Friday, March 21, 2008

You're Beautiful When You're Messy

St. Paul, you are an amazing city. I try to hate you in the snow, but you're so beautiful - I can't stay mad at you...

Yes, it's snowed again. At least 2", with 2" more to come today. Happy Good Friday!

At some point I'm sure Gerry will take the kids sledding (having them at an age where they can basically do the heavy lifting themselves, and we just have to drive there and watch them is phenomenal) and I'll stay home and get some pattern writing stuff out of the way and maybe I'll even knit.

And then - drumroll - tonight we're actually going to try to ATTEND SERVICES at our temple. Finally. It's only taken months of membership.

We've meant to go for quite a while, but laziness more than anything else has held us back. It's true, I'm away many Friday nights, but I'm also HERE often.

Yes, Gerry's in tremendous pain at the end of most days - but somehow we manage to get out to dinner every now and then, so we should be able to get to services.

Besides, it will be a wonderful thing for the kids to see that Gerry and I actually KNOW the services - know the words and the tunes - and that will encourage them to become more active. Maybe.

I have a new routine where I walk Max a mile to school on non-messy days;
  • It's good for him (he burns off energy that needs to go somewhere!)
  • It's good for me (I get a 2 mile walk out of the deal)
  • It's good for Atticus (he's the happiest dog in the world when he's out for a walk.)
I ran into a few friends on the way home from walking Max to school and we had the world's longest casual chat over free coffee at Kowalski's. It's so wonderful to know folks in the neighborhood - and even better to just run into someone and have an impromptu chat!

So they'll be over to dinner this weekend - yay! It's good to have folks over, and gives Gerry a chance to see friends in a comfortable setting.

Speaking of friends, I'll be going to see Jane Eyre at the Guthrie this weekend with a friend and we're taking our daughters! (Thank you, Flan!)

I hope Hannah likes it - it's a wonderful story - and we've got good seats! They're papering the house as reservations are down due to the holiday weekend, so we're very lucky.

This will be my first time at the Guthrie (high time!) so I'll be attending two different kinds of 'services' this weekend.

I've starting putting together the piles of essays I've been writing over the past year - threading them on some kind of narrative cord (silk or polyester?) - and these will, with luck, turn into a book that I'm self publishing late this summer.

It's about our last year here in St. Paul, dealing with the stuff that's come across our path (both good and bad) and I hope I'm able to portray the deep wonder, gratitude and apprehension that's marked every day in this wild year.

My tentative title for the book makes me cringe a little, but I'm sticking to it. Knit with Courage, Live with Hope. Love also makes me cringe a little - often with something that's felt deep in the soul there's a little bit of squirm factor.

No matter what title is chosen, folks will both love and hate it, so I figure I should pick one that sums the year up succinctly. (Knit, Pray, Love was taken...)

I think I'm happiest with paint spattered on various parts of my body, a roller in my hand and a finished wall in front of me. We did a little moving of walls in the basement (had to move a drain) and in so doing we created a room for me to use as an office. So before I went to NY I painted it, and yesterday Gerry did touch up on all the holidays (light, unpainted spots) and then came the main event.

-:] The Epoxy Floor [:-

I'm more excited about this than I've been about almost anything this year. Which is a little sad, but it IS a nice floor...

We bought a kit at Menards with paint, epoxy activator, and colored chips to toss onto the wet paint for a terrazzo look. Actually, it's a 1950's kitchen look, but we love it!

I can't show you the actual basement yet, because it has to dry for 24 hours before we can walk on it (so it should be ready at 8:00 pm EDT) But here's the landing of the stairs.

Yes, I know the paint is for the basement, but as I painted myself over to the stairs I realized how BAD they looked, and I had enough left over so I just painted the steps, too. Note to self: Leaning over and paining the rises on stairs upside down is hard.

I actually painted myself right out the side door, then I left the paint, roller and empty can at the side of the house. And there they stayed all night. Evidently I was experiencing a lack of follow through...

The tossing of the chips (we used both grey blend and green blend) was very festive, rather like saying "Bon Voyage!" to folks on the dock as the Queen Mary pulls out. Or the Titanic. Let's hope not...

Gerry said he felt "like a fairy" as he tossed his dust around. My husband, some wacky fairy duster.

Working on the floor with Gerry was so wonderful - it feels like FOREVER since we've done something like this together, and he's feeling well enough that painting the edges around the floor was right up his alley. He knew he'd suffer today - and he IS suffering - but it's something he really wanted to do.

