In the past two weeks since my last post, I started two separate entries that I was planning on sharing. Each felt a little flat and one included lines from both Bridesmaids and the Bud Light guy (for real life it did, as my four-year old would say). Be thankful I am letting those posts marinate a little longer before sharing.
Thinking about what I would want to share instead, I realized that there have been a lot of beginnings and endings in my life of late. It’s the end of the school year and I have a little one about to finish up preschool who will enter Fall a kindergartner. This has me a little wistful, a little contemplative and thinking about life’s cycles and changes. In the five weeks that it took to upgrade our bathroom from Beigeland to the happy oasis I now find it to be, my contractor lost three people in his life – one of which was his pet cow. In that same time, two babies were born to dear friends, the hubby turned forty and Spring is giving way to Summer. To everything there is a season. I feel like I’m in a Summer period of life, so I’m going to enjoy it for that. There can be a guilt feeling that accompanies what feels like good fortune. We can look at other people who are going through challenging times and feel guilty that we are in a period of reprieve. Or, we can downplay the good, waiting for the other shoe to drop and knowing that our challenging times are on the way just around the corner out of view. I am doing my best to not think like that and to instead be overwhelmingly grateful for the period I’m in. Indeed it may soon end, but what would be sadder than its culmination would be not having enjoyed it while it lasted. I’m starting to wonder if everyone’s misfortunes are timed so that they don’t happen simultaneously. This way, you can lean on me when you are in the trenches and you can return the favor when I am deep in my own. I plan on giving this some good thought on Monday, when I turn the big 4-0 and I take a little time to ponder the next chapter. I’m feeling like it’s time to roll up the shirt sleeves, to get elbow deep in the gunk of life, to lend a hand where one is needed. I’ll check in when that thought further develops, but for right now in no particular order I give you some evidence of ends and beginnings.
First, we bid adieu to the old toilet:
And welcomed the new:
It’s a dual flush that is supposed to be water efficient, but that capability might be negated by the fact that someone in the house likes to push the buttons.
We traded the mildew-ridden shower door…
For a door-less tub with a rounded front to give it a little more room inside. The paint isn’t quite so vibrant as it looks in the photo, but it’s a lovely sky-blue that coupled with the gleaming white subway tile completely knocked out Beigeland with a one-two punch. I’ve had the fabric for the shower curtain for some time and was excited to use it. My husband says it looks Dr. Seuss-ian (he says this is a good thing) and that he can imagine Thing One and Thing Two peeking out from behind one of the flowers. I now like the fabric even more.
I took my first bath in here a couple days ago because while the rest of the country’s weather looks a lot like this:
Ours has been looking like this:
And this means one thing for me: warm up bath. I have mentioned this before, but the warm-up bath is necessary when you get chilled to the bone from the damp cold out here and submerging oneself in hot water is the only thing that will relieve the chill on the deep level that is necessary to feel warm. While I don’t like to believe that things can make you happy, I have to admit that this tub just might qualify. Bye-bye Beigeland, bienvenidos new bano.
In other news, someone in this house said goodbye to his thirties and welcomed forty last weekend:
The leftovers of this cake are in my house and are playing evil tricks on me. Any work I’m doing in this awesome class my friend teaches is being cancelled out by the damage I’m doing on this chocolate explosion. Let me tell you – it’s worth it. Every bite. I hope I get one on my birthday. Hint hint.
The hubby and I actually stole away for an hour on his bday to grab a drink (in the daytime!). This is the pub we went to when we visited Bainbridge Island for the first time. It was on this same deck looking at the harbor and Seattle beyond where we both looked at each other and said: um, yeah – I think we could do this. We haven’t had a date on this deck since, so it was a special treat. It’s a place where we welcome beginnings.
The morning of the hubby’s birthday, I treated him to these:
They remind him of childhood Summers spent on his family’s sailboat when he was actually allowed to eat these (just one). Even without his mom here, he exercised his usual enviable restraint and ate only one. The small fry and I each had two (at that sitting). She called them “the bagel things” because she has apparently never had a donut. A couple weeks ago when I offered her the choice between a hamburger or a hot dog at a bbq, she asked: what’s a hamburger? Although I am slightly proud of our attempts at promoting good health, I do believe that the fact that she’s made it to five without knowing what either of these is may have at one time qualified us for the McCarthy trials.
The beginning of a lifelong relationship with bagel things.
