up early last Monday morning and I'd barely gotten breakfast finished when the workers showed up.  In less than ten minutes, they'd cleared our bedroom and the kitchen.  These guys were no slackers.  Small talk wasn't much and what was said was quietly said.  Mostly they just worked really hard right up until lunch time and when they came in after lunch they were right back at work.  And before supper time, they'd put everything back, offering to rearrange any pieces I wanted to put elsewhere, cleared up and were gone to return the next morning to move things from the living room.  Sensibly I took advantage of that offer to rearrange!  It meant a much more efficient moving and I already had a good idea of where I wanted to set big pieces.

John had to work on Tuesday.  I was just barely done with my small amount of housework when the workers showed up and cleared the living and dining room.  The guys set me up a chair in the kitchen and  there I worked at quiet work, read and day dreamt until the end of the day.  It wasn't as easy as you'd think.  It was a lot like being in a waiting room for all that time.  I got up and moved around a bit but I was very limited in what I could do and where I could go.   Just about the time for afternoon coffee, the work was done.  The boss and two others showed up to help move furniture back into place and I was left with beautiful bare bones rooms. I fluffed a bit that night but didn't do much.

I said I'd go slowly in putting things back but John kept bringing in the boxes of books on Wednesday and Thursday and I worked for a good eight hours putting them on the shelves and culling hard.  It was not as hard to cull as I'd anticipated.  I have a full shelf of books I've never read that I mean to work my way through and then that shall empty that shelf.  I had several books I'd enjoyed long ago but for one reason and another no longer cared for.  I had duplicate copies of a few books.  By the end of the session I'd culled 5 boxes of books out of the 12 boxes we put away and have added two more boxes from the guest room.  I have one small empty bookcase in the bedroom now and put two others into the pantry to use as extra storage space.

Some of the changes made were not planned ones but simply happened.  We moved the linen chest into the living room when they cleared the bedroom and it 'fit' perfectly under the windows.  Bess had mentioned the previous weekend that putting a bench under that window would extend seating when we had company.  Well, there was my bench, without buying another piece.

The ivory swivel rocker was lovely in front of the TV cabinet until Josh started swinging it wildly about.  He's not the first grandson to ride that chair like a wild horse and I decided that my nerves just couldn't take another such bit of jockeying with it.  That chair was moved into the corner in the master bedroom, next to the window, where grandchildren will not ride it like a wild wind.  I set a small bookcase nearby with a lamp.  Perfect new reading corner!

That left the spot in front of the TV cabinet open and I knew it needed a smaller chair.  The wooden library chair went into that space with a cushion on the seat.

We altered the arrangement of the chairs in the living room and the bookcases and that opened up the floor space beautifully.  So much so that even when Josh pulled toys into the space there was plenty of room for walking about.

I got busy and painted the dresser meant to become record storage.  I had three cloth baskets that just fit and held all our CDs as well as a basket that went into that space on the right hand side. I've got paint for the file cabinet.

...You see how things keep finding new purposes?  And new placements?  I feel a great deal like I've been caught up in that book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..."  only in my case, it's "If You Do One Thing Different..." lol.  Here's two photos from the kitchen:

This little armoire replaced the old black chiffarobe.  I finally managed to get all our things back into it...or at least, all the most important items. And there's room for my cookbooks.

You can see my freshly covered notebooks and bill box here on the desk.  And the chair is a nice change.

It is all very much a work in progress.  I have paint for the file cabinet and intend to buy proper bun feet to put under it and perhaps new hardware to class it up a bit.  Then I am going to purchase a finished board to cover the top of both pieces so they appear to be more of one unit.   I mean to get new chairs for the breakfast area and a butler's tray or tea cart where we might eat a meal or read or visit.  Ideally the chairs will be comfortable enough for reading and sitting a spell,  but lightweight enough to move to dining area for extra seating when needed.  And I need a storage cabinet for the master bath...  But that is all part and parcel of our 'a little at a time' approach just now.

I'm not entirely happy with my accessories in the main living area just yet.  I've commissioned two pieces of artwork from Katie, getting larger sizes of two pieces than she'd previously had in her shop.  Katie is more than willing to duplicate previously sold pieces or to specially produce pieces in customized colors, by the way...and YES that is shameless promotion of my talented daughter's goods.  I plan to order two holiday signs from her next...but I'm concentrating on the living room walls just now.

