Here is the post I made on facebook this morning:
Today is my first official day of “vacation” — the last almost three months have been hard; I didn’t work so many days that I would have (and might have), but they weren’t restful. It wasn’t even close to a “vacation” for me. It was hard work. I expect to still have many days like those… it’s not over and I am not where I want to be, but I am getting there. And the reduced stress over whether I could/should/must/can work will help. Now I can focus on my kids and the house. Now I can work in my garden and know that I don’t have to think about being able to walk the next day. Now I can make progress, and help my family make progress. Plan for today: laundry, sort through one box or item; repack a few textiles I managed to clean so I can put them in storage; pick up Matthew from the airport; spend some time with Grant. Yes, vacation will be good to have.
Almost three months to the day (this coming Monday), our old house will be demolished. It will make a huge hole in the landscape, not unlike the hole the fire left in our hearts.
And then, we will start rebuilding.
We have chosen a house plan, it will work “well enough” for our purposes, though I am sure there are other plans out there that would make more sense design-wise and energy-wise and cost-wise. But I didn’t have the luxury of taking my time and thinking clearly about things like this. The most thinking along these lines had been how to remodel our existing home… but the plan I have chosen is one that I am certain will allow me to “age in place” and while it doesn’t have the separate “game room” I wanted, or the privacy of a separate space for the other bedrooms (which is nice for visitors), it does have several things I felt important.
- radiant floors – had to fight a little bit for that, but it will be worth it in the middle of winter
- an office for Tom, an extra room for me that I will let Grant have while he is at home I think
- a big kitchen, planned for some expansion later with space for a wall oven and plumbed for a sink in a kitchen island later on
- plenty of storage – will buy customizable wardrobes to put along the walls in the non-master bedrooms/offices, and there will be a garage, too; and the kitchen is so big… we will get some pull-out pantry units that are more space efficient than a walk-in and easier to use if mobility impairments happen
- skylights – solar tube types in several locations, and two real skylights in the main living space that will open for venting heat in the summer; and a ceiling fan…
- the living room looks out on the front yard and the lovely chestnut tree… and the kitchen looks out over the back yard and my cedar grove and the meadow
- I can paint the walls — solid colors, patterns, murals… and there will be lots of light in the house from the windows, but not so much that we can’t still keep the house cool in the summer
There are more advantages, the single-car garage that we are hoping to be able to fit in will allow for some larger projects (like refinishing the damaged heirlooms with scorched wood) and then be a space for Grant and his friends to hang out. We’ll put an electric heater in there, and get some used comfy furniture so they can gather and be loud and have fun away from the main living space.
It will be MUCH closer to ground level, so I won’t even need to create an official “ramp” to the front porch. That will make it easier to get in and out when I am using assistive devices; and maybe some of my friends who haven’t been able to get inside will come visit!
It will look externally more like the houses in the neighborhood, which will, I think help the neighbors feel better about our place. I loved my yellow walls and deep burgundy trim, but in a world of brown, green and gray it was a little different… Still since we don’t have an HOA I might end up putting in some bright caribbean-inspired garden pieces!
And as the house takes shape and I get back into the garden and pull it into shape too (three months of inattention has resulted in huge swaths of waist-high grasses and weeds as tall as Tom), I should be able to start thinking about other things. Applying for jobs. Taking a couple of workshops (really excited about those, actually — the 2 Sisters have been recommended to me for years). Going through the storage locker to find little things I can use. Painting silk scarves (Mother and I still have to order paints, but I have scarves clean and ready to go!). Visiting with friends. Making jams/jellies/pies/cookies/juice/sorbet…
Many things to look forward to. Many things to arrange and do and be present for.
Today beckons. Matthew’s flight is near Philadelphia, Grant will be done with school in a couple hours, and I have plans for progress in the apartment. It’s going to be a good summer.