Labors of Love and Indecision

*Photo taken in front of Barlett House on Laurens Avenue in Olean, NY. 

Hello, ducks. I hope you have been enjoying spring wherever you live. Lately I have been walking the city of Olean, driving the countryside when I can, and getting out whenever I am able to enjoy the lovely fresh air for a quick dog walk. Here in Western New York everything smells like freshly-mown grass, lilacs, hyacinths, and thunderstorms. All the lawns are growing faster than anyone can keep up with their mowers, the bushes are looking leggy with long fronds sticking out at odd angles, and the trees are almost fully green with leaves. One of my favorite things about spring in Olean is to walk by the impressive Bartlett House historical society on Laurens Avenue, where the blossoms of the crabapples and dogwoods are so mature they utterly cover the branches. The gorgeous scent of those blossoms fills the air, and across the street the Presbyterian church has a wide bed of daffodils which blooms in a splash of yellow so large it bubbles up giggles every time I walk past. The bobbing heads of daffodils sway gently in the breeze, and nothing could be sweeter in a region with such a long wait for warmer days.

I had hoped to go exploring before this blog post, but Michael came home for a couple of days and I have been spending time with him while we also work on the house. Michael’s talent with construction never ceases to amaze me as I watch him slap drywall up on the ceiling like it’s nothing. Meanwhile, I have been working on the yard to make it more presentable and trying to finish the tile mosaic floor I installed in our foyer. The mosaic is beautiful, but the tile work has been cropping up with all kinds of trouble. I worked hard on making the mosaic in my usual style, with a tree as the central focal point and lots of color to draw the eye, and I felt good about using reclaimed tile to keep costs down. When I laid the tile it took me a week, and then it took almost three weeks for the adhesive to dry due to the cold, damp weather. Then a snafu with the grout set me back more time, as the grout I originally bought had been exposed to moisture before I purchased it. When this happens, the grout mix is full of hard lumps that will never mix properly. In discovering this upon attempting to mix the grout, I had to go back to the hardware store twice. I went once to replace the original bag, and once again to get another bag because one was not quite enough. Now the grout haze on the tile is so bad I will have to scrub it with a brush in order to uncover the tile color. Ugh. At least the floor is down now and is in the final phase of curing. Once I get it scrubbed it should look nice.

In the meantime, I have plenty of other work to do, like painting (yuck), sanding drywall and woodwork (yuck), and sorting the remaining junk in our bedroom (yuck). None of these jobs are my favorite, so they have been sitting for a while. Now my procrastination must come to its end…unless I can find an excuse to get outside and do yard work, which is far more interesting and rewarding to me. We recently learned that the church, which has been kind enough to host our Airstream while we work hard on the house, needs us to move the RV. Since we came back from Nevada and got the innards gutted, the Falcon has been sitting empty and untouched for over a month. With cruddy weather and lack of time, Michael has not been able to act as foreman to the job of putting it back together. Now we need to find another kind soul to host it for us, as we cannot park it on our Olean property—we simply lack the room.

While Michael has been home the last two days, he had hoped to find someone to agree to let us park it, but options have yet to reveal themselves. Tomorrow he has to go back to New Hampshire, this time for weeks before he can return. It’s going to be a tough haul. The Airstream will have to remain in the lot for now. I feel badly about it, but we are already both working nonstop to get a lot of work done whenever possible. Soon the work on the house should be done so we can offer it for sale, and I hope Michael can find a contract which allows him to be closer to Olean so he can actually get our real home rebuilt. I am almost desperate to get the Airstream rebuilt at this point, because we still have no decision on our next move. Without knowing how long it will take to sell our house, we don’t know how long it will be before we can buy land in New Hampshire. Without land, we cannot build a tiny house. If we at least rebuild the Airstream, we can still travel and live in the Falcon until the Olean house sells. For now, that’s a plan of sorts. I think. It seems to change weekly at this point.

Meanwhile, we are enjoying the warmer weather, the trees, the flowers, and looking forward to the next move. Having this particular contract end will be a relief, as long as Michael can find work close to home. If not, our lives will be rather frustrating for a while. Hopefully by next week I will have time to explore some new hiking spots, as I learned of a few new places to get out on trails. I need the outdoor time, and so do the dogs. All work and no play is making me crabby and tired. Anytime I get that way, I know it’s time to get in the woods. If I’m lucky, I’ll see some sights worthy of whipping out my phone to take a photo. Until then, get out there and see and do beautiful things in my stead. Share a comment about what you enjoyed so I can enjoy it vicariously. Memorial Day weekend is coming soon, so this is the time to get out and plant your gardens, Northerners. I hope the weather makes it possible for everyone to honor those they love, remember the ones we lost, and that you have sunshine and colorful flowers to cheer your time together.

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