I worked hard last week, so hard that I literally fell into bed at night exhausted and slept hard all night long.  I was asked, early in the week, if I might keep Josh this past weekend.  Plans had changed again and I agreed despite my weariness.  But I told John last Thursday evening when we finally stopped working that I was most definitely done for the week. I knew unless I rested some on Friday, I'd never make it through the weekend with a two year old boy.  So Friday morning I slept in just a tiny bit later, put out a very easy breakfast and John and I wandered away from home mid morning.  He was in search of a haircut and I took magazines and my phone and planned to get myself a coffee from the pricey coffee shop.  I haven't had one in ages upon ages and needed that treat though I did go sugar free and lite.  Our eating habits have been so erratic that I didn't see any point in running my blood sugars through the roof over a cup of coffee!

I called Mama and talked with her a bit, then sat on the patio and had my coffee and perused magazines I'd let sit in my basket all month long. Gee but it was nice to sit and 'do nothing' which is never really the case with me.  I was looking through those magazines with purpose: pulling recipes to try, clipping out needed tips for health  and looking for post inspirations...but it was nice to be in a different environment and to indulge myself with that pricey (!gracious!) delicious coffee.  When John was finished he suggested we could go by Mama's new place so that he could see it and I agreed.  Mama, of course, wanted to take us out to lunch.  It was a very relaxing afternoon and just what I needed to rest up for that rambunctious little boy.

John has found himself in a dilemma.  He found a barber he liked a couple of years ago at one of those mass haircut places.  The guy left to start his own shop, a full on men's barber shop with hot shaves and multiple barbers.  It's a nice place and John was pleased to go to a 'real' barber shop once again.  Over time the place has become super popular with young men who lean towards full beards and man buns... We knew just how popular it had become when John had to start calling for an appointment instead of just walking in as he'd done before.  But this week when he called for an appointment, he found that he'd have to wait a week to get in.  That was the straw that broke my husband's patience.  He went back to the cut rate mass haircut place and got his haircut.  He's learned a thing or three in his time at the barber's and knew just what to tell the stylist he wanted.  He came out a happy man with a little more money in his pocket than before.  I know he wants a real barber but  the barbers of old that John remembers simply don't exist any longer.  They are right up there with library book cards and 15 cent sodas:  a nice memory from the past and unlikely to return in our future.

I babysat all weekend long and let me tell you...Two year old boys are not for wussies, even if they are generally a very good two year old.  Last week when Josh came to visit I was "Ganna"...Close enough to Gramma.  This week I was "Genny" (rhymes with penny) and by Sunday I was "Genny Genny", lol.  He was a typical boy.  He jumped, he ran 'super fast', he walked all over the place and attempted to follow Maddie into the woods multiple times.  He played in the dirt and in a box.  He piled pillows on the floor and dove into them.  Gramma was exhausted and when he had a mini meltdown on Saturday I urged him to sit in my lap and rock with me.  He was asleep within a few minutes and stayed asleep for about 2 hours.  I will not lie.  Gramma had a bit of a nap during that time, too!

On Sunday, when it was just the two of us, he wasn't having any of that business of rocking with Gramma. No ma'am.  I unashamedly turned on the TV and used it as a babysitter helper.  Josh climbed into my chair to watch 'Mulan' and when I looked over at him, there he was:

Doesn't he look sweet?  Well he was right up until that nap ended! After that nap all he wanted was Daddy and Mama and home.  Not Gramma's!  When Bess came in about a half hour after he woke, he pitched a right proper temper tantrum.  I stepped back and let Mama deal with him.  Gramma's methods are different and all right for the most part but some things it's just best to let Mama handle in her own proven way.

Bess and Josh were still in house when I 'booked' the guest room for another family visit in two weeks time.  Bess commented that she and Sam had planned to stop over that weekend as well.  I assured her she still could.  Accommodations would just be crowded.  I told you all I felt sure our guest room was due a workout this year and I have been proven quite right.  It has really made me aware of short comings in the room some of which have been corrected.  A dresser (and a mirror I haven't hung yet) went in and John has just acquired a TV for the room, as well.  I have plenty of work to do in that room yet though with all the clearing of the closet and putting things back in place and culling books...Gracious I only hope I can get stuff I don't want into the shed because there's no place else indoors to put a thing!

