Coffee Chat: Warm Hands, Cold Toes
Hello dears. Come in and share a cup of coffee with me. There are those lovely spice cookies from Aldi that I love so each autumn, or a piece of Dark Chili Chocolate if you're less cookie minded. I was in a baking mood earlier this morning, but couldn't find the recipe I'd meant to attempt and was less interested in trying the alternate recipe. Instead, I took up paint pot and brush and tackled the chifforobe in the guest room
You might ask me, "What is a Chifforobe?" It sounds an odd creature of some sort, doesn't it? There are those who would mistakenly refer to it as an armoire or a wardrobe. No, though both are descriptive. A Chifforobe is a combination of a dresser and closet, usually with a mirror on the door or on a vanity top above the drawers in some instances. Mine is an old piece, solid hardwood. There are double doors on it and the drawers are hidden behind one of those doors. There has never been a vanity but there is room to place a jewelry box or a small vanity mirror and drawer if one desired. The other side has a closet rod for hanging clothes.
I was given this old piece when Amie was born by a friend. I suspected it was old at the time and after I'd owned it thirty five years or so, I found an old cancelled check caught in a crevice under one of the drawers that was dated 1935. I dare guess the piece is older still than that. On the back of the piece is a stamp from the furniture company in Macon that sold it. When I move it away from the wall (soon to happen) I shall come look up the history of that store and see if it leads me to any further clues.
I started the painting this morning because I wanted to do something and I figured I could manage this right well. Now I suspect I shall not have enough paint to complete it after all and I will have to buy another pot. I've had the sample for some time and I'm hopeful the numbers on the sample pot will help mix a reasonable match.
John would be horrified to find me painting in the guest room with just a few newspapers scattered about. I confess I did get a tiny dot of paint on the carpet but it is thankfully water based latex and came up right away without leaving behind any trace. We do have sliders under the piece because it is ridiculously heavy and solid and can't be moved at all without four strong men to manage the hefting about. With the sliders, I can actually move it on my own and I mean to do just that. I won't show you any pictures of it just now but I will share that it shall be a total change from it's former appearance.
I have promised myself this time to do the inside as well, which has never been painted in all these years, still bearing it's first coat of paint which was a yellowed ivory sort of color. John painted it outside when Katie was a baby in a soft cream and then we moved here and the piece was used in the kitchen forever and gained it's coat of glossy black with gold panels and rooster decals. It wasn't until we did the floors two years ago that I moved it to the guest room. I've been meaning to paint it ever since.
I just realized that this is the only piece that has travelled with me through the entirety of my two marriages. I can only think of a handful of items that are much smaller that can claim the same. But it does go to show you just how sturdy it is that it's moved 5 times and is none the worse for wear. At present it houses my fabric stash and sewing box on the left (drawer) side and a motley lot of junk on the right (closet) but I shall be removing all of that and making it quite pretty inside, something unexpected and fun, and let it be the guest closet/dresser.
Getting the painting started on that piece was my last job today. I've been quite busy since John left for work this morning. I stripped the bed and remade it and washed, dried, folded and put away the laundry. I washed a full load of dishes and unloaded and put away those things. I swept floors. I really ought to vacuum but I'm afraid the get up and go has gone at this point. There's tomorrow...
I did several other minor jobs, most taking time as much as effort. I made sausage balls for our holiday morning breakfast and then I took down my shopping and projects list and realized I had made several of the planned purchases on the shopping list and had started two more projects though neither is finished. Then I took up the pots of paint and tackled the chifforobe. It was pure hunger that brought me out of the room and away from the project and then it was tiredness kept me from going back to haul it away from the walls so that I might go further with the project.
I took a break after lunch and left home, as soon as the sun had chased away the cool rain. You'd never know it had spent the morning raining to look out just now at the blue sky. I drove over to the next town and dropped our mail at the post office and got our allowance from the bank and came back home. All I could think when I got home was how very much I wanted a cup of coffee...and so here we are!
