This morning is brilliant! brilliant! Sunshine is just now creeping in the form of golden glow across the treetops, and putting Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood into mauve silhouette. Gorgeous. Not a cloud anywhere. People who complain about the weather in Portland have obviously never lived in Eureka (where one finds the true meaning of fog and rain). The weather here is excellent (in this person’s opinion). Oh, and duh! I will never have to shovel the driveway before work. yeah!
Yesterday I painted my girl’s new room.
We’re living with The Uncles – my Uncle and his partner (who told me he prefers “uncle” to “aunt” which others call him – ha! 🙂 ). Anyway, bless their generous hearts, have welcomed us into their basement apartment while my partner and I are yet unemployed and we need someplace to live. We pay rent, which is a bit discounted for our area, and we get loads of bennies like fresh farm eggs every day – as many as we can eat, and free wireless Internet. My daughter is delighted to live here, and spends nearly every daylight hour trying to catch chickens, having battles of wills with the attack geese, feeding roses to the goats, feeding carrots to the blind horse ( whom she named Marmalade), climbing through the forest somewhere, and playing with the dogs.
I firmly believe that children need chores. And no, they aren’t entitled to get PAID for it. No one else in the household gets paid for their work. Allowances should be given only when parents are inclined to do so (i.e. the grownups are in control, not the kids). They need to work to contribute to family life because that is simply reality. The only way to get everything done that needs to get done is for everyone to pitch in. Shielding our children from this is denying them opportunities to learn about real life, and preventing them from learning about cooperation, and WHY people work: it isn’t because it’s what we most want to do…for most people it’s what we MUST do. Anyway, she works her little butt off here, and loves it. She weeds and weeds the vast landscaping, she collects eggs, waters plants. Yesterday she astonished me by dusting all the knick knacks in The Uncles’ spare bedroom – just because – and cleaning out the hen house for fun. It’s like she got into work mode and found the joy in making a place look better. I am really pleased.
There have been, however, some serious drawbacks about being here, and I guess my spiritual growth right now includes getting better at being social, loving my family no matter what, and being patient. I need to see their loving generosity in its true form, and stop wishing for things on my terms. Our fantasy right now is dreaming about the day when we can ski-daddle.
So, anyway, paint. The basement apartment has one bedroom. The Uncles felt that my girl could sleep upstairs in their spare bedroom. But I resisted because I can’t feel like a family if I sent my little one off to someone else’s house each night. My partner suggested that the laundry room was large enough to be a bedroom. They agreed.
The Uncles are packrats. Never throw anything away ever. The laundry room was packed full right up to the door, with a path wide enough to get the washer and dryer doors open. As I was cleaning out the room, I found phone books back for years and years. WHY would anyone keep their phone books? Approximately 37 packs of playing cards, all the original packing for most things they’ve purchased (the empty boxes for their cell phones, boxes for their satellite dish, box for one of the vacuum cleaners, boxes for kitchen appliances…). I worked for a full week moving their things (note my successful attempt at not calling it anything else!) into different storage rooms around the house.
Then I cleaned up all the dead bugs and crawly spiders and spider egg sacs and globs of webs (shuddddder…), and scrubbed and scrubbed till it was back to bare, ugly concrete wall. I applied a layer of primer, and two layers of laytex paint over that (and didn’t spend 2 cents on any paint supplies…found brushes, rollers – three sizes, cans of paint in many colours, stir sticks, can openers, spackle, etc etc. already in the house – go figure).
Yesterday all the base paint was dry, and I put up an eggshell blue background, took a Harry Potter break (that’s when my daughter and I stop whatever we’re doing and snuggle and read another chapter together) so the blue could dry, then painted daisies. Big, bright, sunny flowers around the walls. It’s actually a place that a kid might want to sleep now. We’ll give it a couple days to air out, then start putting her stuff in.