So here we are with the whole of the house being refreshed in some way, inside or out and projects a plenty to work upon.  I've spent this week putting the pantry closet back to rights.  Well, I at least have cleaned out all the stuff that didn't belong.  I put in two of the bookcases we'd used elsewhere in the house yesterday.  That will give me additional storage for paper products, tools and paints.  The guest room is a horror at the moment but I'll keep working at it.  I've two weeks before we need it to be in use once again and surely in that time I can clear it up?

We had a lovely day yesterday.  Our purpose was to run errands.  We voted early, since John was meant to work on election day.  Then we did a couple of local errands and took a long lovely ride over back country highways to that market in Macon where I like to buy ground beef and chicken breasts these days.  The leaves are just beginning to show some real color and things starting to look autumnal.  It was warm, which is not in the least surprising.  We're now at 113 days of 90f or above temperature.  And almost as many days without any measurable rainfall! Oh the many field ponds that have dried up during this spell of weather.  Despite this, the views were lovely.  We took a wrong turn and kind of got lost on our way back home but that too proved a beautiful drive and we enjoyed it.  It felt a bit like a mini vacation right in the midst of a time of hard work and was that much more appreciated because of all that hard work.

John had never visited that market and was duly impressed.  Granted he is easily won over.  The store plays classical music and has thermoses of hot coffee for shoppers and those two things were enough to win him over.  But the courtesy we met from every single employee we came in contact with in each department really wowed him.  He looked over the meat case and it is true that the meat over all is greater in selection than at the meat market we formerly visited.  The pricing is similar but the specials on ground meat and chicken breast makes it all a much better budget fit.  I might well like the market but if John  had the least reason to be unhappy there we'd shop elsewhere.  That might sound odd, but he's worked hard to earn his money.  He's the one who literally stays up two nights a week most weeks and worked hard for 24 hours to earn those funds and I'll not spend it in places he feels aren't worthwhile.  Fortunately he was duly impressed and continued to praise the store all afternoon long, repeatedly telling me the things he liked about it.

I mentioned that we voted.  We made up our minds earlier in the campaign about which candidate we'd vote for and we haven't changed our mind in all this time.  We figured we might just as well go ahead and vote now that the polls are open.  We also agreed yesterday that watching political debates, reading political posts on Facebook or elsewhere, listening to newscasts about the candidates, are over.  We prayed and watched and listened and we made what we feel were reasonable decisions about our votes.  I don't know how the election will come out but I'm not going to worry over it.  I've read some dire predictions on a few blogs about riots and empty store shelves and such should this election not go the 'right way', with no one saying out and out what the 'right way' might be.  I trust God to care for my needs regardless of who is in (or out) of office.  He's far more reliable than any dire predictions and fears created by man's opinions.  I've learned over and over again in the past two years that God's provision for my needs is remarkable and has very little to do with anything I personally can do, how much we have in savings, or what we earn.

And on that note, I shall end.  I need to send Katie some photos so she can help me think out some of this decorating stuff.  I'm stumped!  It's hard to cull things out and try to go for a 'new' look and have to use the same old things in a different way and try, at the same time to not put back so much of what I've used, but to make it look a little more simple and clean. And honestly, I don't know how long it's going to take to achieve what I want to see...

Well you can see I am very much a house bug at the moment, decor being my second and fourth thoughts nearly every day and not nearly enough thinking of other things.  Perhaps next time you stop in it will be all done.  Here's hoping!


Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Terri, everything looks beautiful.. I love the opened up look. The floors are lovely.. You have done a great job , thus far.. Know you will do lots more..
Grandson is adorable.. Looks so sweet sleeping in the chair..
Have a great day.. and take it easy on the work..It will get done. smile.

Kathy said...

Wow you have been working hard. Your home is beautiful, and it is so welcoming. I love the flooring, and you have arranged things so nicely.
What a sweet picture of your grandson.
Hope you can take things a little slower now and get some rest.
Have a great weekend.

Debby in KS said...

Everything looks so cozy and welcoming. If KS was a little closer, I might've invited myself over for coffee!

As a southern resident, I must insist that you get the sign in Katie's shop about the 12 days of fall. I love that!