John went back to work today. I don't suppose I even mentioned he'd been off an extra long while this time around, something like 8 days total. We've done nothing much but sit about watching ridiculous amounts of TV and coughing our heads off and whining. Not a happy time off. But then too the weather was miserable, cold and wet and it suited our mood and our ailments to be at home. Had it been sunny and lovely the whole while we'd no doubt have bitten each other's heads right off.
Speaking of cold, we were getting up to go to bed last week and as I stood up, the heat pump went "Kerplunk, wham whack whop!" John went out in the cold rain with a flashlight to check it out (after we'd shut it down) and said "Huh! I've never seen that before!" One entire blade of the fan had sheared off the motor. It did not, blessedly, cause any further damage. It might have ruined coils, etc. "Perhaps they can just replace the fan," he said the next morning when I called the repairmen. Well of course they needed to replace the entire motor since it was ten or eleven years old and the ball bearings had worn. I will say that it's entirely plausible as our AC/heat pump runs pretty much eleven months of the year.
That was Wednesday. We got the new motor and fan yesterday. While we were discussing the original service call, I asked for, and have since received my Christmas gift, an automatic thermostat. This means that I can set the temperature of both the AC and heat and it will switch over to whichever is needed, rather than our having to move it back and forth. It stands to reason that yesterday when they arrived it was 79 in the house and so we ran the AC for a cycle or two and then it shut off and much later the heat came on, all without my having to remember to swap between the two. It's a small thing really, but I can't name the number of times we've needed to run the AC for a cycle or two on a very warm afternoon and then I'd wake in the middle of the night shivering because I'd forgotten to swap it back to heat and the temperatures had plunged. I told John it gives me peace of mind, too, because now and then we are away from home in winter and the day warms up quite a lot but the nights are below freezing. It was always a struggle to decide what to do. Leave on the heat and come home to a stuffy overwarm house or risk leaving off the heat and having pipes freeze at night? Now there will be no struggle which is quite lovely.
And shhhh….but I know what my next big purchase for the house shall be: a thermostat controlled propane heater. We were up and down like jack in the boxes last week turning the propane heater down or off or back on again because it has a low/medium/high setting but is not thermostatically controlled. One of those types of heaters will set us back about $700...Which makes me wonder if the one in Granny's old house is fit for use?
Speaking of Granny, her birthday was last week. I don't typically keep up with the birthdays of those who've died. I've thought of her a great deal this year as I've struggled and I guess that made me mindful. Then I was working on the genealogy of a family line and a reminder that it would be her 101st birthday came up. I know she'd not liked to have lived that long. She made it plain from about 86 onwards that she'd had enough of living and was only here by God's will. At 86 she was still spry, a little odd here and there perhaps but not yet victim of the Alzheimer's that would eventually claim her mental acuity. I think she wanted to go on her own terms, with all her faculties about her, reasonably sure of herself, but that wasn't to be. However, she did manage her one desire which was that no one should have to take care of her. She'd just enough money set aside to pay for her own care right up to the day she passed away.
You see, as a widow, it had fallen to her to take care of Big Mama in her elder years. There were sisters and brothers, too, but because Granny was a widow it was felt she had less right to a life of her own and ought to just naturally give up her own life to be Big Mama's companion. Not that Granny complained. She and Big Mama got on really well and talked daily and sometimes more often but as time went on and Big Mama required more and more care, it was a more consuming affair. Granny wasn't free to journey now and then, nor to have us kids come stay, nor even to attend to her own home as she longed to do. Granny got tired, deeply tired, from too many broken nights sleep and days that were over long and the need to attend to two households, difficult at any age but especially at 75. Like herself, Big Mama lived to be 95. In fact, every woman of that family lived to that age. It was a long season for Granny. She was particularly mindful of the toll it had taken on her and wanted very much to avoid that same need of having her family encumbered.