He'd had a plan to put a ceiling up, and I tacitly approved. It was something he felt he had to do - really WANTED to do - and to stop him felt like taking Max's bionicles away. So off Gerry went to Menards to buy a "system" to put up a ceiling, and I bit my tongue. Doesn't Cokie Roberts say you can tell a good marriage from the bite marks on the tongue?

Weeks passed, He'd put time in on it, then he'd suffer for days. It became clear that this wasn't a good idea, but it was hard to actually say this to him. The former Gerry would have had the ceiling up in a weekend. Present Gerry was having a very hard time.

Part of me wonders if he was dragging his feet because he's a procrastinator (always has been...) or if he was going slow because on some level it was beyond his current ability and he didn't want to face that fact.

We'll never know because I made an executive decision and relieved him of the dilemma. We returned all of the unused ceiling stuff (95% of it) to Menards where we bought the aforementioned epoxy basement floor paint. A small heartbreak.

I'm hoping the epoxy floor will make up for it. Doesn't an epoxy floor make everything better?

Gerry's lost so much this year, the last thing I want him to lose is his sense of self - or self-respect.


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posted by Annie at


Anonymous mwknitter said...

Jane Eyre - what a great mother daughter experience! I remember reading it when I was about Hannah's age & loving it. And there is nothing that can compete with live performance - movies are nice but give me a play any day. Our big extravagance the last couple of years has been subscriptions to the Lyric Opera. Next year we are really splurging ^ getting a subscription for the entire 8 opera season with main floor seats. I'm so excited! I am a real neophyte about opera but it combines the excitement of a live performance with music & singing! What could be better? I'm surprised you're only getting 4" of snow in the Twin Cities. The Chicago area is expected to get 7-9" (depending on how close to the Wisconsin line one is). I love winter - but enough already!

March 21, 2008 12:16 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

The title of the book is perfect

March 21, 2008 12:19 PM  
Blogger Liz R. said...

I'm so happy that you and your family are enjoying a peaceful spring. (I use the term "spring" lightly because of the snow!)

How is Gerry feeling?? Is he able to do most of what he wants to do everyday? I'm chronically ill and it's taken years for me to come to grips with the fact that I just have to take each day as it is, no matter what I can or can't do. I was OCD to the core and the transition to my new self was awful. In retrospect, I think my illness was a gift; I'm much calmer and more appreciative of what I can do instead of dwelling on what I can't. I focus on the small and wonderful things that each day brings me. My husband and kids like me better this way, too!

Lots of love, Liz R

March 21, 2008 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Paula said...

Looking forward to the book, and certain you'll love the Guthrie

Down south of the river, we experienced thunder snow - phenomenon associated with HUGE dumps of snow - I got the paper off the steps this a.m. at 6:15 - left the house at 7:20 with 3 new inches of snow having fallen in the hour -we topped out at 8 inches - enough now.

March 21, 2008 4:46 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I followed your Knit/Courage Live/Hope ad from Ravelry. Not a frequent reader but wow, I love this post. Thanks for your easy to read style - beautiful pictures (yes, even of the floor) - thoughtful perspectives. I only know a tiny pinch of your story(ies). Prayers of healing and comfort for your husband and the same for you and your family. Stay toasty up there and enjoy the Guthrie. Going to things like that in places like that always puts a lump in my throat from the greatness of the experience. Have a wonderful time. :)

March 21, 2008 9:33 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

Oh gee, Annie, my mother put a floor like that down in her kitchen in the late 50s early 60s. Hers was white with red, brown, gold and maybe another color flakes. You would have liked her - she wood grained her baseboard radiators and hung unsized burlap from the farm supply store on the living room walls; made my sister's peau d' soir wedding dress and my unbleached muslin one; rook in boarders from the Veteran's Hospital to keep a roof over our heads... Spunky - like you!

Love the title for the book - I'll be reading :)

hugs to you all - have a good holiday.

March 22, 2008 6:15 PM  
Blogger Milly said...

Sounds like things are getting back to normal at home.

March 22, 2008 7:01 PM  
Blogger DeltaDawn said...

Ooooooh - pretty blue epoxy floor. Glad you got to do it together - makes it that much more bettah.

March 23, 2008 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm constantly amazed by your grace when discussing such intimately personal things such as your husband and beautiful children.

I wish you all peace.

March 24, 2008 7:22 AM  

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