Patience and Grace

This week is I have been trying and failing at patience.  The carpenter and the heat pump installers are …almost… done.  Everything was theoretically going to be done by today, and now we are looking at Friday instead.  But, here are some of the beautiful results.

French Doors to PatioThis is not the best photo ever, but our French doors from the kitchen to the deck are installed–we just need still to get the keyed entry put in, since this will be our regular entry door.  It was a cloudy day today when I took the picture, but this is a south facing window, and brings a lot of light into the house, and links us to the back yard.

The door on the right is the one that opens, pivoting from the center–in our research we learned that it is more energy efficient to have just one side moveable, and we can swing it totally around to rest on the other side, with a sliding screen for those days we want a breeze.  It will also give us a 32″ wide pathway directly into the kitchen, for wheelchair access, when we install a ramp up to the deck.  In permaculture design they call it “stacking functions,” when one item fulfills multiple functions–so this one has entry and exit, beauty, access, energy efficiency, light, ventilation, and the cats will likely be sitting there looking out at the back yard, too.

French Doors to Office

We also installed French doors from the hallway to the office–once again, for access and for light.  The opening they create will provide a better turning radius for a wheelchair to get into the bathroom across the hall, and if either of us do ever need to use a wheelchair ourselves, the office can be converted to an accessible bedroom. Saturday, when we met with the carpenter, the bottom of the doors were not aligned when closed–but he fixed them so they align perfectly now.

 

 

Finally, here is one heat pump, sitting up in the corner of the back bedroom. Two are installed, and a lot of the wiring is finished, but they still have two more units to install inside, plus the outside unit.  You can’t really see it here, but the walls around the window have also been spackled and painted where they were messed up from the window installation.Heat pump in back bedroom

And if you are still reading all the way down, today our realtor did a second showing with a couple that had seen our old house last Friday.  This is the other place where patience is a challenge.  Now that the house is on the market, and we’ve de-cluttered and cleaned, and our realtor hosted an open house, all we can really do is wait.  But it felt very hopeful to hear the level of interest and inspection that they were engaged in.

To be in this process is such a vulnerable transition.  Perhaps anyone who had done a big move knows this feeling. So much is at stake, and this time of year isn’t the best for selling a house, but it is the time of year in which our own journey has unfolded. So all we can do is enter the process as fully as we can, do what we can do, and then wait.  It is very hard to have patience for all of these processes to unfold.  After feeling a lot of anxiety earlier in the day, for some inexplicable reason, I relaxed as we were driving home after visiting the new house.  I entered a space of trust in the unfolding of the universe.  Is that grace?

 

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What We Leave

Our current home is now officially on the market.  This beautiful acre of trees that has been such a wonderful place for us for the last ten years.  I have so many powerful memories in this backyard.  The morning songs of the cardinals, the four baby chipmunks who came out to play one afternoon and let me sit near them and even film their antics. The many deer who wandered through. The chickadee I held in my hands. The mornings of prayer in the screen tent, as the sun began to peek out through the spruce trees.  The golden slug crawling through the grass on its way to a mushroom. The turkeys, the neighbor’s chickens, the porcupine.

This place has been such a blessing for me, and for us.  We’ve planted daffodils and violets and day lilies and many other perennial flowers.  We’ve planted forsythia bushes, and a small hemlock tree to stand alongside the two larger hemlocks. We’ve planted raspberries and blueberries, and eaten wild strawberries that came up on their own. Of course, all that is hiding now, under a blanket of snow, but we included spring, summer and fall photos in our listing, so folks could see the loveliness of its other seasons.

We still have a couple of days before there will be any showings.  Time to do more de-cluttering and cleaning, so others might be able imagine their own lives here.  I hope that someone will come along, really soon, who will want to love this place and care for it, and be cared for by it, as we have.

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Chipmunk babies

They fixed it.

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After my complaints about the poor job on the doorway flooring, the lead carpenter came out yesterday morning and re-did the doorway… looks good this time.  We decided not to sand and refinish all the floors so we’ll have to wait for the natural colors to catch up with each other, but the floor boards flow from one room to the other as they should.

Hurray for speaking up.  (And thanks for all the moral support from commenters!)

