Losing Myself

The more I put in boxes the more of me disappears. It’s not so bad if the box is still open, but once the flaps go over and it is sealed up with strap after strap of packing tape, the more of me is gone. The artwork is the worst. Slices of myself are hidden, out of sight, and waiting to come back. I won’t see them or myself for more than a month. I won’t be in the new house for probably six more weeks. The new owners will move in sooner than that. So I take my cats and an overnight bag, some food, certainly wine and scotch, a computer with no internet, and stay in the studio apartment that has been reduced to a single bed and a few towels. I am glad they are letting me wait out these last days in the apartment. Hopefully I can get some writing done while there. It should not be long.

The builder is letting me me have the movers store everything in the garage at the new place. He says some of the big things can be moved into the house. Surely the refrigerator, washer and dryer. And hopefully the beds and dressers…all the heavy things.

I am hoping to get the area rugs cleaned and rolled up here so it is easier for the movers. Also a local furniture refinisher is willing to pick up my dining room table and the three counter stools to work on next week. Every time I go to the new house I try to visualize everything in place…and every time I wonder if I kept too many things. Almost all the cupboards have been packed up. I will keep a plate, bowl, mug, glass, single place setting and a pan to cook in over to the apartment. Everything else will be in boxes. My yard man will come sometime soon to take all the things from here that will be in my very small Japanese garden at the new place. He will even put in a small pond and waterfall….nice.

So onward and upward……

I love this meadow and the sky views when I walk from the gym to the house. The tile man working on the new shower lives on a hill that overlooks this spot and he told me yesterday that an occasional bear and even once a mountain lion was seen out here. Grey foxes, deer and ground hogs wander through as well. Trying to keep the observations recorded in the Meadow Book.

I have moved the necessary sketching materials to this one basket that I can carry wherever I go. That grey computer case was a perfect fit for my wooden watercolor box. The pockets have all my pencils in one, homemade pigment, glasses and eraser in another and my new set of small watercolor brushes in the third. The basket also holds a legal pad, the old laptop, house and meadow books, sketchbook of Burke and Wills story, spray for graphite drawings and a paper towel.

Like I said I met with the tile man and we double checked the tile choices and discussed how he would do the small corner bench and niche in the wall of the shower.

Doors and the interior are going in.

That is my kitchen pantry door. The refrigerator will be just to the left.

And a detail of the trim around windows and doors.

All the lights and fans are sitting in the garage here waiting to go over when I get the call. The mantel Patrick made from Lee’s wood has been taken over but still sitting on the hearth. It is best if I only check on the house twice a week. That way it seems like more is getting done.

There is progress. And in two months I should be all settled with nary a box in sight! My etching presses will be set up with work tables in the garage and maybe, just maybe I will be sitting out there with a carving tool in my hand. It’s a plan!

I am off to seal a bit more of myself in a box…

Til later…..

More Packing/ More Building

Only two large pieces of artwork yet to get ready for the move. Artwork and the mirrors are the worst! That’s what I thought until I started on the book cases. It took twelve milk carton square boxes to just do one set of shelves. And even that is hard to pick up and stack!

I went back to the store to get more of those boxes and had my first ever “collision” accident. Both of us backing out at the same time. He was in a very low old car that had no horn and no passenger window. Now he has no usable passenger door. I have very few scratches and no dents. Since I had no idea what to do and remembered we were supposed to exchange insurance information, I asked the kid to show me his and found mine. We photographed each others papers and went on our way. He had to get to work, I had to meet a friend for lunch and see the builder.

After that I stopped at my insurance company and got their advice. Then to a body shop for an estimate and before the day was over, I had a claim sent into the insurance company. The bumper will get the next available opening in early October. Much simpler than I thought it would be.

So today another workout at the gym and a walk over to look at the new house.

and found all the interior doors have been delivered.

And all rooms painted.

Speaking of painting, the new owners here brought more things to store in the studio and showed me their paint samples for the walls here in the big open space. Their choices are simply gorgeous….all my old patched up white will be the colors of a lovely French chateau….even the natural wood cupboards will be painted with an over wash. And perhaps one of her quilts hanging in the foyer where my Australian aboriginal work hung. I will love seeing the new incarnation.

Today I had to take over the mantel that Patrick made from a piece of yellow pine that Lee had left over from making the long bench in the foyer. It will sit above the stone work and the young chap who unloaded it was pleased with Patrick’s finish and rounded corners. It will be nice to see it hung and even more fun to place artwork on the wall above and the River Lethe sculpture on the mantel.

Passengers climb down the ladder to store their baggage and go below to take a seat. They flow through their losing memories because they have drunk the water from the river. Little pieces of past tense text hang onto threads of waves. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your outlook, the ferry man also had a drink along the way taking the passengers to the River Styx, and he forgot where he was going so just tied the boat up until someone who has a memory of where to go next comes along and gets them all going again. I believe the destiny was Hades…but I forgot.

Today I took the day off packing…which is a pain when doing it alone….and just sketched in the two books, Meadow Book and House book.

A fairy ring of toadstools I saw last week and some other fragile ones this morning.

