One of the things I did manage today, between moving stuff and trying to keep the cats somewhat settled down, was to discover & read the blog of one of my kids from church. I call her one of MY kids, because back in, 2007, she was one of the kids on my first mission trip since I was a youth. Except for one of them, who was a senior, and one who was a junior I think the rest of them were on their first mission trip, since they'd just finished 7th grade. She (and our Senior) were on my workteam, and, like all of the kids, were awesome! I knew, back then, that she is something especially special in my world. Over the last 3 years, I've read her blogs on her MySpace & Facebook, always marveling at her gift for writing. She's a wonderful public speaker as well. She's started a new blog… one with its own space, not a page on MySpace or Facebook. As I was reading several entries on her blog, I was struck by this paragraph
Sometimes things have to fall apart to fall into place…And when they do fall apart, it doesn't matter that everything's in pieces. What matters is how you carry them. God will let you carry your pieces however you want. But me? I want some help with mine. So I vote we remember our windows, put less stock in our lights, and carry our pieces towards the Lord, because once you remember he's there, he's a lot easier to see. Marianne Brown, 2010Recently, I have felt very much like things in my world have fallen apart. I suck at asking for help. I know this. I suck at asking the friends I can see, and the ones I can't. My faith has always been a big part of my life, and while it's fundamentally still pretty much what it has always been, I've learned that I can successfully incorporate some other ideas into the mix, not be wrong, and still be loved by God. Perhaps I've been the strong one for too long… I need to let God help carry my pieces.
It's been over a year since I was employed for anything longer than a couple of months. There have been ups and downs, frustrations beyond belief, and some wonderful revelations along the way. Several weeks ago, tensions came to a head and seemed to be at an impasse with regard to my living situation. This resulted in a frantic search for somewhere I could go, and, knowing that none of my options for MY bed could include my cats. I was fortunate enough to find someone not only willing to foster them for me, but also willing to drive a couple of hours to meet me about halfway between our places to make the exchange. Many tears, frustrations, and a bit of a hollering match later, we reached an accord that will benefit all of us in the house, preserve a friendship, and let me keep my cats with me.
See, we live in a house that was originally built in the 1880s. Yes, that is correct, the house (parts of it anyway) is over 120 years old. There have been a couple additions over the years, rendering parts of the house more energy efficient than others. The room I'd been in since November is part of the original house. There are 4 windows in that room. 2 face WEST, and, if not original to the house, are at least from the early 20th century (I would say maybe 1930's at the most recent) They are the old double hung sash type windows, that either have to be hooked open (there are eyebolts on the tops of the part that raises/lowers) or propped open with something. To help keep the cold out over the winter, we put some heavy plastic up over them. The other 2 are on the front porch, and face south/southwest. That room is also over a basement shop that isn't used except for storage probably 90% of the time. Also, the tree that's on the west side of the house provides NO shade to that bedroom. Yeah, cooling it in the summer is F.U.N. let me tell ya… especially with a window a/c unit. The other drawback to this room is that it is the public path to the only downstairs bathroom, and the only public bathroom in the house. Now, if I was in there asleep, nobody ever tried to come through, and for the most part, my privacy was respected, with a couple of exceptions. Oh, and I am TOTALLY not a neat freak. I can absolutely organize and clean someone else's stuff like crazy, but my own stuff tends to be fairly haphazard & messy (although I generally know where in my "mess" things are)
Upstairs, above the front room (where I was), is the master, which has a total of, umm, I think 7 windows. Some very old, some new, and honestly, since I don't spend a lot of time up there, I couldn't begin to say how many of each. At one time, there were 2 bedrooms in that space. 2 of the windows face WEST (and only one of those MIGHT get a bit of shade from the tree, but it's minimal at best). 3 face south, and 2 face north. Also up in that room are the cats which make up the "stock" of the cattery owned by one of my friends. Because they are mutant cats (yes, hairless is a mutation), they tend to be a bit more delicate, as a regular cat's fur helps to regulate its body temperature, that is likely the most important space to control the climate. Being that we are in TEXAS, in probably the hottest summer since 1980, plus the fact that that's an older (though I'm not sure original) part of the house, it's upstairs, and heat rises… well, the AC unit runs pretty well constantly up there to keep the room around 78 degrees.
Also upstairs is the teenager's bedroom, which has either 3 or 4 windows, facing east and south, and 2 cats. That room I KNOW is part of an addition from, I think around the 60s or 70s., and is above our living room & dining rooms.
Before the major heat hit, we were already running 3 a/c units, and hadn't even turned on the ones in the living/dining room.
There is also a small bedroom downstairs, with lots of natural light (nearly a whole wall of windows facing north, and a couple facing west that are mostly shaded by the tree outside, which I think is part of the 60s/70s addition. The west windows also have storm windows. It's almost half the size of the other bedroom, but it's not the smallest bedroom I have ever had. This shift allows me more privacy (nobody has any need to come through my bedroom to get to the bathroom, and the laundry room has 2 entries, so nobody has to come through my room to get there either.
The dining room can be moved into my old bedroom, along with several other things that have been sort of crowding the living/dining area because they needed to be where we could access them, but aren't things we necessarily use every single day. Those things don't have to be constantly climate controlled. (We are now up to 5 window units… 1 for each bedroom plus 2 for the living/dining area). The cattery stock can be moved into the more accessible former dining area (which is going to be climate controlled anyway because we usually have someone in that part of the house during the day), and we can stop running a/c constantly at such a level in 2 rooms. It is going to allow us to reduce energy costs, PLUS it will give the cats more socialization because they'll be where there are people all the time, instead of upstairs on their own.
So yesterday we finished getting the stuff (largely junk & such that will be either sold at a yard sale, Ebay-ed, or donated to charity if it's in decent condition, otherwise the trash men are gonna have a big load from us one of these days! Actually, a recliner and a coffee table got put at the curb last night, and picked up with the rest of the trash today. I vacuumed thoroughly (the last one living in it was a 20 year old boy, who wasn't exactly a clean or neat freak), and shampooed the carpets. This morning the carpets were dry enough, and we moved my stuff in. Before I moved anything in, I smudged with my sage stick to cleanse the energy (and the smoking boy aroma), rang my tingshas and burned a bit of purification oil to fully prepare the space.
There's still a table in the other room, which will go to storage, and a glider that will wind up in the living room, because, well, we can use another comfortable chair in there! My Ebay shipping supplies are also in there, but hopefully they will be able to stay, because, even once I put all the stuff I have in here in a proper place, there's nowhere for anything else! I have clean sheets on the bed, a temporary quilt (actually, it's a lap quilt that my sister-in-law made for me, umm, around 1990 or 91, I think. It will serve the purpose until the house is put back together and the laundry room is emptied to a point where we can get to the washer & dryer again…
I have much more to write about some of my plans for the coming weeks and months, but alas, the short cat is becoming INSISTENT that I either give her a turn on the computer, or get it off my lap so's I can scratch her properly… g'nite ya'll.