Monday, September 14, 2009

Keeping House

Today marks fourteen days and counting before we begin our bathroom/laundry room remodeling project. This is one of those projects which started with just replacing the shower faucet and snowballed into a major house renovation that could give nightmares to even the calmest soul (which I am not). Between researching safe building products, choosing paint colors and arranging financing, I have spent untold hours on this project already, and we haven't even begun to tear out walls. Ironically, the strain of trying to make the project as chemically-free and healthy as possible is starting to take a toll on my health and I find myself right on the edge, physically and emotionally. Perhaps my biggest obstacle right now is my own fear.

But then, this is nothing new. I have a long history of taking on projects that seem like a good idea initially but ultimately scare me half to death. Just such another project culminated three weeks ago when I received the final printed copies of the book about my pioneer grandmothers which I started researching more than ten years ago. It's title, Not Just Keeping House, refers to the old census records in which the occupation most often listed for women is "keeping house." Such a description conjures up women in long skirts and aprons sweeping and scrubbing and fixing meals. While my ancestral mothers certainly did these things, that's hardly a description of ALL that they did.

When I woke up this morning, after yet another night of fretful dreams about bathroom sinks and painters that couldn't seem to get the color right, I realized that "keeping house" is exactly what I'm trying to do, but maybe not in the same sense that my grandmothers did. I'm trying to keep my house safe and healthy for me and my family. At the same time, I'm trying to keep it attractive and comfortable (even a bathroom should make you feel welcome). Perhaps most importantly, I'm trying to keep it all together as a whole--a place to live and love and just be. Sounds simple, right? Not so much, unfortunately.

But, like most other projects I've started with trepidation, it will come together and I will get my house (and my life) back, such as it is. In the meantime, nothing will be normal, and some regular activities (like blogging) may get pushed aside. But, never fear, I'll be back, and I'll have a LOT to say.

[BTW, if anyone is interested in the new book, you can see it and other great works :^) at]

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Not-so-far-away friends

I've been feeling pretty down the past few days. It was nice to be at my sister's cabin for a few days last week, enjoying the fresh mountain air, but on the drive back all I could think about was the mountain of work I have to do to get ready to leave again in a few weeks when our remodel project starts. Then, I'd only been home a few days when I found mold on one of the bathroom walls we weren't planning to take out. Ughhh! I hate that stuff! Black, slimy, gooey, yucky. . .

So here I was tonight, sitting at my computer, trying to get some work done before our weekend company arrives, feeling sorry for myself and more than a little overwhelmed, when up pops an email from my friend Celia in Wisconsin. Now, I've never actually met Celia, only through email, but I feel like I've known her forever. Accompanying her email were pictures of a family wedding--happy smiling faces of people she loves. It was just what I needed to pull me out of my blue funk.

MCS is such a lonely, isolating disease. It's easy to get depressed and believe that no one cares. But this magical mysterious thing called the internet connects us through cyberspace with people in all parts of the world. I may not have many friends right here in Helena, Montana, but I do have friends in far-away places like Wisconsin, Arizona, Oklahoma, Idaho, Utah, Washington, Hawaii, Canada and even India. They are as close as my desk or my laptop computer (which goes everywhere with me).

Thanks and (cyber)hugs to all of you, my not-so-far-away friends.