Love this low wheely chair found in the house. I would like to see who uses it and why. I think it is perfect for scrubbing baseboards.

I think it is time to post this and pour something into a glass.

Early tomorrow it will be laundry and filling boxes.

Til later…

A Week Later

On Tuesday evening Patrick and Marla arrived to take the last and largest load of my furnishings back home to their places. The following morning we walked at the river.

I did not bring these poplar blooms home to draw….no room and no time.

Then it was taking down artwork and packing it up…..Marla takes back the fish she gave me years ago to add to the school outside my studio.

The next morning a quick trip to the house to see how it is coming along.

Extra topsoil added out back and the texturing done to the drywall.

Patrick goes off to pick up the 26′ U Haul truck to pack the following morning when more help arrives. It was amazing how he managed to get it up the driveway and turned around to face out.

Marla and I continued to wrap artwork to go and every piece I will take with me. In just a few hours most of the truck was loaded. One of the helpers took the large living room rug home and another took a twin bed and lamp.

Two couches, one a queen sized hide-a-bed, several chairs, a Bali chest, old pie safe cabinet, big coffee table, massive shelving units, boxes of books, the 8′ dining room table, two work tables from the studio, loads of artwork, my oil can collection, crockery, lamps, shop vacuum, office furniture, three tables Lee made using sewing machine legs, miscellaneous things from the shed and garage, canning supplies,  a big iron yard sculpture, two twig chairs, an antique bent wood rocker, and finally the Christmas wrapping papers. Much more was hidden in boxes with their names written on them….things I packed before asking.

It seems like half the house is gone.

It all looks more manageable now,

We had a wonderful trip out to our favorite winery…taking a packed bag of meats, cheeses, crackers, fruit….. and a stop by the restaurant to pick up 30 oyster shooters and some popovers that filled our bags enough for us and the friends meeting us there. Lots of laughing, good wine and company.

Yesterday we took a last walk along the trail…..

Then we pulled nails from the walls where the artwork hung and painted over the holes.

I could not watch this morning as Patrick navigated that loaded truck down the steep and bending driveway with Marla driving his truck behind. I just ask that he messages me when he gets out to the pavement and starts down the road. As soon as I got the call, I loaded my car with all the trash accumulated and headed to the dump. Then washed the sheets and continued to paint over nail holes.

I think some wine is warranted while I wait to hear they have arrived at Amy’s to unpack her furniture and then have taken Patrick’s things to the storage shed before putting the rest in Marla’s car. A very long day for them…..maybe fifteen hours before they see their cats and put themselves to bed.

I so appreciate all they have done!

Til later….

Still Packing/Still Waiting

Now Sadie has packed herself up. We are getting so tired of piling up boxes and waiting for the new house to get finished. The new owners dropped by the other day to put some things in the shop to store. I am wondering if I need to get some place to put all my things if the house gets even further behind. But will cross that bridge when it comes. I took a walk on the dam and then stopped by the house Friday morning. All the taping of drywall was finished and I suppose next comes the painting. I will check tomorrow morning to see if anything new happened since.

There was a walk through the meadow and some drawing in the book.

Lots of rabbit sightings in the clover along the path from gym to house site.

And at the house interesting things to draw in the book about its construction.

This morning I hauled five more bags to the trash.  Yesterday packed a few more boxes of teapots, cups, candles and candle holders. So much pottery from the dining room cupboards. I will miss all these built in cupboards but have found out once something gets stuffed back in….it is simply not used. So many things I saw, liked, bought, and put away to use someday. Silly. There are days I think of taking one plate, one place setting of cutlery, one cup, one bowl and letting them sit on the kitchen counter waiting for the next meal to be ready to eat. But maybe someone will visit and I will need more, so more gets packed and I am hoping there is enough cupboard space for them to come out of those boxes.

In the meantime I enjoy the little pleasures of what stays behind.

Tomorrow I will call and see if a rug cleaning place can come and roll up three or four area rugs to take away, clean and return all rolled up for the movers. Two of them have been in every house we’ve had since ’93 when we moved here and never had a professional cleaning. If I can’t find a local cleaner then I roll them myself and they go as they are.

There are still paintings and other things on the walls. And two framed documents are making me wonder if I should take them in their frames. One is my undergraduate degree and the larger one is my Masters of Fine Art degree. I had them framed when I received them because no one in my family ever went to college, some did not graduate high school. I hung them over my computer desk in the office downstairs and thought of how my parents died before either of these degrees were earned.

When I was trying to pay my way to a two year Associates degree after high school, my father took me aside and slipped me a $100 bill. I had never seen one before, and knew he had not seen many. He told me it was for my tuition and a couple of books the following semester. Tuition was $70 and used books about $10 each. That was almost sixty years ago and I still remember his wanting to help me out.

The degrees only mean something to me personally. I was the only one who needed to see them and remember the struggles of achievement.  Maybe I can hang them side by side in my new walk in closet over my massage bed, or behind the ironing board in the laundry room, somewhere, I think. I will let you know where they end up.

Last night I fixed myself a Turbo Tonic. It was a good idea but unlike a gin and tonic, there was not a desire to have a second.

Til later….