The hubby has been working these lovely raised garden beds for a few weeks now. They would have been finished sooner, but he ran into all kinds of challenges with hitting cement while trying to drill in the corner posts. They are almost ready to go and we are delighted to begin feeding ourselves from the produce we plant in them (assuming I can successfully grow said produce).
In the background, you can see our little guest cottage which brings me to the next ending/beginning…
We are saying goodbye to the drab green paint. It’s a nice enough color, but in the land of evergreen trees and overcast days, a gray-green house is pretty much camouflaged. We’ve wanted to change the color since we bought the house, so we’re just biting the bullet and doing two big projects in one year.
Until a couple days ago, and after seeing this photo we wanted this color scheme:
We thought the foliage would really pop against the navy and as two former pink and green-loving/madras plaid sporting preps, we love the color combo. We sampled the colors below (ignore the top few – colors look way different outdoors…) and everyone agreed it was the last one that felt the best. We were all set to paint the house this most unfortunately named color – soot – until my husband rightly pointed out that the house is basically going to disappear in the darker months. Our property is pretty heavily shaded by 100 ft. + trees, and well, this is the Pacific Northwest. I’m not 100% sure, but I’d be willing to bet there is also an old wive’s tale that says: never paint your house anything called soot.
So, we sampled some pale yellows and have changed our plans and are now painting the house pale yellow with a blue door (which the four-year old wanted all along). As soon as the rain stops this week, we will say goodbye to the green and will welcome the sunny yellow.
After school, we’ve been visiting a local park and watching these little guys/gals grow up:
Don’t other people’s kids grow up so quickly? These little ones were yellow just a week or so ago. Now, they are looking more and more like mom and dad.
The Bug was cheering on the ducklings to grab the bread she brought for them- Good Job, Babies! she kept shouting. Normally shouting at wildlife has the opposite effect, but they literally ate out of her hand.
There are signs of new life in the garden, too. The peonies have bloomed and they still win my vote for best flower in the garden, the lilies being a close second.
We also have an overzealous junco (teenager?) who is going to town on our car mirrors every day. In this photo you can barely see them, but there are two – one on the side mirror and one in the back. I found a video that is exactly what they do to our car which is both amusing and messy. Apparently, (ahem) the excitement causes some loosening of the bowels.
It is a treat to watch all the birds return each year and I’m getting to know them better – their calls, their patterns…their poop. Although I love hearing them in the morning when I first let Sally out to do her business, I equally love hearing them settle in at night. Good night, John Boy!, they say. There is something about hearing birds sing that reassures me everything will be alright.
And then, there are these two:
I do believe they resemble one another, don’t they? This is the view I will have for only one more short week. Each day when I drop off the Bug at school, Sally begins barking excitedly (and loudly) when I pull into the turning lane from the highway to turn onto the road where the school is. Once there, I open the back door, the little one gives the furry one a final squeeze and then grabs her backpack and lunchbox and meets up with her buddies in the playground. Not only will I miss the magical place that is her preschool, but I am sad and slightly scared that this phase of life is coming to a close. If I could make parts of it last (not all of it, let’s be real), I would wish that my daughter would never feel self-conscious walking around town like this:
And that she would welcome new experiences without fear like this:
She has had a great foundation: from her family, her teachers, and her community and I hope that this isn’t truly an ending, but a beginning of another wild and wonderful phase of life. As I end my thirties and enter a new chapter of my own, wild and wonderful is definitely how I would describe the past ten years and the upcoming years I’m eagerly anticipating.
Finally, we have a little side area to our bathroom with its own sink. I don’t use it a lot, but I imagine I will during my daughter’s teenage years (aka bathroom high usage years). We put up a mirror over the sink and there was a vacant spot on the wall to the left of the mirror that was begging for something pretty. I’ve been eying up Katie Daisy’s dreamy watercolors and I love the sentiments she chooses for each work. I wanted to use one for this space next to the mirror and I thought for a while about the message I wanted to see each morning to start my day and again at the close before heading to bed. There were a lot of strong contenders, but ultimately I chose this:
It’s simple, but it’s what I wanted to remind myself at every opportunity – this is it. This is my one wild and precious life as Mary Oliver says. This is my daughter’s only childhood, the only time my husband and I will turn forty, the few precious years we have with our Sally, the one time these very ducklings will be young and the only time I’ll ever see that particular peony. I’m not gearing up for something greater and my best years aren’t behind me – this is it. Endings and beginnings. And just like that, the cycle continues.