We’ve been in the house six weeks now.  After initially feverishly emptying moving boxes for three days, I slowed to a snail’s pace. Tired and overwhelmed by where am I going to put all this stuff? my movements have been slow as ice-cold molasses for days upon days now. Seems silly given that I’ve moved so many times!  I’ve lost count of the moments where I threw my hands up swearing to throw it all out into the street for the next trash pickup.

Yes indeed.  My emotions have been vacillating wildly from “Ah, this is going to work just beautifully” to “How can I love this money pit of a house?” Rocket-man has remained fairly steady with his stream of “No’s.” NO, we cannot afford painters (every room needs painted!). NO, we aren’t going to re-tile the kitchen floor, nor install ceiling fans or even get a new oven. NO to a new toilet too….and NO, we can’t get window treatments for all the windows for awhile.

Sigh.  The list of No’s is long indeed.  Though it’ll never shine as beautifully as our STILL UNSOLD middle-earth abode, we’ve got a lot to do to bring this house up to our standards.  Still, even as I roll my eyes heavenward at the stream of No’s, I am ever-grateful for this roof over my head.  I made sure to tell my hard-working husband too.  He sighs in agreement but corrects me:  “Baby-doll….As much as it pains me to say right now, you’ve got not one but two roofs to be grateful for.”

Ah yes….there is that!  Though stressed (and stretched) over this second mortgage, I cannot help but laugh.

The sounds of a wood-chipper just outside my window is driving The Poodle mad.  A crew has begun clearing the yard from twenty-four years of landscaping, now hopelessly out-of-control and over-grown.  I’ve given up trying to calm The Poodle as we’ve had, it seems, a non-stop stream of workers in the house since we’ve moved in.  We’ve replaced the gas cook-top (the prior one, being the original from 1994, was a thoroughly disgusting eyesore.)  We’ve also had to replace the refrigerator and the dishwasher.  We thought we could breathe for a spell until we found out the dryer wasn’t venting to the outside.  How this was not picked up by the home inspector is beyond our comprehension!  I had no idea that each year some 15,500 fires in homes are due to dryer lint build-up.  Nor the interesting factoid that lint is the Boy Scouts go-to substance for fire-starting!    Naturally we had to address the problem straight-away and though we are down another $1,000 (along with three large cut-outs into the ceiling) I can sleep better knowing that a mountain of dryer lint has been cleared from the basement ceiling!

Perhaps I should donate this pile of lint pulled from my basement ceiling to the Boy Scouts!

And, though we sort-of expected it, the next item to go on the fritz was the hot water heater.  It lost all control last week after twenty-four years of service.  Let’s just say there is nothing like a blistering hot shower to get one’s attention.  So, that’s been replaced too.  Our shiny new water tank was installed Saturday; it took the guys well over five hours to finish the job.  Needless-to-say, The Poodle was beside himself.

Through the incessant barking, I thought of the folks in Texas, Florida, and around the world.  And again, I silently counted my blessings galore.

I’ve still got some boxes to unpack but it’s all entirely manageable now.  Despite needing to paint I’ve placed pictures on the wall and the house echoes much less from it’s previously empty state.   I’m far less agitated (OK, mostly.  I’m this close to sending The Poodle packing!).  I’m less exhausted (though it will surely set in again once we start painting some rooms!)  and finally, I’m just starting to feel at home.   Just the other evening I got to share in the joy of my sis and her husband as they watched their son handle his first cello experience.   A joyful heart carried me well into the next day!

Yes, we are slowly settling into our new normal in Northern Virginia, praying as we exhale that we can catch a break (that would be SELL THE ALBATROSS) and hope another shoe does not drop.

Seriously, rest assured; aside from the list of No’s…there is plenty of bliss to be found.