Getting Serious

140917 Dumpster

We moved into the house at Fort Pelham Farm in 1967, I was 11 years old.  The house has a huge attic.  It has two rooms that are finished on each end and open space surrounding it.  No one ever goes up there.  It’s not that it’s creepy, it’s just the repository for the things no one can part with.

When my mother’s mother broke up her household in the early ’70s boxes of things were brought up there.  Wedding gowns, the winter clothes, toys, games, all of the stuff from my father’s childhood room and home.  Papers, photographs, vintage containers of all sorts.  Furniture, good and bad.  All of it found its way there. To my knowledge nothing that ever went into the attic ever saw the light of day again.

There are also a few things that need to be taken care of  – restoring power to the second floor, dealing with bad insulation, cleaning up a mess left by masons years and years ago.  All of these little things go hand in hand and I have to get rid of stuff in order to tackle those jobs.  Painters will soon be here to scrape and paint the peaks of the house repairing the third floors windows at the same time.  I don’t think they can get to the windows right now, sigh.

It’s starting to feel like I will be staying here for quite some time – it’s taken a while to feel that way.  I have made do with the second floor as a place to sleep with my clothing piled high on spare beds most of the time.  I visit our home in Enfield and recently have begun longing for a cozy, comfortable place of my own here.  The first floor is comfortable enough but it has always been more of a place to entertain rather than live.

The second floor has peeling wallpaper on every wall.  Carpet over wide pine floors dating to 1970 or so.  Plaster falling from ceilings reminds me of a Dickens novel I once read sans the cobwebs.

There was some furniture that I wanted to move to the attic and I went up there yesterday to check out the situation. (Yeah, it could be said that I’m part of the problem but I can’t part with the antique rockers that my grandfather brought up here). The stairs leading to the attic are more like a modified ladder they are so steep and narrow.  Once up there I realized what a real problem the mess is.  I had thought I could just pitch stuff out of the window onto the lawn but that was before I realized just how much stuff we are talking about.  Did I really want to handle any of it more than once?

A 20 yard dumpster was put next to one end of the house about 15 minutes ago, it will be here for two weeks (or less if I can get things done).  I’m sure I will feel as though a great weight has been lifted. Now I just have to muster the energy.

 

What We’re Called to Do

140521 Back FortyWhen I was 18 people told me that I needed a plan, a plan for my life.  My friends went off to college, confident in the choices they had made for their life’s work – nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, music education, nursing.  I had taken business courses in high school knowing that I wouldn’t be going to college – wasn’t in the cards for this girl.  This was back in the day where if you knew how to type, take dictation and do rudimentary bookkeeping you could land a pretty good job. Yes, I’m really dating myself here.

Although I took and kept an office job for a few years I knew that it was not what I wanted to do.  Little did I realize that taking that path initially I would always be working in an office in one capacity or another for a good deal of my life.  I’m an excellent multi-tasker and can be pretty well-organized.  I manage my time well if I have to.

I went to school for photography when I was 22 and again was told I needed a plan for my life.  “Your days are numbered” said to me by my teacher and mentor still whispers in the back of my brain on many occasions.  Good words, words that really should be heeded.

Fast forward 35 years and I have to say I’m just beginning to formulate what it is I should be doing.  Honestly, I may never truly know but I think you have to look at your history, your ancestry, your genetics. I come from a long, long line of farming and textiles, both of which require good problem solving capabilities. (Although I sometimes think the biggest problem I have is figuring out what it is I want to do).

I think many people (especially in recent years) choose a career based on their likes and capabilities.  Some are blessed with extraordinary gifts and are pushed or sent in a certain direction.  Somewhere along the way I believe everyone undergoes a “crisis of faith” so to speak.  That moment (or moments) when we wonder just what the heck were we thinking.  Upon reflection we either realize that what we are doing is the only thing we should be or know in our hearts it’s time to get out.  Taking action is the next big step and that always contains the fear that you are not listening close enough.  You just have to leap.

My move to Rowe permanently was really precipitated by finance but the reality is that this is what I really should be doing.  It allows me to create on many different levels and that is who I am intrinsically.  To sit in an office, no matter who’s it was, was killing me.  I thought it then, I know it now. I’ve had the slate of Fort Pelham Farm for a few years but now I have the time to form it into a thing of beauty both physically and spiritually.

Following in the footsteps of those I knew and loved makes what I’m doing special to me. I am learning to live much the way my ancestors have.  Growing my own food, weaving my own cloth, knitting my own sweaters. We all create our own happiness minute by minute and I’ve been given a new opportunity. People shake their heads and wonder, at least those in the urban area I just left.  I’m certain the tide is shifting where some will understand but you should know I have never, ever done what people expected me to do.  I’d rather have them watch and be amused.