I am sitting in the office, as we call it. It's a tiny room at the top of the stairs. It has no door. It has an insane racist-seeming unfinished mural on one wall (it's this, except the previous owners were painting it right on the wall, and significant portions of the person are only outlined in pencil) that I have yet to paint over. I have plans, though, for this room. I want to paint the ceiling white and the walls a bright summery day blue. The room has no door, and I think I will like walking up the stairs and seeing that bright happy blue as I come up.
It's cloudy outside, so I have the lamp on. Geoff is in our bedroom taking his regular Sunday afternoon nap. The girls are both in their bedroom (they share a room) watching tv. They are both due for some serious cleaning today, whether that's a bath or a shower. After I get up from the desk, and/or after their show is over, I will go run a bath for one or both of them. They fight so often about so much - and so little - that I expect them to balk at doing things like this together, but the truth is that for as much as they irritate each other, they both seem to want to get along, and so if I do run a bath for only one of them, for instance, it is usually only a minute or two before the other one comes along, says she's changed her mind, and starts stripping off her clothes to get in.
I love both of those girls very much.
There are so many things about this house that I would change if I could. We closed on the house at the end of May, and then in June (thanks to funds from Geoff's family) we had the hardwood floors uncarpeted & refinished, and then at the end of June we actually moved in. As we house hunted, this house was one of my favorites, but there were at least 2 others available at the same time that I liked so much more. We ended up here, though, for financial reasons, and I struggle with how to feel about it: we have a house that's mostly quite nice; no, it's not ideal or even my own personal ideal (which is not the same as ideal for everyone - at least one of the other houses I liked was just about ideal as far as I'm concerned); but there is much about it we like a lot, and as time goes by, we will have time to make changes, and money to make changes or add things, and so anyway, the point of this ridiculous sentence is that I struggle to be content, not only in general, but also about this specific house which is our home now. It will still take an hour or two (at least) to clear out the rest of what's in the garage enough to allow us to park at least one (but prefereably two) cars in there. The living room is 95% painted, the entryway probably 50%, and the stairwell maybe 66.667%. Or so. The den is probably 85% painted. The primer for the office that I'll need to use to make sure to completely cover up this hideous and slightly offensive mural has been purchased.
This weekend I finally sewed a cafe curtain for the kitchen with fabric that I bought online months ago. I hung them up yesterday, and every time I walk into the kitchen since then, I can't help but notice them and the change they make in the room, and every time it makes me happy. I have decided that it is ok to be happy - and to show it! - about little things OR big things, even when other little things OR big things are not okay. Feeling the whole entire gamut of emotions on any given day, that's me.
I will take that, though. I spent a good amount of recent time quashing the extreme emotions on either end, working to numb myself so that I'd be able to keep putting one foot in front of the other without tripping and falling down or collapsing from exhaustion. It is better, now. (On occasion, I read about someone who has committed suicide, and while I was not close to that, I admit that I feel a sense of recognition now that I never felt before, and a renewed sense of amazement that no, I really did feel as bad as I felt - so bad that part of me has a hard time believing that that person was me.)
I'd like to knock out the wall between the living room and the den. Geoff has a grand piano, and with that in the living room, there is so little room left over. It's a small room. The den (intended as a first floor bedroom) is similarly small; without buying furniture that we mean to use specifically in that room (like a sectional, perhaps), neither room offers comfortable seating for all four of us in the family at once. The basement is "partially" finished, which really translates into mostly unfinished; a few months ago, over half of the "finished" drop ceiling fell down because it was only held up with little wires twisted around each other. (I don't believe the previous owners should have been doing-it-themselves quite as much as they did.) The girls have to share a bedroom which is not tiny but is weirdly shaped, and with a slanted ceiling. For now, Annabel sleeps on a mattress on the floor underneath Katie's loft bed. It seems to work for them, but it is not ideal. The dining room is fine but plain, and we don't have enough storage in it; there are always piles of stuff on chairs or on the table or even on the floor. We haven't yet found furniture that we'd like to have in there that we can afford to buy.
But the colors in the kitchen make me happy. The girls don't seem to care at all about their bed situation. I like the way the house looks so much more than I did when we moved in. It does not have everything I want, but it does have everything we need, plus some things that we don't. We have 3 toilets, our own washer & dryer, a good sized yard and a back deck where we ate supper in the warm weather.
My therapist, Ruth, who I have been seeing since last February, listens to me talk and watches me cry, and at the end of one recent session, she got up, pulled out a mirror, spent a good solid minute cleaning it off, and then brought it over to me. She held it up in front of me, and I looked in it, and half-smiled, and didn't know what she wanted to show me. She asked me if I saw what she saw, because what she saw was a beautiful woman, and she had a feeling that what she saw might not reflect (see what she did there?!) my own reality, and didn't want to say anything that discounted the truth of my own experience, but, she said, that whole session she had been sitting there, listening to me, watching me, and thinking, over and over, how beautiful I was - the sparkle in my eyes and the shape of my face and even the arch of my brows, and finally she just thought that even if I wasn't able to see it for myself, that I should know how she felt and what she saw.
She is often amazingly good at knowing what to say.
***(It reminded me of this entry, from 10 years ago:
"You're beautiful," Geoff said to me.
And I didn't argue with him, even though I normally do, because right then I was happy about the way I looked, and we smiled at our reflections and the reflections of each other, and then he started to walk toward the door.
"Wait," I said. "Look at me! I look cute right now, but it's going to go away."
"No, it won't," he said. "You just won't see it."
I don't know why those words rang so clearly in my head, but they did then, and they do now. I don't know why those words, and that memory, seem related to the memories of Thursday night, but they do. I guess it's just such a sweet relief to believe that the person I'm going to marry can see beauty when he looks at me, even on those days when the only things I see are red spots or red eyes or gray hair or dark roots. Even when I can't see it in myself.)
If I've come to peace with anything, it's that I will always be doing this - this trying to find peace, trying to find contentment, trying to value what's good and ignore what's not ideal, taking time to love my loved ones - and trying to make sure that one of those loved ones is me. I will never be done. I do hope for more than we have right now - mostly I hope for more financial stability and a satisfying career for me, but I admit that I'd also like to get a few more nice pieces of furniture and to drop more than a few pounds. But I am working hard to be patient, because I do feel so much better, so much better than before. It's true.