I woke up today to rain. Rain and a sore throat, neck, and shoulders. Not sure what I was doing in my sleep, but it feels like I must have been laying bricks or digging ditches. I was supposed to be at our little church doing music with Jeffrey, but he called in replacements and took Penelope anyway so I am home. Alone. Alone for the first time in way, way too long. I haven't been by myself in the new house yet and I like being able to discover more about it while it's quiet.
I can hear birds, crows and jays, caw-caw-ing from the tops of the very tall trees that circle the field in back of us. There are squirrels running across the drive and the mud of our unfinished backyard, desperate to store up food as the weather has suddenly turned colder. The birches and maples have already turned colors, but nothing brilliant or particularly beautiful this year. Last year was a good year for fall color, but this year, with early cold and early rains, we will be lucky to see more than shades of yellow and brown.
The rain falls steadily down, down, down. From my huge windows along the back of the house, the trees and field and mud and backyards of others are all shaded by the grey movements of the rain. It's the perfect day to stay home and sit in front of the fireplace. I have a really good book that I'm looking forward to reading, uninterrupted, for a couple of hours. What a luxury. If I was a cat I would yawn and stretch at the very thought.
While I go read and find lozenges for my throat, here are some long-promised photos of my new house. There is still no art or decor up anywhere but Pea's room. I want to know for sure where things belong before I start drilling holes every which way. And there are still almost no window coverings up as some have yet to be found, sewn, etc. and the rest are sitting at the bottom of the stairs waiting for us to have a free moment, something there hasn't been a lot of these past weeks. So it still looks a little empty and still starkly new, which I can't wait to change....but there is plenty of time. We're going to live here for at least 10 years so we have so much time.
There you are--finally. Pictures of the front hall, living, dining and kitchen areas. More will follow as projects are completed and as the upstairs begins to take shape.
I'm reading this right now and I'm enjoying it very much....
The last few days have been a blur....Thursday night at midnight I picked up friends from the airport, these friends . Jessica and I stayed up till 3:30, enjoying the experience of talking in person (our men had stumbled off to bed at varying degrees of earlier). We talk at least once a week, and for hours at a time, but in-person is relatively new for us. One day it won't be, but till then we just soak it up when we can. Texas is just too damn far away.
Friday morning I got up after 2 1/2 hours of sleep and took Jessica and Jordan over to her sister's house--it was Angie's birthday this week, and Jessica and I (and Todd) had been scheming up a surprise for a few weeks. For once, the sister ESP thing hadn't totally foiled our plan and Angie (and her kids) were surprised and overjoyed. It was fun to see Zion and Brennan's sleepy, morning faces begin to connect with the fact that their Tunney was really here.... Then I had to race back home to my family so Jeffrey could leave for work. I had let myself have some caffeine that morning so I managed to power through the rest of the day on almost no sleep--and it was a very full day, with lots of last-minute errands and tasks before Angie's surprise party the next day.
Tonight was the party, or rather, fiesta!. There were playful Spanish name tags for all (everything from Y Tu Mama Tambien to Tito Puente to Spanish swear words), TONS of plastic Mexican decorations straight from the streets of San Antonio (thanks to Jess), fajitas grilled by Jordan and it somehow didn't rain (miracle), mariachi music, and there was so much food and drink and so many people (half of them could have been from the neighborhood for all I knew) crammed into our house that I kept escaping to the back deck so I could breathe. Have I mentioned my crowd anxiety? There are very few people I would throw a huge, stranger-filled party for and Angie is one of the lucky ones. I didn't really take pictures, there was way too much going on, but trust me when I say that I'm so glad I did this for Angie and it's my last huge party for at least another year. And I'm pretty impressed that Jeffrey and I were able to pull this off only two weeks after moving.
Also, my friend Kristen made something called Cowboy Caviar, which sounds absolutely terrible and brings to mind all sorts of horrifying things like Prairie Oysters. But it's actually amazingly good and I'll try and post the recipe later.
I'm exhausted and I've got a lot on my mind all of a sudden. And tomorrow's another big day for us....
Posted by Annagrace at 9:14 PM
While I keep you in suspense about the house visuals (and now I'm scared, because the suspense is sure to make you expect something far bigger and grander than I will be able to reveal....) here are some recent photos of Penelo-pea. Imagine this face screaming and you will experience a good part of my today.
Posted by Annagrace at 11:53 PM
More painting tonight--so very close to having the bottom floor of this house feeling like home. The downstairs bathroom is now finished, there's just a little more to do on the kitchen, and the living room would be completely touched-up and done if it wasn't for the idiots (or whoever) working at Lowe's the other day, who apparently weren't paying attention to the color of paint I asked for. I was trying to work really fast tonight, as I'm starting to see my way out of all the work of the past few weeks, and didn't realize their mistake until I'd already "fixed" one window and one corner seam. And I totally needed one MORE place to go tomorrow. Whatever.
Still no pics as I'm looking for a cable to connect the camera and download all my recent photos....you know how this living out of boxes thing goes..... I promise, promise they will be up soon.
