patience is a virtue

Between work and a virus, I’ve been flat out in November! Trying to come back now ….

I wish I was a more patient person. On many fronts, I require patience – with my mother, may cat, my renovations and life in general. I thought I was starting to de-stress as the renovations near completion and I feel like I can relax a bit more. Some stress has seemed to melt away, but the reality is that some stress has just shifted to other things. I don’t feel as irritated at little things but am still impatient with regard to the renovations. I don’t feel as angry that the renovations are not completed but still need to take some deep breaths to keep from screaming sometimes! I have cut down on the junk food but still pull out the Cheetos a little too often. And we’re coming into hot chocolate season ….

The frustrations related to dealing with my mother are very real and I try to process these feelings in a positive way. On one hand, it’s good that she still thinks about what she is contributing to the household and the renovations. She wants to remain an active and contributing member of the family even though she can’t remember all the details. Her questions are good questions – they were the first time she asked them, the 100th time, the 1000th time, and so on.

But my question is this: does she have to ask about all this stuff during Jeopardy!? There are other times of the day when I could answer her questions with greater patience – what is it about the 7:00-7:30 pm time slot that is so special?

We also have the daily discussion about who is alive and who is dead. She goes through the list – who has written or called, who is alive or dead, where those alive reside, whether she has written to them, etc. This is often followed by a brief period of tears because she cannot remember people or places, or by stories about her teenage years and relationships between people I have never met. These chats are generally in the evening, after Wheel of Fortune. By the way, she doesn’t ask questions during Wheel because she can still play that game pretty well. I’m guessing she is distracted enough during Wheel that she doesn’t think about money or death! Long live Wheel of Fortune!

One way to stem the tide of repeated questions is the use of a white board. I bought a large white board on wheels that can be moved around. On it, I have addressed the top dozen or so questions she routinely asks. This has been great in that she still asks sometimes, but it has cut down on the repetition and, therefore, on my impatience with answering the same questions multiple times. She appreciates having the information at all times – it’s there where she can see it and can digest it in small bites if needed.

Other frustrations are with the renovations. I don’t do well with clutter and disorganization. It bothers me that I don’t know where things are. So, last weekend I was able to put the kitchen mostly together. They still have to do the backsplash and add a couple of open shelves, but most of my stuff is in its place. I cannot wait until the final pieces are complete. After tidying up and moving furniture back into the kitchen (and out of the living room), the place finally (truly) felt like home. I cooked a full meal in the kitchen. It was exciting! And I don’t particularly like to cook.

I’m looking forward to getting my little office space up and running this coming weekend. That will give me real satisfaction – when I can go there to work. And I have my room, which is a bit of a disaster and will also be on the agenda for the weekend. Life returning to some semblance of normal feels like a dream but it will be reality soon enough.

on the move

My mother and I frequently watch Escape to the Country, a British show about moving to the tranquil countryside in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. It’s a calming show and one that we can both enjoy. Unlike most of the U.S. design or real estate shows, the properties are unique and lovely in their own way. We’ve seen walls of every shade imaginable, doorways where even I would have to duck, staircases that cannot possibly meet a modern building code, and ceiling beams that are structural not decorative … and often are in the neighborhood of 400 years old. I despair of the reaction from the House Hunters crowd who would probably want to gut the place and install granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and an open floorplan. And I say this as someone with stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and a largely open plan space in my last apartment.

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the joys of an old building

I like old buildings. My home is in a building that is about 115 years old. I just watched Homes by the Sea, a UK show on Netflix about, well, living by the sea – those buildings make my 115-year old look like a “new build”.  I invariably enjoy the (rather limited) offerings on HGTV more when the renovation or purchase involves an older house. Sometimes there is an updated, but not gutted, old home in another country, which is fun. I just find older buildings to be more interesting.  Continue reading

surprise! let’s renovate the kitchen


I had a plan: undertake a big project in my apartment every other year. It would take forever, but that timeline would allow me to pay off one project and save up for the next. First it was replacing the carpeting and the heating and air conditioning system (year 1), then replacing the kitchen appliances (year 3), then repainting the living room and bedroom (year 5) and then replacing the windows (year 7). The full bathroom was set to be next in year 9 (2013), but there were other things that needed to be done – replacing my laptop and some furniture. So the full bathroom renovation was set for 2015, with the floors scheduled for 2017, the kitchen in 2019, the half bath and new doors (and maybe the walk-in closet) in 2021. Just as we were ready to begin tearing out bathroom tile, my mother announced her plan to move in with me.  Continue reading