Category Archives: appliances

Homestead

Standard
homestead-362896_1920

Photo by Bluesnap via Pixabay

Home is where the heart is. And your clothes and books and all the other stuff that represents your life. It’s the place you display your memories and photos of loved ones. It has artwork and projects and pictures of your children at every age. It’s also where your spouse might live and where your children might have grown and flown the nest. Home can be a house, or an apartment or any place you feel safe to lay your head. Home is the people in it and not the structure itself. It is the nest that you feather, your peaceful oasis in the busyness of the world. Dorothy, at the end of her adventures in The Wizard of Oz, reminded us that there is no place like it. Yes, a home is definitely one’s castle.

However, the thing about a home is that you have to keep it up or it will fall around you without a moment’s notice. The past 6 months our aging home has protested some of its aging elements. The oil tank decided it had had enough and leaked oil as it brought in water. The water tank also decided enough was enough and just leaked. The old furnace we had replaced two years ago had left years of residue along the walls of the house and a fine layer of black dust over everything. The chimney leak finally was resolved so we were able to look to the other things in need. So a home, like a heart, demands care and attention.

After much planning (and after upgrading the aforementioned tanks) our summer staycation took the form of the interior house finally getting painted. We chose a bright, clean white color to offset all of those picture frames, masks and other mementos we have collected over the years that have sat on our walls and collected that same fine dark dust. Over two days we slowly removed all of those items, each one a memory we mused over and had a toast to and there were some things we couldn’t ever remember acquiring. With everything off the walls and furniture moved out of the way, our small abode looked quite a bit larger. It was time for the painter to do his magic.

There is no doubt that painting an entire house is a job best left to the professionals. Although our cat protested to being locked in a bedroom with food and litter, he was no doubt relieved not to be in the way of a man with a ladder, paint brushes and a definite mission. The project took more than a week during which time we marveled daily how incredible the house looked as each wall emerged from its formerly dingy and dark demeanor. Finally the last of the plastic coverings and paint cans were removed and it was our turn to put the house back together again.

homestead-149897_1280The one thing about doing any upgrade in your house is the unexpected things that get uncovered along the way. The dust and dirt under the rugs that had been rolled up and put out of the way had harbored the equivalent of an entire child’s sandbox. They had to be put out to sit in the sun and shaken until the accumulated dirt fell away. Wood floor cleaning was the next order of business as was hand cleaning all of the glass on the picture frames which had their own layers of black soot. It was the perfect opportunity to store some of those items that had sat on every available surface away and minimize the number of things hung on the wall so that we could enjoy our beautifully fresh new walls.

But as often happens, one change usually leads to another. My husband took the bathroom cabinet doors out to paint and the bathroom looks fresher now.  Closets and shoes were picked through and things discarded. The garage got a clean out. Even the windfall under the apple tree was cleared away. And now almost 3 weeks later we are significantly lighter and cleaner. The house feels as though it has taken a huge cleansing breath and let it go but of course it was really us.

window-1558890_1920

Photo by Dimitrisvetsikos1969 via Pixabay

Change and letting go are not easy things to encounter. As humans we feel more comfort in familiar things and it’s easier to stay the same then to make the change. But once we do make that shift we can feel it in our bodies and minds. This upgrade has definitely lifted our spirits and cleansed our souls. Coming into the house feels like a different space now although just a month ago it was the beloved albeit dingy home we gratefully ended our day in. But showing love to our environment means showing ourselves the love. It’s taken me a long time to accept that change is good but I have to be the one to initiate it. Our home most certainly agrees with me there.

 

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Ode to a Refrigerator

Standard
Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Ode to a Refrigerator

Our fridge finally died. Not all at once but slowly as if leaving us was something it was reluctant to do. One day the bread in the freezer was no longer frozen. The milk went bad long before it’s time. The rattle and loud hum of its motor could no longer be ignored. This refrigerator had been with us for 23 years. It was the first one we bought for this our first house. It’s the only appliance in all of those years that has not been changed. It could be now be called a plain old outdated fridge but when we bought it, it was shiny and new. As the years passed, this fridge became somewhat of a monument as it amassed our colorful family history on its doors.

It started with the magnets. We collected them from places we had visited or from friends who visited us from far off places and brought us a tiny piece of art from their part of the world. Over the years those magnets began to hold many things. First it was bills or appointment reminders but soon pictures began to appear under those little gems. The initial photos were of our children. Baby pictures, toddler poses. First grade and school photos, little league team shots. Halloween costume pictures, family Christmas cards. The gallery continued to grow as we added school pictures of nieces, nephews and cousins. Photos and postcards from trips, school events, family outings. BBQ’s, proms, weddings. Pictures of loved ones no longer with us. Graduation photos.

The refrigerator held this historical account of our family history steadfastly for many years. It held awards and letters. It held drawings and cards. It had times when it was somewhat empty and other times when it was full to bursting. It held the humble evening meal or the extravagant birthday party cake. Today on Cinco de Mayo, I reflect on how much guacamole and Pacificos that good fridge chilled. The many feasts and holiday meals it held in its spacious hold. It had been opened and pulled at a thousand times by tiny hands that became grown up hands and adult hands that now have age spots and wrinkles. All of that lively scenery on the surface took our eyes away from the rough and peeling handles. It detracted from the seal that was not quite sealing anymore. Finally we had to admit that this humble appliance had lasted far beyond what had been expected of it. People gasp in surprise when we tell them how long this fridge has lasted. It was time to purchase a new refrigerator.

The delivery day approached and we knew we had to remove the 23 years of history attached to that fridge. As we took down each magnet and each photo we paused to laugh or remember that moment captured in time. It was like a ritual and much like a prayer. We could not do it all in one day because the memories that were evoked were almost overwhelming. We had to savor them.

Some photos had been there so long they had to be peeled off the surface. But finally we were done. There was a barrenness left from all of those memories. There were random dark outlines like photo negatives that reflected the echoes of times past. In an effort to perhaps prove that he was not done yet, the fridge began his final days with an energy surge. The ice in the freezer was frozen again. Drinks were cold, vegetables were crisp. But we knew he had gone above and beyond his duties and now it was his turn to rest.

We have a shiny new fridge now. It stands proud in its strength and its youth. But it doesn’t hold memories close like our old fridge did. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe in the end, a fridge is just a tool to make our lives comfortable and our food safe. Maybe it’s not right to romanticize a large inanimate object. But therein lies the magic. All of our photos and bits and pieces of living brought that refrigerator to life or the closest it would ever get to being alive. And that is a beautiful thing.

Thank you, dear friend. Rest now. Your work is done.