…and I have used them all up without finishing the novel I was supposed to write as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). In fact, I wrote the first 494 words and that’s it. Then I spent the rest of the month working on the cellar restoration and being too exhausted to write.
The cellar is a story in itself. When we bought the house, we knew there was a bit of work to do down there, but we designated 3-4 weeks, start to finish. Ha! Four months later and it’s still not finished. The proverbial ‘can of worms’ has been opened and we could not close it up without addressing each and every part of it. We’re nearing the finish line, though, and it’s going to be awesome when it’s done. Sometime in December. Sigh…
Where am I going with all this? Nowhere. It’s just the last day of November and I felt the need to write and publish something, anything, even if it was just a blog spot about not writing. And now I’ve done that, so, back to the cellar…
Thirty days hath November, April, June, and September; All the rest have thirty-one, Excepting February alone, And that has twenty-eight days clear And twenty-nine in each leap year.
Picture it, a cold rainy Saturday in November (just two days ago, actually.) Two exhausted middle-aged people wake up late in the morning and frantically start packing up to drive to ‘the city’ (Prince George, BC) for a John Mellencamp concert. They need this little break desperately after months of grueling work on the old house they bought in a small northern town this summer. So they’ve booked a room for the night near the venue and they look forward to just kicking back, a little romance (they’ve splurged on a nice bottle of wine), a relaxing dinner out and a rockin’ time at the concert. This will be so much better than aching bodies from the cellar reconstruction, so much better than bickering with each other and worrying about the unmanageable amount of work still to do before the snow flies.
They’ve set up a dehumidifier in the cellar and determined that it can run for 24 hours before the 5 gallon bucket it’s draining into will overflow. They jump in the car – bicker bicker bicker – in the pouring rain and drive about 15 minutes out of town before someone says do you have the tickets? and someone else says Oh crap! Drive back to town in awkward silence to get the tickets.
At least they’re not bickering!
It takes about an hour to drive from Vanderhoof to Prince George. This is when it will start to be fun, they think as they arrive at their motel to check in. Until the desk clerk informs them that their reservation is for tomorrow night. What?
Are you going to the hockey game? asks a couple waiting in the lobby. – No, we’re going to the John Mellencamp concert, they reply. – Hockey tonight, the couple says, The concert is tomorrow.
They awkwardly step aside to discuss their options:
Let’s just stay an extra night!
We have a bucket in the cellar that will overflow in 24 hours.
They go to Costco and get that shopping out of the way at least and eat hotdogs for dinner. They drive home in the dark, in a rainstorm, with nearly zero visibility. It takes more than an hour. Everyone is exhausted/headachy, a whole day lost that they could have been working on the house. The bucket still has another 48 hours without fear of overflowing. Crap!!!
They sleep. They wake, they head back to the city. About 15 minutes out of town they realize they still have no heat in the car. And the temperature gauge is behaving weirdly; the radiator is leaking. So, back home and they pile their bags into the truck.
The 26 year old beater of a truck they just bought last month and have never driven more than 3 miles from home in good weather. (This is not good weather; the bright sunshine has now turned to wet snow.) The truck looks really rough, it guzzles gas and it smells kind of weird, and the windshield wipers only work sporadically, but it has heat. And once you get used to the sticky clutch, it almost never stalls in intersections!
Around 4:30 they roll up to the motel and check in (on the right day, this time). It’s a nice room, clean and warm. But no one is saying “this is where it starts to be fun” anymore. Moxie’s is just about a block away and they walk over for dinner – good table, cheerful service, delicious food. It’s snowing harder when they stroll back to the room, but they aren’t worried. They put on some awesome jazz music, uncork that lovely bottle of wine, and . . . an hour later, they call a taxi to get to the venue on time, not that anyone is worrying about time anymore. A cab costs less than paying for parking, and that beautiful wet snow just keeps coming down.
The concert is amazing! John Mellencamp is in great form on his ‘Sad Clowns and Hillbillies’ tour – he still does all his old songs SO perfectly and his newest songs are interspersed and they are GOOD! (Love that bluesy sound. Mellencamp’s voice was made for it!) The band …. the band is awesome! Could this be any better? (Well, a couple screens so you could see closeups of JM now and then, would have been nice. Just sayin’.) But it’s a fantastic evening and they buy a CD and step outside, deciding unanimously that it’s best to skip the taxi line-up and just walk back to the motel.
It’s a winter wonderland. And no one cares that their footwear was not suited to walking in snow. No one cares that all four shoes are soaked inside and out, that they will spend the night drying on the radiator. They even pause at Denny’s, wet feet and all, for tea and pecan pie. Monday morning they will stop at Marks and buy real winter boots, they will stop at Starbucks and get some real yummy lattes, they will drive home in the sunshine on clear roads with beautiful snow laden trees all around.
It’s easier to smile now. It’s so easy to speak gently, to hold hands, to believe that it’s all going to be alright. Because it is. That’s what they’re learning here – In the end, it’s all alright. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end.
Photo Credits: Randy Forgo (except ‘The Beast’, that’s one’s mine…and it shows!)
Sometimes you have to stop the dirty grueling work and take a day to snuggle a baby. It’s good for the soul.
I’ve been reflecting on the choices we’ve made since selling our condo in Surrey. I’ve been saying that I had no regrets because it all works out in the end, that the best adventures were born of the more impulsive decisions, the riskier options. I stand by that statement, right up until we decided to buy this house. This may have been our first actual mistake.
That said, it’s still a house with huge potential. Our plans for it are still awesome. It just doesn’t fit into our original live-the-dream plan in any way, shape or form and because of that, we’ve had to make some compromises, to give some things up.
One of those things I had to resign was taking SweetEsther up to Northern Alberta for the Klassen family reunion this weekend. The van was in no shape for that trip and neither were we after spending days digging out and cribbing up the cellar, a job that absolutely had to be done this week. It’s a whole thing and it is what it is, and I didn’t even know it was important to me until this weekend. But still, I was feeling it.
And then the opportunity to babysit my niece’s little one came up and my first thought was YES! and my second thought was ‘my house is not fit for a baby yet!’ But that’s just the thing, it won’t be ready for a long time yet and getting to snuggle babies was part of what I was looking forward to in this move. It’s what I really wanted to do. The world won’t end if I take a day off to do this, to connect with this amazing little person and refresh my soul a little. So we rocked and we snuggled and we giggled and we read a story and played the guitar (I played, Randy added impromptu percussion, and baby rocked out. So cute!) and then we rocked & snuggled some more. I did what I really wanted to do for a day, and you know what, I only felt better for it!
I’m still feeling like this house was not our best choice, I’m still not thrilled about all the ramifications of it, but it’s done and I do believe this little house has some things it can teach me over the next year. Things about myself, things about life and what’s most important. Oh so many things to learn.
I hope there are lot’s of puppies and babies and visits and music and story writing in that process . . . who knows! Me and my ugly little house are going to be pretty tight for the winter, and hopefully in the spring, we will both emerge a better version of ourselves. I know she already has a better, stronger foundation. I feel just a tiny bit stronger too!