I took a HUGE load to Goodwill today, and there's more to get rid of. I LOVE getting rid of stuff--you have no idea just how much. Somehow in three years of living in one place, a place with lots and lots of huge closets and storage spaces (kind of made up for the tiny actual living space, kind of) we were able to ignore just how much STUFF was packing in around us. And when we'd moved in there (three years ago this Thanksgiving) we'd given away what felt like a ton of stuff. So one week ago Jeffrey and I were scratching our heads and wondering what the hell had happened. It must have been those damn closets--ours was especially nice and especially large (oh, the browser hits I will get....) We now have what I would call "pretty good closets". Not as large (especially the master) but plenty of room for healthy amounts of storage. We do, however, have a huge pantry instead and an enormous garage. So we will still need to hold ourselves in check.
Off to bed. More work to be done tomorrow--cords to locate, photos to post, painting to finish (trusting that Lowe's has a better day), groceries to purchase, more stuff to haul out to Goodwill, boxes to empty.... and a friend to see. And coffee, I'm sure.
Posted by Annagrace at 9:48 AM
I'm not dead, though I feel pretty near to it. Our lovely local cable provider only now has decided that our address actually exists, which is brilliant considering we've been sleeping here for a week and we've been able to locate the address on Google Maps for months. New construction is not all fun and games, apparently.
I do not like moving, but I love, love, love our new house. It's beautiful and big enough and there are so many windows with views of trees and sky.... And we're finally in a real neighborhood. Pea and I go on walks at least twice a day, and then there's our little dead-end private street for her to run up and down. She likes to take her lawnmower with her, and she's gotten very attached to a pair of Hello Kitty sunglasses which she handles like any adult, even chewing on them while thinking. (When she laughs in them, though, with her head thrown back and to the side as she does, it's rather Stevie Wonder....)
I'm tired. There is much to catch up, if I could only begin to remember where to begin. We moved most of our stuff last weekend, while painting our new living room, hall, dining, kitchen, and Pea's bedroom. We could NOT have done without the amazing help from my family and our friends Todd and Angie. This week I've been working on painting the downstairs bath and opening and unpacking boxes, while helping Pea adjust to her new surroundings.
This weekend we are moving the final things and cleaning our old house top to bottom. We have high standards for how we leave a place, but if it wasn't for the wonderful people we've rented from the last three years I wouldn't care so much this time. I'm just so damn tired. Tomorrow we'll finish steam cleaning the carpets, give it a final going over and hopefully be done.
Can't wait to show you pictures but it will have to wait till tomorrow--it's already 9pm and I need to do some final touch-ups on the bathroom paint so I can consider it done and pull off the tape. I have some super secret goings-on this week (I'll tell you after) and my just-moved-into house needs to be ready....
I'm so, so, so tired.
I love waking up in this house....there is beautiful light and nice shadows.
Posted by Annagrace at 8:59 PM
She died Thursday. 88 years old--just shy of 89, really. So many wonderful, beautiful things written. The last few months I have read several and loved them all. Here is the AP story, here are thoughts from someone who knew her, and here is a full biography. I'm still in the midst of packing and craziness (I'll call you, Cristina, I will I will....) but I had to give her mention here, even briefly. She wrote with so much intelligence, grace, humor and wonder and never shied from writing about difficult things like pain, love, faith and relationship. Some of her poetry is incredibly beautiful.
"You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children."
Posted by Annagrace at 4:46 PM
Packing. With a toddler. Not simple. Not fun. Takes probably 5x longer to do everything.
I'm in this weird limbo of walk-through dates, closing info, construction jargon, and promises to vacate our current premises (cleanly and beautifully, like we always do) by date "X". My friend Karen has advised me to learn the phrase "Mess is my friend", since that will be my life for the next few weeks, but I don't like that phrase. I prefer the daydreams of everything I was capable of pre-child. And still the mess builds. I have control issues about mess and chaos. I'm trying to not take them out on Pea. And Jeffrey.
Funniest story I've heard in a long, long time? I was hanging out with my sister and two of her kids (she's a nanny) a couple of weeks ago, when one of them suddenly walks upstairs from the basement playroom. He's 4 or 5, I think, and wearing a policeman motorcycle helmet and enormous boxing gloves. "Tippy!" he says. "I'm wearing my punching mittens!"
Posted by Annagrace at 10:05 AM
Just back from 9 wonderful days at the sea. Lovely weather, great food, lots of coffee and chocolate, and my mother, sister, and brother also in attendance. The little house was VERY full and Pea had such a good time. Until she didn't. Which is why we came home a day early.
Spent today restocking groceries, unpacking, doing laundry, buying a refrigerator for the new house, and dealing with a very emotional 16 month-old going on 7 yrs.
This week? Pack, pack, pack. Our house should be done this week and final papers will be signed soon. And then it will be paint, paint, paint, and move, move, move.
Busy month ahead of us. Busy last couple weeks. I'll try to catch up with photos, at the very least, in the next couple of days.
Posted by Annagrace at 9:47 PM