Our favorite seasonal cookie at Aldi are the maple leafs. So good!

Anonymous said...

I hope fall temperatures come our way soon. We don't get snow at all very often but we do get hard winds and I am not looking forward to those though. We have been doing things around our home that are big too. Feels great getting some hard big decisions and projects out of the way doesn't it!! Some how it feels like a new beginning. A new chapter for sure.
I love that picture of Josh. !! :) They grow up all too fast don't they. I am glad you are recording his names for you etc. Things like the get forgotten if not written down. Once they get old enough they say the cutest things and ask the best questions! And ask them again and again and again!!! :-) Oh the good memories.
You sure have me thinking of what I can redo or move around to make things better here. A few have gotten done already.
You have a big kitchen compared to mine but you sure have used the space well. I like it.
So your Mom is settling in well and enjoying her new home? It would be quite a change to leave the place you have had for so long and move in with someone else. Thankfully she will have her own personal space so both families will have some down time from each other. When I was growing up most families had grandparents apartments or spaces in their homes. Or a small bungalow on the property. You probably saw a lot of that too. So many homes now are on such small lots and built so that is hard to do.
I think I will go to Katie's Itsy and look at that fall sign!! :) Keep mentioning and highlighting her sight Keeps us remembering it and clicking on it. I like that. Her things are very creative and beautiful.
Your home looks beautiful. It's been a lot of work and you still have things you want to do but it will be worth it. Like a whole new home. Changed to suit the two of you the best you can to a t. Sarah

Rhonda said...

Hi Terri,
What a sweet photo of Josh in your cozy white chair with a vintage quilt. Just beautiful!
All the grands pretty much say Grandma and Grandpa to us but for awhile, silly Braeden called us Yam-ma and Yam-pa. He can say G's just fine as his brother is Gavin and other grandmother is Gram. But he just liked to call is Yamma and Yampa.

Your home is beautiful, so happy you have new floors and are getting everything spruced up. I know it feels so nice for you.

Lana said...

The picture of Josh asleep in your chair is just so sweet!

Your Fresh Market sounds so much nicer, literally, than mine. Every time I go in there I am taken aback by how snooty and rude the employees are to me. They did move ours to a new location a few years ago so maybe I need to try again. I had really given up on the place. Seems I am never on that side of town on the right day for the specials, though and just rarely run errands on Tuesdays at all.

I think we are finally settled again after our flooring. It is a huge thing! I find I am no good at forcing these sorts of projects though or I just have to do them again. I have to let things evolve slowly. I could use a small chest of drawers in one of my guest rooms but that will just have to fall into place at some point. We will be at the lake the first weekend in November and I often find things I need at the thrift stores over there. There are things in this house that I intended to just pass on to the kids or get rid of when we moved and so now I am kind of dead in the water on all that since the move fell through. What to do? I really want to replace our dining room table and chairs with something I actually like instead of family cast offs but what if we move in the spring and the new does not work in the new house? UGH! You are doing well and everything is looking good! It will come one day at a time.

I will just be glad when this whole election is over and everyone can go back to being kind again. I am off Facebook and have stopped listening to NPR which is my morning favorite. I wish we had early voting, too. The line will be so long that day.

Tammy said...

'Tis the season to refresh and prepare to snug in for the winter, I think. I always want to change things up in the house when the seasons change. I'm also embracing more minimalism (oxymoron?) around here and it's painful for my husband who wants to keep everything "just in case".
I really like the "new" record cabinet and it's fun to hear about all the repurposing you're doing. I think it's challenging to figure out how to use all the old things in new ways, and so very satisfying when you're happy with the results.
As for Josh, he's just a sweet little bug. It's lovely to read about you getting to spend so much time with him.
My grands went through a progression of names for me - Mama, Mommy, then on to Grammy. Right now Layla calls me "Gammy". For a time Silas called Greg "Bampy". Now he's "Gramp" a lot of the time. (I call him Gramp-Man. LOL.)

Anonymous said...

Your new floor is beautiful and I love you new arrangements. Enjoy the grandbabies, they grow up in a hurry. Kip

Spicy Apple Cake - I FOUND IT!

While sorting though Mama's cookbooks the other day I came across a Family Circle magazine cookbook that looked familiar.  I brought...