A week on the ranch (February 7 - February 13, 2011)
by, 02-14-2011 at 10:18 AM (585 Views)
Unfortunately, I spent most of this week OFF the ranch, in Tennessee, on business. Everything seems to have run just fine without me, perhaps better! I, on the other hand, came back with a cold, and am still trying to get over it.
While I was in Tennessee, waiting out the storm, I did some "junk t.v." watching. I ended up on a show on HGTV about staging your house for sale while on a budget. It motivated me to try to get my house looking "sale ready," even though I have no intention of selling it. I like the idea of coming home to a house that has curb appeal (even though the nearest curb is probably ten miles away).
Watching that show, and seeing how something little (like cleaning the doorbell or painting a railing) can make a huge difference, I decided that I wanted a home that welcomed me when I drove up to it, rather than reminded me of all the things I need to do and have been neglecting.
So I spent the weekend concentrating more on the outside of my house than the inside, trying to make it look inviting, rather than looking like a remake of Sanford and Son. Because I live off the beaten path, I have a bad habit of just letting things lay, rather than trying to find a home for them. For example, when Chewy hurt his hip, I made a Rube Goldbergian pen for him by stapling chicken wire around the posts holding the deck up, so he could go outside, but couldn't walk very far away from the house. That was in 2009. I just got around to taking the chicken wire down on Friday, and it is now just laying on the ground, because I can't decide if I should try to save it to use for gopher cages, patching, etc, or just toss it because I have several rolls of chicken wire in the tack room. So, anyone coming to visit me today would drive up and see the chicken wire laying there, along with sundry other pots, pruned branches from the fruit trees, hoses, etc.
I used my three days back home productively, doing a LOT of work outside, since the weather forecast predicted a storm coming in on Sunday afternoon. I took advantage of the sunshine and tackled some gardening and tried to get some control of my deck. I can't say it looks like I made much progress out there, but I did get about a dozen plants (of probably 50 or so) into permanent locations around the house, so I can run drip lines to them, rather than having to hand water them all.
Spending time out there, and also trying to get the inside of my house back under control, I had time to ponder why I tend toward chaos more than order in my life. I think part of it is that I take too much on, so I literally don't have time to keep things under control. I notice, for example, when I am fostering, that the house becomes a disaster area the whole time, and I find myself thinking of all the things I'll do to bring it back around, but AFTER the dog, cat, etc. goes back to the shelter or its new home. I think I am right on the brink of chaos all the time, and adding even one more responsibility knocks me over the edge.
However, doing new things and experiencing life fully is more important to me than having a sparkling toilet, and I want to take advantage of this point in my life, when I am still young enough and energetic enough to enjoy being out there doing things. The toilet will still be there when I'm too old to spend the weekend hiking up and down the property, dragging bags of compost around. And by doing all that now, I look forward to being able to relax, when I'm in my 70's, and to sit back and watch the trees bloom, and to having fruit within an arm's reach of me, when (and if) I'm ready for a more sedentary existence.
So, where does that leave a person who wants a clean and tidy home, but wants to spend her days out adventuring, rather than on her knees scrubbing? I've tried house-cleaners, and while I had one that I loved, while I lived in southern California, I've had poor showings here, and have dismissed two already.
I listened to a podcast called "Self-Sufficient Gardener" the other day, and he talks about how your garden should be set up to where you don't have to be there every day to keep it going. In theory, you should have enough balance in your garden to allow you to walk away for several days, and come back to a living, thriving plot. It was a podcast about composting, companion planting, etc, but it got me thinking that I need to find a way to do the same in my home. It seems, if I don't stay on top of things DAILY, they get away from me. I think I just haven't learned how to find a balance in my home, where I don't have to spend every day cleaning just to keep my nose above water, but where I can still come home and feel good about where I live.
I think getting organized, which I am trying to do, is a big part of that balance. If everything has its place, then you don't waste time trying to find storage for something and you don't waste time looking for it.
I think doing things like tearing out the carpet and replacing it with laminate are also part of the picture. Carpet does not go well with pets, wood stoves, and red clay soil. I replaced the bedroom and hall carpets a few years back, and have never regretted the decision. A quick sweep, and it looks great. I still have carpeted stairs and a carpeted livingroom, however, and the stained and ratty carpet makes the whole area look shoddy.
I think I have to also give up this fantasy of coming home to a house that looks like it belongs on the "Dick Van Dyke" or "I Love Lucy" show. I grew up seeing those homes on t.v; and with a mother who cleaned obsessively, every day; and in a livingroom with matching end tables and lamps; and I think those things warped my vision of what a home should look like.
So, in conclusion I think I need to find MY home, the one that makes me happy, but makes me feel like my universe is orderly. I need to find a balance that allows me to pursue my hobbies without feeling that I'm neglecting my duties.
No revelations yet, but at least I feel like I now can see the problem more clearly.
Lessons learned this week: set your goals high, and you'll rise to achieve them; balance = order + happiness; HGTV is addictive.