Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Mother's Daughter

 It's been 2 1/2 months since my mom passed away, and it's still hard.  I dream about her most nights, sometimes they are lovely dreams of us on the beach, watching the sunset, and she says, "Wendy, you will be okay."  Sometimes, they are terrible nightmares...  we buried her alive on accident, I have cancer and she takes care of me, she drowns and I can't save her, she dies again... the exact same way.  It's awful and I wake up in a panic.  How long will I have these nightmares?

My dad is grieving, and while it's a relief to see my soldier father grieve instead of bottling it up, it is so hard.  I can't fix this, I can't help him, I can't take the pain away.  He has to go through his own process, just like I have to grieve.  This whole experience from the time of diagnosis until now has been one excercise of learning that you just have no control, no power...  and I hate it.  Do you ever really stop grieving?  

I'm 34, my dad is 77, I have no idea how to help him, and I feel like this is the injustice that cancer imposed on me.  I feel way too young to be dealing with serious life issues like this. My mom was ten years younger than my dad, she was supposed to outlive him, she even joked about how she would buy a Mercedes right after the funeral.  (My father dislikes European Cars.) Now here I am, trying to figure out how to help my father see the value of what his future holds.  I know my future involves caring for my dad, being his shoulder to lean on, it's what my mom would want, and it's what I want.  My mom may be gone, but I'm still my mother's daughter.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Life is Good.

That Baby Roller Hand.... leads a pretty charmed life.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2011

I had grand plans for Easter.  With the last few details being finished on the outside of the Chalet in March, and the late Easter date, I turned to Mr. Man and declared, "Nous permettre d'avoir une Chasse d'Oeuf de Pâques."  Which roughly translates to, let's have a big Easter Egg Hunt. 
Oh! *sigh* When will I ever learn that when it comes to construction, it rarely goes according to plan.  The grass got delayed and the grass would be too tender for 1,000 kids to trample on.  Plus the shrubbery has a May delivery date, so there would be no real hiding places for the eggs.  It would just be a vast green lawn sprinkled with eggs, so we decided to postpone the egg hunt to another year.   
This year I decided to go with what was on hand for our Easter outfits.  Mr. Boy is sporting his "2short2cool" tie, and somehow I managed to talk him into wearing the hat that has rested in his closet for 2 years. 
I want to frame this picture to remind me on those ridiculously tough days where I feel like I'm a mothering failure.  It will remind me that my kids are happy and that we laugh each and every day.  It  might take years of therapy to undo the damage I do to them, because being a parent is hard.  I have no idea what I'm doing half the time.  There is no instruction manual and every child is different.
But in the end, my kids and my family are great. They love me and I love them.  I think moms are their own worst critic, and this week was tough as I got back into the swing of doing the mom thing.    
AK looked lovely in her smocked dress and I made her an Easter Bonnet. I think there is nothing sweeter than a smocked dress and a Bonnet.  She's worn this dress for the last three Easters.  I think I finally got my money's worth out of it.  If I only I could bottle up this precious little girl-i-ness and give it back to her when she is a teen. I couldn't help but smile as I watched her little bonnet bob up and down as she skipped into church.  
Happy Easter!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Homestretch

Every year as April 15th approaches, I start to fantasize about all the things I'm going to do in my spare time.  This year, all I can think about is lounging in the pool and finishing up home projects.  Lucky for us, we have 3 extra days of tax season this year!
And today, as I push through the final tax returns, I have these lovely flowers to keep me company on my desk compliments of a thoughtful client.  If you are looking for me later this week, I have a feeling I'll be in one of three places... The Paint Department of Lowes, floating on a raft with a fruity drink in my backyard, or up hiking the hills trying to hug Rupert.  Don't forget to file those taxes friends!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Good Fortune

Mr. Man never felt "settled" into the Maison (our previous house).  We would get into tense discussions, because I wanted to buy furniture, hire Juans to make built ins, and he would just kind of try and put me off.  When we did decide to buy furniture, I was lightening quick to pick it out, lest he would change his mind.  Also, I was so ecstatic over buying furniture that I wouldn't sleep until I had purchased it.

One time I was over at a friends and she was saying, "My husband is after me to pick out the living room furniture, but I just can't seem to get around to picking it out. It's been 6 months!"  I think I stood there speechless for a good five minutes, that was THE most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. How could you not just drop everything and shop!?!?  
Now fast forward several years, I've matured and re prioritized a bit.  I'd rather spend my time playing with Rupert than shopping the furniture stores. (Isn't he adorable?)  I really have turned into a home body, which you would think would make me want to get my home in order. 
Currently when you come over, you step into my bland, boring living room. I will usually try and usher you out to another room, because I'd rather you didn't fall asleep while visiting, succumbing to the sudden bout of narcolepsy my living room infects you with. Don't even look at my fireplace, it will put you into a coma.
Back in November, Mr. Man insisted on buying that handsome brown couch.  Then he said, "Buy some chairs!"  I knew I wanted something formal, tufted, and armless.  I couldn't find what I was looking for, so I just kind of let it go.  Mr. Man kept bugging me, "Buy some chairs!" It became awkward with guests, all sitting there on the couch staring straight ahead, nodding off while trying to converse

Then on Saturday I drove by my neighbors house just in time to see them walking this beautiful gold antique chair out of the house towards the moving van.  I thought, "That's exactly the type of chair I want, I should scour antique and thrift stores!"
When I drove back home, I noticed that beautiful gold antique chair that I had lusted after, sitting on the curb with a "FREE!" sign, next to a dreadful looking barbecue.  I pulled over, jumped out and popped it in my car, then I decided I should say goodbye to my neighbor.  She, like most of the neighbors, have lived here for 30 plus years. I gave her a hug, wished her well as she moves into a retirement village. I mentioned I snatched up that gold chair and was thrilled to have it.  She said, "Oh, then here let me give you the other one, I was going to have the movers set it out on the curb."

