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]


Amy said...

My mom is bringing my copy of your book to me on Thursday. I can't wait to get my hands on it and plan to read it while sitting on the deck of our rented cottage in Maine. Thank you for taking on that project although it caused you fear and stress. I am so grateful you did and I've only read your selected previews. Hope the house project goes as smoothly as possible!

Becca said...

I'm sorry the house is causing so much trouble! Ugg. I wish I were there to let Jack smile at you; it tends to heal all wounds :). Call me if you need to vent!

Stephen said...

My wife has started a number of those types of projects. They can be scary, like when we gutted out the kitchen a couple of days early and then found out that the cabinets were delayed. Still, it was an adventure.