Sunday, November 1, 2015


Six years ago today was day one of my kitchen remodel project -- the second of four major remodel projects in my house:  1)  Exterior siding, roof, patio, and deck (also new furnace and A/C ended up being in that project.  2) Kitchen remodel.  3) Basement and garage.  4) Upstairs doors and floors along with some miscellaneous remaining odds and ends.  All completed by spring 2014.  Along the way, I also discovered my landscaper, Alberto, and little by little, "remodeled" my yard as well, adding a completely new sprinkling system, and finally reaching the point where every corner of the yard was finished and as beautiful as I had visualized it.

I loved doing those projects.  It was hard, of course.  Self-inflicted pain and disruption.  And I did it alone, lacking a husband by then.  But I had a good, dependable contractor who did wonderful work for reasonable prices.  And I was so determined.  In my mind, things needed to take place in a certain sequence, and I followed that pretty much straight through.  I have no regrets.  I love all the changes.  Now I have this beautiful house to live in until I decide to downsize.

In March 2014, just before the fourth and last remodel was finished, my father was hospitalized and it would be a little over a year of illness and decline until he died.  It was the beginning of a depressing and challenging time in my life.  So many friends, husbands of friends, and close relatives have died since then.  Enough said of that time.  I've posted about it before, and I weighs me down to even write the words.

The thing is, I love and enjoy my updated and lovely home. But I never really celebrated completing all my projects--all my home-related goals.  Never congratulated myself for getting there and crossing absolutely everything off those to-do lists.  And I have tried to make lists of new, smaller projects.  My one-day projects, for example.  I wanted to continue being productive and making things better.  It was a good idea, but I just couldn't remain motivated to follow through.  I allowed myself to sink into a depression of sorts.  Sadness and a feeling of loss. 

Grief is the right word.  I generally view myself as a strong person who can handle everything life sends my way without falling apart.  And up until recently, I have.  But maybe it's just been too much at once and I have needed to set other things aside and allow myself time to simply grieve.  Without wallowing and self-pity.  But just time to acknowledge and accept all that has passed, and come to terms with it all.  Has it been enough time now?  I don't know. But I want it to be.  I want to move on.

I love projects and I love being productive and helpful.  My mind and heart are wanting to get back to work on things--to get back to those lists.  Not so much because they are things that urgently need to be done, but because I thrive when I am involved in a project.  I feel happier.  I sleep better.  I even eat and exercise better. 

Today is the first day of November, and the month is a clean slate.  My closest friend is spending the month near her children in California and I've decided to take a break from the social scene altogether until Thanksgiving.  Family matters have settled down a bit, too; although I know how quickly things can change.  But for this clean slate start of the month, I want to see if I can push myself and get back into the things that make me feel good.  Thanksgiving is nearly four weeks away and I'll probably put on another big family dinner.  But until that week, I have some valuable time and I want to use it.

It's one thing to  have resolve.  It's another to follow through.  But I remember how hard it was as I started each new project.  How scared I was to have my kitchen gutted and completely rebuilt.  But I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone to get it done.  To get all the projects done.  It is valuable to remember struggle and difficulty and managing despite it all.  It makes me remember that I am a person who is up to it.  I am up to it. 

So here I go jumping into November with a more positive attitude and a to-do list.  Wish me luck!

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