I nearly fell over, huzzah!! She told me all about how she had bought them at an antique store when she first bought her house in 1960 for $100. Her children would make up stories about who had owned the chairs prior to them. They would pretend they belonged to Presidents, Royalty, or Pirates.   My sweet neighbor also told me that Dorothy* and her husband would come over and sit in these very chairs and have cocktails most Sunday evenings. It only seemed appropriate that these chairs make their way up to the Chalet.  They would benefit from some new upholstery, but overall they are in fantastic shape.

Now, I'm getting excited for the prospect of a decorating this room.  I have a mantle for the fireplace, and will be scouring the internet for an area rug, that isn't brown.  These chairs will get reupholstered into something a little more bold over the summer if I can work up the courage.  Anyone have thoughts on my living room? Wall Color?  Chair colors?

Today, I'm toasting my neighbor as she embarks on a new chapter of her life and I'm grateful she is passing on a little bit of history to our family. After spending some time with my new to me furniture, I'm pretty sure the chairs lived in a summer home in Southern France in a previous life.  Oui?

*The Chalet was built in 1953 by Dorothy and her husband.  She was expecting her first child, and they raised their two boys here.  When they moved in, they bought all new furniture, mid century modern, and they left much of it here behind.  They loved this house, and were very happy here; you can tell this house had a very happy vibe. They loved the deer and spent their time painting with watercolors on the patio. Dorothy's husband died ten years ago, and Dorothy passed away in 2010.  The neighbors still refer to this as, "Dorothy's house".

When we were adding on, I would often yell out to the heavens, "Dorothy, I'm so sorry, but trust me, you'll love the end result" as I picked up a sledgehammer to demolish a wall. I love that there has only been one owner, and hope to live in this house a very long time. Dorothy's ghost is welcome here, to sit on my new chairs and enjoy a ghostly cocktail.  Cheers!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Shhh... Can you keep a secret?

Can you keep a secret?  I totally ran away this weekend.
And it was awesome. It has been so stressful the last few weeks, months, year or two.  We've been fixing up the Maison, moving,  remodeling the Chalet (which has been fun but stressful at times), and then my mom became ill.  I love Mr. Man, but he has a tough time relaxing.  Things need to be "done" before he can chill.  In November as the pool was being worked on, he said, "Phew, we are getting close, once the outside of the house is done, THEN I can relax."  We both know, that as soon as the outside is done, then he will move on to something else to fret about.  Relaxation is something just out of his reach.  For me, I can never truly relax at home. In the back of my head there is always something that needs to be tackled.
 In the past few weeks, things have been building.  I miss my mom, I keep thinking, I just want 5 more minutes with her.  Just one more conversation.  I'm not sure what I would say, I'm glad I said everything I wanted to but still, just five more minutes. I'm worried about my sweet dad, who is openly grieving for the loss of his wife.  Add in Tax Season, which I enjoy, but it is stressful, and I missed the first month of it, so I feel like I'm playing catch up.  Pile on a few other issues, such as Sandy the ancient dog's dementia, and I just am barely holding it together.  Two weeks ago, I  exploded and it wasn't pretty.  Mr. Man noticed our new towels shed like a dog, and that trivial item was the straw that broke the camels back.  I felt like it was one more problem I just couldn't solve. We have bought 3 different brands of black towels for our bathroom, and ALL of them have shed black fuzz. I've tried countless tips and tricks and nothing has worked.. The last batch came from Neiman Marcus and cost a small fortune, but... towels from Neimans won't shed?  Right? Wrong. It's totally irrational that shedding towels is what caused me to just break down, cry, and scream, "I just can't hold it together anymore.  This is so hard.  Nothing is going smoothly. I just want a good towel, that's the only thing I need in my life right now." Those weren't my precise words, there may have been a swear word and lots of fragmented sentences about towels in between sobs.  We all know, I wasn't really crying about the towels. 
Enter in our dear friends, who were inspired to give us a call and say, "Hey we are going to Palm Desert in a few weeks with the kids, come with us!"  My first thought was, "Uh, in April? Nope, taxes first."  Then, Mr. Man told me, "Wendy, this sounds like a golden opportunity for the whole family.  Let's try and make this work, for the kids, for us, and for the sake of your mental health."   Turns out financials can be reviewed poolside. 
Even better, last week as I waded through my files stacked on my desk, I realized I was almost out of work.  I'm waiting on phone calls and additional information on everything that is outstanding. The stars were lining up, I'm not kidding when I say this trip was inspired.
The place we stayed was GORGEOUS.  I kept wondering if we should have made the Chalet more like a Hacienda.
If only we had room for a BLUE Tennis Court.  *swoon* 
Mr. Boy swam the entire time and loved playing with his friend. These are his new Relaxipant Inspired Swim Trunks.
AK quickly adapted to Cabana Life, and spent most of her time lounging in and out of the pool with her friend.  
SHUT UP! *shove* Is that Mr. Man?  Is he really just lounging by the pool relaxing?  I have not seen Mr. Relaxed Man in years.  It was so nice to see him and enjoy his company for the weekend.  
After a day lounging around, I started to feel my shoulders relax.  My smile returned and I have not felt this relaxed in at least a year. I laughed a lot this weekend, loved on my kids, and swapped stories with friends.
I highly recommend running away with your friends to everyone.