Saturday, June 16, 2012
(If anyone is wondering how I got in this position in the first place, it's in the intro and in the blogs. Regular readers - including this one - can't stand yet another recitation.)
So now I've got a 5000 square foot, 200 year old farmhouse that is totally clogged with Other People's Stuff - either people who have passed on to the other side or daughters who have passed on to Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, a lot of their Stuff is getting wet, because I really need a new roof. It's not good, lying in bed at night listening to water dripping...in the hallway. Especially with plaster ceilings.
That and a bunch of other, ground-level repairs have taught me to address things whether I know much about them or not. I've discovered that a basic tool kit, a good DIY book (I like Reader's Digest) and a little common sense will get you a long way in home repair. It isn't brain surgery, and if it gets too icky, you can always call a repairman - except in my current experience, the only thing they have going for them that I lack is not having a stupid fear of spiders. (I don't mess with electricity - if you screw up plumbing, you won't drown in the night no matter how much the faucet leaks. Electricity, though....)
I've learned to mow the lawn *before* it gets to be a foot high. And I sprung for an electric start mower because I can never get the string-pulling kind to go. I've also figured out that one of the joys of living out in the country is that nobody gets after you if your lawn gets knee-high. In fact, instead of criticizing, they're liable to volunteer to mow for you.
I've learned that, just because I bought bread at the grocery every week for thirty years, now that I live alone, if I don't want to eat something, *I don't have to buy it*! If i don't think I should be eating something, all I have to do is skip purchasing it. Now, if I really want bread, I have to bake it. It's come to that a couple times, but not often. I belong to a CSA, so I have fresh vegetables coming in every week, and whatever I can't use I freeze for the winter. I get two big heads of lettuce right now, plus leaf spinach, so I'm eating a ton of salad. Yay!
No one checks to be sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink when I go to bed - and no one notices if I make that bed in the morning. Not that I'm turning into a horrible slob (I make the bed anyway, just because I like it that way) but I'm the only one who knows if I vacuum carefully, moving the furniture, or if I just do what my mother called "vacuuming up the big lumps."
I can handle the Other People's Stuff however I wish - and whenever I wish. I got rid of a ton of my husband's clothing a year ago, but I'm not ready to get rid of his Hawaiian shirts yet. Maybe next week, maybe never. Nobody's business but my own. In a perfect world, kids come home and deal with their own Stuff - in my world, they won't. I check with them before I jettison anything of theirs, but if they don't want it, it goes to the Salvation Army. I'm also learning that its better to give a lot of stuff to the Salvation Army (or whomever) than to try to sell it on eBay - sometimes that's the way to go, but it's time consuming and the profit isn't always worth the effort.
I don't especially care what I eat, and no one is going to fuss if the same thing is for dinner three or four nights in a row (a big crock of chili, or a turkey breast in all its various manifestations.)
If I'm the only one living here, I can decorate to suit myself, not the Better Homes and Gardens people that I always expected to show up at any moment. I can paint the walls the color I want, no matter how odd, and use the rooms for whatever purpose I see fit (family room is now art studio!) if there are people I feel would Judge Me, (and if I care), I simply don't invite them over.
In short, instead of being all lonesome and out of control, I'm learning that I can handle what absolutely needs to be done, delegate (as in hire someone) some things, and ignore the rest without guilt. I can do what *I* want to do, when I want to do it. I can get up at 3:00 a.m. to read or paint (and have done so, many times) without anyone giving me grief. I don't have to keep doing things in a certain way, just because I've "always done it that way."
I've also discovered that no one is standing over me watching what - or when - I eat or insisting that I exercise, so it's totally up to me whether or not I'm successful on this weight loss/health gain adventure.
All these things seem so obvious to someone outside the situation, but when it's you, it's different. I've had to learn to be my own therapist, housekeeper, gardener, home-repair person, decorator, mechanic, organizer, accountant, secretary/assistant and exercise buddy - and realize that if I don't do it, it won't get done - and maybe that's okay, too. It's been quite a revelation so far, and I'm still learning.