Monday, June 28, 2010

A Season of Good-bye

It is a homeschooler's life to get behind in housework for a season here and there. Educating gets priority, and sometimes the academics get the highest of all. And sometimes academics just take more focus and time than we expect. Despite my best efforts and intentions, no matter how well organized and well-oiled the machine (that is, our household) is at the beginning of a new set of curriculum, eight or nine months is a long time for a home to run on auto-pilot. So summer is typically a time to catch up and de-clutter (as well as garden, bicycle, read, fish, camp, vacation, and enjoy the sun and water at the lake every livin' afternoon!).

This year some of our "clutter" is unique. For instance, for over a year now we've been living with a cluttered driveway. Now, we have a nice long driveway and what is currently a single car garage (it's big enough to be a double, but there's only one door for vehicles and the second bay is enclosed, a cluttered storage room we've dubbed "The Hell Room") at the end--PLENTY of room for a couple vehicles, and maybe even a boat! But currently have five--yes, I said F-I-V-E!--vehicles, PLUS a boat and another trailer--creatively parked in it! Our driveway ALWAYS looks like there's a party goin' on here! There's a story and a practical reason behind each piece of equipment, yet they seem an ostentatious display and they're definitely an encumbrance. Yesterday the culling began. With a resigned Bear Bait telling me what to say, I posted my first ad ever on Anybody in the market for an '87 Ford F350 Crew Cab 4x4 that's never seen salt? The interior is worn but the truck runs good, and has really low miles, a heavy-duty bumper, and an onboard inverter. The thought of parting with it makes Bear Bait wanna cry, but being hungry makes him grumpy, too...

Another unique thing we've had to declutter this summer is one of our pet tanks. After loving and learning on two painted turtles that hatched in our yard almost two years ago, the turtles (Ping and Pong) suddenly quit eating and began spending inordinate amounts of time trying to swim through the glass walls of their aquarium. We researched and worked on this problem for a couple weeks, even putting crappie minnows in the tank for them to hunt. It was all to no avail. They enjoyed chasing the minnows and stalking them under rocks, but could only grab a tail now and then--crappie minnows were too big and fast, and only appetizing when they were alive. Finally we faced the fact that it was time to let Ping and Pong go. This was heartbreaking for our pet-keepers, as they'd envisioned keeping the turtles until their shells were five inches long before releasing them back to the wild (as mandated by our state Dept of Natural Resources). Ping and Pong were prob'ly up to about 2.5 inches in diameter...halfway there. As hard as it was, though, our brave kids realized the turtles needed to be reintroduced now or they weren't going to make it. In a tearful-but-joyful goodbye ceremony, Ping and Pong seemed to settle quite naturally into our swamp among cattails that gave them excellent cover from predators like birds. The last we saw of them, they were smacking away on fresh something-or-other that we couldn't offer them in captivity. The kids continue to harbor a sneaking little hope that they'll wander back into our yard for a quick visit someday.

Last week we started repainting the exterior of our house, then moved inside when the humidity and rain showed up. We repainted and rearranged our entry/dining area and pantry. This week I'm diving into our daughter's room and finishing the exterior. Hopefully next week Bear Bait will finish our son's new bed and we'll begin using it to declutter his bedroom space (it features custom drawers and shelves for more storage)...while at the same time making room in the garage for a little mechanical work on the boat. By then I should be practiced up, ready to tackle the worst room of all--mine!

I love fresh, clean, decluttered living/working that WORKS for you! And every year the kids are a little older and a little more interested in actively managing the space (in the midst of their academic activities), too. Now here's hoping (and praying) no tornadoes will hit us just when we get finished!

This is out of context, but in light of our build-up of clutter and recent tornado weather, I connect with this portion of scripture today:

" is the season for heavy rain and we are not able to stand outside. Nor is it the work of one or two days..." ~ Ezra 10:13

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I WISH to Write!

I wish to write
.....without pressure of rhyme or meter or cadence,
.....((though, alas, such play continually in my mind!)

I wish to write
.....the taste of melting butter and honey
.....on fresh steaming homemade fruit dumplings...

I wish to write
.....the sound of the sweetest melody
.....perfectly tuned to universal lyrics,

.......... the glory of the panoramic alpine vision
.......... unmarred by man's footprint or even his breath,

............... and the sensation of shrinking into myself
............... as the universe expands, unwinding...

I wish to write
.....the feel of your skin brushing mine
.....and our essence mingling together

And of
.....the pure, clean necessity of time to embrace aloneness
.....with all the weary hot tears and crumpled heaps,
.....melting into quiet reflection, rest, and direction.

I wish to write
.....of my free-spirited passion for life...

Yet even the richest articulation can never really tell it all,
And besides...

.....I have SUCH the writer's cramp! :~O