24 February 2009

a job well done.

yesterday, while unpacking the groceries, i asked Eli to be my helper and gave him two things to put away. first, a package of cotton balls which i asked him to take to the bathroom for me. when he returned moments later without the cotton balls, i figured he had found his way and handed him a four-pack of toilet paper to carry to the bathroom also.

after that, he went on to play in the living room while i put the rest of the groceries away in the kitchen. ten minutes later, i walked into the bathroom to find the cotton balls and toilet paper bobbing in the toilet.

he had put them away in the correct room, and in the most logical spot a two year old could think of i suppose. the fact that he is not yet potty trained, but managed to correlate the toilet paper to the toilet is surely indicative of a genius. just as i've suspected all along.

17 February 2009

a house is just a house.

it is merely walls and bricks and shingles stuck together, sometimes sturdily, sometimes not. i think of this house as a strong one, even though last week when a very windy rain came, water seeped in through the edges of both living room windows as if they were crying simultaneously. we've known those windows need replacing, so it was only mildly startling. and in all other ways, this house has held up well under the strain of all our poking and prodding the past year.

we've been doing things in here. living. making memories, which is what you do inside a house, and which is, i suppose, the thing that makes it become something more than just chipped wooden siding and leaky windows.

we celebrated eli's second birthday here on january 29th. many small friends filed in, one by one, and left two hours later with balloon strings clutched in their cupcakey fingers. it was chaotic playtime amidst a sea of juice boxes, as mothers tried to chat above the noise of toddlers gleefully crashing into one another. eli requested another "berfday" for many days afterward.

we also, at long last, began work on our master bathroom. for the past year, it's been a dusty shell of unpainted drywall, crammed with boxes and power tools all hidden behind a curtain. finally, we have shiny marble floors, creamy paint, and a toilet. the antique vanity is in place and awaiting plumbing. soon we'll unload the clawfoot tub from the backyard shed and lug it (not me, but some superhumans we'll recruit) up the deck stairs and into the house. my husband, through our renovation process, has become an impressive carpenter, and installed an alcove of beadboard to nestle the tub against.

other improvements have been made downstairs too: pantry and laundry doors, shelves for the guest bath. bit by bit, the details are making this a place that is uniquely ours.

over valentines weekend, j. played and sang at a wedding out of town, so on a whim, i decided to surprise him with a makeover for his studio/office. we had quickly thrown that room together upon moving in, so it's always felt a bit cluttered and uninspired to me. while he was gone, i made some artwork, replaced a cheap table with a new painted bookshelf, and cleaned things up a little. it feels warm and slightly european now, i think. kind of like an old library & an english pub mixed together.

my own studio, on the other hand, looks like a tornado blew through and scattered paint & paper everywhere. last month, i toiled away in that upstairs room and took part in an art show with some friends at a local church. andy and the andys (peterson, osenga, gullahorn) performed a concert and the lobby was filled with easels displayed with various paintings and photographs. i sold three pieces and received a lot of humbling encouragement from the friends & strangers who attended.

last night while talking to j., he pointed out that this house has really nurtured my creativity. i am not sure if a house can actually do that, but i will say that there's something about living here---maybe it's the scenery, or the quiet, or just having my hands in constant 'project-mode,' that has ignited my desire to create visual art. i still love to write, but my ideas have shifted now. i think it is partially due to having an actual space of my own where i can work.

this house, though just a house, is also a place that beckons guests. we've only had a few so far, mostly people passing through for a night or two, but i love having friends and family fill our home. this house makes me want to cook up big, nourishing meals and pull out extra bed linens.

we never know what the future holds or where we may end up down the road. our days in this house may be numbered to 50 or 5000, but for now it's a good home. little by little, we are holding up its walls as we remake it. and in return, it is doing the same for us.

scenes from a house:

1. eli turns two...

2. home is made...

3. art is made...