Cranky

I am feeling cranky today.  After some good beginnings with our carpenter and his crew, yesterday we went to the house, and were shocked by some very poor work on the wood floor being done to fill in where the doors were enlarged.  Cracks, a big cut joint between several boards right in the middle of the door.  I didn’t take a picture of that.  But the other day I had taken a picture of a few other un-finishings. Like this mark over the windows that were installed–a deep scratched groove in the drywall.  There are three such marks below and two above.

Scratch DSC02947We don’t have any touch up paint for this room’s color (the sellers left some paint cans from other rooms in the basement.)  So does this mean, really, that we’ll have to repaint the entire room?

There was also a mistake in the placement of a grab bar in the bathroom, and while it can be moved, the place from which it will be removed will now be marred, and the bathroom wall is either wallpaper or a sponge-spackled paint finish that we don’t have the ability to duplicate.

When I contract with someone to do work that we cannot do ourselves, it creates in me a sense of vulnerability.  When things come up, I ask myself all sorts of self-doubting questions: Am I being too picky?  Should I have said more? What can we reasonably expect? Can we assume they’ll finish up the work nicely, or do we have to raise the issues as we notice them? Should I have held up our second payment check to make sure these issues were dealt with? (We are doing the work in three stages, so it didn’t seem unreasonable to make a second installment before everything was totally done on this stage–But?)

I did call the carpenter shortly after we noticed the poor job on the flooring–this was being done by a member of his crew–and he interrupted the work and has said he will fix the issues we raised.

I hate to be in the mode of criticizing other people’s work. But I do expect people to do a good job. This is only a small “easy” job for them apparently, but it is the home we hope to live in for a very long time. I want to look at the improvements we made, and feel happy about how beautiful they look.

I was thinking about all of this this morning, and trying to figure out how to get into a better mood.  I remembered some advice that Sarah Susanka wrote:  “Every situation contains within it the food and fertilizer for our flourishing, but the only way we can find this out is by being obedient to each set of circumstances that present themselves–to fully engage whatever arises to the best of our ability and to process any reactions and judgments as they come up, without editing or suppressing anything.”

She went on to describe her discomfort with situations of confrontation, how she hesitated to share her direct feelings for fear of angering someone else.  How important it was for her to begin to notice that pattern and uncover what came up in her, so she could learn to be direct–to deal with the difficult and uncomfortable as it arose.  Yep.  That resonates.

So I blog to notice what comes up for me, to give it some attention–to be able to say, I am afraid to demand of others the level of perfection that I demand for myself. And I am afraid to confront others about their mistakes.  I don’t want to make anyone angry or uncomfortable.  But I do have it within me to confront–if I can get through the resistance to having to do it, the wish to avoid it. It wasn’t what I wanted to have on my plate yesterday or today, but there it was. Here it is.

Little Beautiful Changes

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The new windows!

The carpenters are busy at our new house, creating some beautiful changes.  One has been to create a double large window in the back bedroom, where there was only one small window before.

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Before

It is a balancing act for green housing, because any hole in the envelope is a hole in the envelope–but these are on the south side of the house, and will let it a lot of light, and connection to the yard.

It made an immediate difference!  This will be my room where I also hope to put a small desk for writing.  My files will be in the basement, but I wanted to write where there was a lot of sunshine. Today I was looking for a sunny spot in our current home, to read a little for my sermon this week, but a sunny spot was hard to find… I am imagining how nice it will be to sit in the sunshine of these new windows.

I am so glad that in our search for greener housing, I learned how important it was to me that there be beauty in my home. Perhaps otherwise it would have felt too extravagant to include these windows in our plans for making the house our own.

Here is how it looks on the outside, before and after.
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Prayer to Mother Earth

Earth_high_def_1024Mother Earth, we human beings have destroyed so much. You would be justified in wiping us off your body. But still–we can sing, and write poems to celebrate your beauty. We are your children, we are so intricately made. There are those among us who are heroes of love and compassion. How creative are the artists, and the stories we humans tell! Let us find a way to live into the future. Help us to grow into our maturity as a species, and not to destroy ourselves and so many others of your children.

Still, if you are on a deeper unfolding journey, of which we know nothing, I yield to this flow of your own maturing. I give thanks to you for being able to witness your beauty and your mystery. You, lovely ocean world, you, blue and green and gold and white sphere full of life.  And always–life and death and more life again. I stand in awe to be included in such a world.