I have become content living primarily in our new living room and kitchen, not by choice, but by necessity. This house has turned into more of a project than we were anticipating. Yet, it is still feeling more and more like a home every day.
Last week, while Lucas was prepping the walls of our bedroom for me to paint, his hand literally went through the base of the wall. We put two and two together and realized that the shower and toilet on the other side of the wall, both inadequately sealed and leaking, were the cause of water damage to the surrounding walls. Water damage is an understatement - extensive black mold is more accurate. Luckily Lucas is experienced with remodeling. And so it was in his hands to cut out all sections of the walls in the bedroom and bathroom that were moldy and rotting, replace the leaky toilet, reseal the shower, and tear out the linoleum and molding. With new sheet-rock and joint compound now in place, it is almost time for me to start painting the bedroom.
While Lucas has been busy with this hard and unpleasant work, you might wonder what I have been doing. Notice the new color in the living room:
After finishing the paint job in the living room, I did a deeper clean in the kitchen. The stove-top and two ovens were in horrible shape. The first thing I did once they were clean was to bake some bread! The smell of bread baking is enough to make any space feel like home. And feeling like I have the kitchen, where I spend a large amount of my time, finally in a clean and fully functioning state helps me feel even further at home.
It is amazing how easy and natural it is for us to fall into the stereotypical gender roles in the home. I have been filling the domestic role of cleaning, unpacking, decorating, and cooking while Lucas has been focusing on the electric, plumbing, and structural work, not because we feel we "should" have these roles, but because this is where we are comfortable and happy contributing.
But, I admit, I skipped town for 4 days while Lucas was working hard. I honestly had reached my tipping point from living in an unsettled home, using a bucket as my toilet, and feeling like life had put yet another delay in my ability to do what I came here to do. And so, I went to Portland for a visit with dear friends there and to get more of my belongings from storage.
It was an awesome visit. I remember when I was moving from Portland a year ago, several people told me that every time I would come back to visit it would feel as if so much was changing in my own life, but not in anyone else's. But, on this trip, I happily discovered that this is soooo not true! There are so many amazing and new things happening with all of my friends. They are all taking steps to realize their dreams, improve the quality of their lives, learn, grow, and experience the fullness of being human. It is lovely and inspiring to see this movement forward, forward even despite the pain and fear that sometimes needs to be moved through in order to create positive change.
Yet again, my pictures of this journey are few. But the weekend's highlights include: dinner with Christine in her new home, being a guest at Megan and Todd's house and having special QT with them, being the surprise guest at Lily's She-Ra themed birthday party and seeing Willa and Esti there too, a super fun dance party where I reunited with many good friends, discovering a fabulous new coffeeshop: Barista, Sunday morning breakfast out (a Portland tradition) at Helser's, tea with Sarah and her new kitten, an afternoon playdate with amazing Charlotte, a special dinner with Ursala, a visit with my wedding dress maker Lindsay, and a reunion with more of my stuff!
I returned to Dunsmuir revitalized and content living in an unfinished house, and found a functioning toilet, and a hard-working man who I am lucky to have as my valentine. And I have done what I can in the current situation to feel more settled - the unpacked boxes are organized, the laundry is being done, and my clothes now hang in the closet for the first time in a year rather than stacked in suitcases. My resume is updated and ready to be delivered. We have found a kitty we are hoping to adopt, a collective art studio in need of a ceramicist, and a potential worktrade job at a yoga studio. It feels as though things are just about to start falling into place. Meanwhile, all day snow has been falling all around us, constantly and wonderfully transforming the landscape into a winter wonderland.
We are warm and happy in our living room suite, soon to be expanding. And I have to say that, my goodness, I feel SO lucky! My family and friends are amazing people. I have a warm home in a beautiful location. I am eating delicious healthy home-cooked meals. I am going to marry the man I love. I may not have a lot of money in the bank. But I have the elements of life that are worth more than any amount of gold.