Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Summer Retrospective

(Here are pictures of my old rusty shed and the newly painted shed that has replaced it. For more, use my Photobucket link [above right] and go to the Backyard Renovation 2008 album.)

The entire month of August has passed without me making a single blog entry. Labor Day, the "official" end to the summer season (calendars and equinoxes notwithstanding) has come and gone and is a fast-fading memory. I'm looking ahead to the fall and seeing all the work that lies before me but before I do that, I want to take a look at all the work I've accomplished during the summer. And boy, do I mean work.

In my earlier posts I mentioned the home improvement projects that were on the To-Do list for the summer, namely a new fence, a new shed, and refinishing the floor in my daughter's room. In addition there were a few other projects that popped up along that way, such as creating a memorial garden to commemorate my ancestors, digging up and giving away my excess garden plants to fellow Freecyclers, and relocating my out-of-season clothes and performance costumes into the attic storage area. I am happy to report that all these and more were completed. Unfortunately my entire summer, three solid months from early June to Labor Day, was tied up in these projects. I'm not complaining but I have to say I am tired...dog tired...but fulfilled and very well tanned.

The tasks I accomplished were, in my opinion, nothing less than Herculean considering I had to do them all by myself. The larger aspects of the work were accomplished by others (the fence replaced and old shed removed by my husband and son, the new shed installation and floor refinishing done by contractors). But we all know that the bulk of the work, the work that can grind you into a sweaty, pulpy mess by the end of the day is the little stuff. Removing the contents of the old shed and then replacing it all in the new shed. Giving the shed two coats of paint with a hand brush because a roller could not be used. Weeding, raking and cleaning up the yard. Moving mountains of dirt. Uprooting plants. Yada yada yada. Well, folks, that's what I did for three solid months. In the midst of it all I also had to complete the daily tasks necessary for maintaining a household such as laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning. etc.

Why did I do it all myself? Frankly because no one else was around. My husband and son were at work all day and my daughter was away most of the summer. Besides, doing it all myself meant I got to do it all my way. I'm an organizational maven and I like to have things organized in a common sense, aesthetically pleasing manner that will allow me to have easy access to them. Accomplishing that takes time, time that I am more than ready and willing to spend, time that my family would not willingly give me. Involving them meant dealing with differing opinions on how things should be done and power struggles I didn't want to engage in. I chose to do things slowly and deliberately, in a meditative sort of way. It was a win-win situation for me. I got to organize things as I saw fit, in my own good time. My family was spared the extra work involved and I was spared from hearing them whine and grouse about having to do anything after work hours.

When you are in the midst of a large, ongoing project, you can lose sight of the amount of progress you're making, little by little, every day. I call those large projects elephants. Those bits of progress are small nibbles, eating away at the elephant. That's what I was doing...eating the elephant. Imagine my surprise last week when I looked around at my yard and realized that the only thing left of that elephant was table scraps. I had finally eaten the elephant and it caught me by surprise. My shed was painted and repopulated, my garden was weeded and raked, my memorial garden was complete, my screenhouse was nearly empty and I could actually sit on a bench inside of it that had been buried under bicycles and garden hoses. What a rush!

Now what?

Like I said at the beginning, I'm looking ahead to the fall and seeing all the work that lies before me. Soon my annuals will start to wither, my perennials will go dormant. I'll have to bring in my houseplants and "winterize" my garden. There's my daughter's Sweet 16 to organize, apple pies to be baked, Christmas cards to be made and gifts to be crafted. This doesn't even begin to count the family and friends who will call upon me to assist them in one way or another or the unexpected projects that will pop up along the way. The list goes on and on and on... Geez, I'm tired already.

Bring it on!

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and All Ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

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