Speaking of age, I snickered over my Emilie Loring book this past week when one of the older characters assured a younger one that now he was over sixty he didn't put off anything 'until tomorrow'! At the time Mrs. Loring was well over sixty herself and so I felt that little snippet of conversation was undoubtedly something she'd lived from the inside out.
I shall be sixty in a couple of months. I find if anything it makes me want to hurry along the way and get things done but there is no great concern about it, no thought that it is a hurdle and once over I'm done sort of thing, but like Mrs. Loring, just not putting off until tomorrow things that might be done.
I chuckle ruefully over the weeping and raging and ranting I went through the day I turned twenty...Yes, you might think I'd have done such over age thirty or forty or even fifty, but no. It was my twentieth birthday that caused me the greatest amount of angst. I was, at twenty, newly married and saddled with debts and woke to the realization that the childhood and teen years had passed by in a welter of hard work and struggle and life wasn't looking any different for the decade ahead. Nor was it, but of course, I had no clue how difficult life could become as time went on. Nor could I see my children, whom I'd yet to have, or met John whom I love dearly. I confess there are times still when I feel rather ill used and cheated to boot by life but for the most part, I am content and I mean that sincerely. I'm more philosophical about all the things that didn't go as I thought they ought...at least today...and the things I've felt I missed out on having/doing/being due to this circumstance or that are just things after all and no great loss came of not having them.
My goal at this point is to be joyful and not sorrowful. I've sulked and whined and wept and struggled enough. I don't doubt things will be any less hard than they have been in the past but I do mean to do my best to have a better attitude over all. I don't want to waste any more time on regret or sorrow. "She lived well", would not be the worst epitaph I might earn in the decade or three ahead of me.
John made comment the other day that the year had flown past, and time had fled away while we seemed to be working harder than ever. Well we are working harder than ever! When he asked why it seemed to be so, I pointed out that we were on the backside of the hill now and things tended to go a bit faster, it's a bit harder too to keep your footing, just as it is when you are walking down hill.
This morning these thoughts were foremost and I decided that after all, I might have an annual review of sorts and look ahead. It is not just a year ahead but hopefully a new era of life. I didn't dwell on the year's difficulties. There were plenty of those and I dwelt upon them quite enough. Instead I wanted to look ahead at how I might correct my own paths. I want to regret fewer things, which means not just thinking of them but taking action upon them. I want to stand a lot more firm for my own needs and wants and heart desires. I've tended to be a real pushover in my last 59 years. I want to take pleasure more often and to feel satisfied I've done my best in all that I can. I want to travel lighter, letting go of baggage filled with hurt and resentment and bitterness and anger, most especially anger as it has a tendency to come bursting out like unmentionables at the most inappropriate times.
Do you know what else I'm looking forward to in the next few years? Relaxing and just accepting love as it is given. I thought about this as I read a young lady's Facebook post about her expectations where her partner is concerned. I've noticed at 20 something the tendency is not to look at what you yourself are giving but what you're 'expecting from someone else. Anyone of us who have been married a number of years know that the other person is putting up with a less than perfect person as well. Thank you, Lord, that John was willing to look beyond the obvious mess and deeper into my heart to a person he thought was worth loving. Yes, I did and do 'put up with' some things from him but it's a two way street. Whoever said love was a 50/50 thing was dead wrong. It's 110/-10 at times and it's 58/98sometimes. There is no equality except that we both ought to be equally forgiving of the other's faults and equally patient as we grow into the place we need to be in order to love more deeply.
Regrets I might have had but casting my lot with John was not one of those areas. Nor were any of my children a regret. My goodness how they have all enriched my life and added joy upon joys to it.
The sun is setting, literally, not figuratively, lol. I've got supper thawing in the oven and hopefully will be eating soon. Hurry along before darkness falls, okay? And be sure to watch for deer!
Happy Thanksgiving dears. Enjoy the feasting!
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