Tag Archives: stuff

Second Hand Rosie

Every thing in my cottage is mismatched, piece worked, and mostly vintage. Aside from a few family items, I acquired most everything I own in estate sales, antique stores, flea markets, etc. Like Second Hand Rose, “I rarely get a thing that ain’t been used.” Only I don’t feel abused.

I like the stories that my stuff generate. At this point in my journey it’s fun. This wasn’t always so.

Waiting for the microwave to announce my latte is ready, I wash the dishes in the sink. Memories flow from when I acquired a mug, a plate, a spoon. I remember buying the new sheers now covering my windows – and when my kitten chewed those pin pricks in the selvage.

Not that long ago household items, or rather the stories behind them used to send me into an emotional tailspin. A little further back household stuff could set me running, usually sceamin’ like the banshee, arms flailing as if swatting away a flock of crows – Hitchcock’s The Birds style.

*

When I arrived here at the ranch, this sort of behavior upset the livestock. It was time I put all I learned over the years into practice.

Long ago, before I learned to run from the memories (figuratively speaking – mostly) I’d pretend them away. Eventually fear and anguish bound and locked away much of my memory. Modern medicine calls it Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (CPTSD).

By mid-adulthood I realized this skill had robbed me of much of the joys of my life. Since I clearly hadn’t gotten over it, I got help.

I worked for years with professionals that specialize in helping people with my symptoms. Finding the right help nor the work were easy.

I wanted to quit often. But I missed out on too many good times simply because I didn’t want to remember. I knew if I really wanted to experience “normal” I mustn’t stop the work.

**

I haven’t arrived yet. But instead of the memories dragging me away like an undertow, I can now stop them in place, sort of freeze the frame. At my age eccentric behavior isn’t unusual, so it’s all good. Most of the time I can now reason that what happened didn’t kill me and obviously it won’t stop me – without veering off course.

***

By the time I’d replaced nearly everything I ever owned I realized I had been surviving, not actually living. That’s not the life God wants for me. Sure, our early life was rough for my siblings and me. Sometimes it feels a little sad that I seem to be alone. Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe I’m leading the pack.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

 

*Header, The Birds image courtesy San Francisco Chronicle

***The Bird image courtesy Google

**Hitchcock image courtesy Jason Bovberg 

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Filed under A Door Ajar

Be-longing

I’ve been thinking a lot about things I don’t possess anymore. I don’t mean items I remember disowning. No, I’ve wondered where I left some things behind.

I really don’t care too much about possessions. I won’t carry anything into heaven. But weeks into this phenomenon, I’m now paying close attention.

This morning I wondered about a mug.

This “wonder” even bled into my normal routine, beginning my day with prayer and Bible time. Instead of flipping my Bible to where I left off last time, I got stuck paragraphs back. I tried, but I couldn’t move on.

Again with the mug. I was getting concerned.

How does one seriously approach God about something as insignificant as stuff anyway? Well:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:28, 27 (NIV)

I wish I could say I always have the presence of mind to pray at the first hint of something beyond my grasp, and especially something that taunts at me. But without a dramatic crisis it usually takes me a while to remember little things – like stuff – until they become big things. Eventually I just asked God why stuff had been haunting me.

I prayed and then I worked in the garden before my study time.

Soon I could see past that mug. That’s pretty remarkable from where I stood on soggy ground by a pile of freshly pulled weeds, while being serenaded by horses, the steer, hens and the dogs.

But I saw my brother Seagh standing in my kitchen with me, his fingers comfortably gripping the mug. During Seagh’s routine pause before sipping his coffee, the mug literally broke away from the handle, fell to the floor, creamy coffee splattering dramatically.

As he gazed in disbelief I:

  1. marveled at how, of all the mugs on that shelf, he picked the one I had repaired and forgotten,
  2. hoped he’d clean the mess, and
  3. hoped the surprise wouldn’t make him late for his appointment.

Breath bated, I watched him – I imagined the entire drama playing out behind his curtain. In a moment (which actually felt much longer) he set the handle down, took another mug and began pouring the last of the coffee saying, “‘Guess it sucks to be you.”

With that I burst into laughter. Perfectly played, straight-faced Joe Cool effortlessly stepped over the mess, out of the kitchen and through the front door. I imagine he had a strangle-hold on every cell in his body to not laugh – at least until he was well out of ear-shot.

So, I get it now.

It’s not about stuff, acquiring or eliminating possessions. Seagh left us in early spring. As did our second brother, our father, and now our oldest brother. Don’t ask me why it sneaks up on me every year. It just does.

Though I’m sorry he had to go on without me, Seagh and I both experienced the strange, new sensation of home living here on this property. I left here intent on returning once sister Roan had settled in Texas. Who knew?

Naturally I miss him and especially his unique sense of humor, but really he’s as much a part of this property as the ground.

I’m determined to let the trivial stuff go and stay focused upon what’s important.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

Stacked mugs image courtesy Pixabay

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Filed under Notes from the Apex

Character

Stuff happens. How we deal with the stuff defines us.

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12 NLT

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Filed under Notes from the Apex

Leak

Two-plus weeks ago Erin and I took a break from our projects. While her sister Ellie, her family and brother Edmund traveled to check on another property, Erin manned Ellie’s house, the 5 small dogs and the cat. I held down our home front. I’d intended to take a break from the downstairs overhaul project and set about checking off the list of small tasks upstairs.

About midway through our sideways vacation I found myself browsing through the downstairs for something I had seen that would be perfect upstairs.

Ordinarily I avoid going downstairs without Erin. I can go from zero to hysteria in 06.1 seconds over the astounding collection of vintage items from 3 generations of her large family. Have I mentioned the fifty pounds of stuff on a ten pound property including the garage?

clutter pixabay garage

I was initially happy revisiting things I too grew up with. After sleeping on a futon for over three months now, without Erin constantly reminding me we’re making progress my attitude can spin out of balance very quickly. Frequent, very fervent prayer helps. Still, I wanted a nice surprise for her return and needed the break from my work.

A basement used for storage for years naturally smells musty so I dismissed what I’d thought was exceptionally dank air as I first descended the stairs. I quickly noticed in the room beneath the kitchen the bottoms of some cardboard boxes were remarkably darker. Stepping cautiously into the room I heard the fateful squishing sound of my feet on the old carpet. Houston, we have water.

flood toon pixabayA phone call and an hour later Erin and I were relocating and repacking boxes, extracting what water we could and still couldn’t identify the source. While the neighbors were also away we couldn’t cut the water at the main and leave the house empty. So, for the subsequent week I did all I could to avoid flooding while Edmund, the family contractor was out of town. After dozens of trips up and down the stairs I learned what trickled, what doesn’t and have become very resourceful. G. Annie Roo, super sleuth. I like the sound of that.

Over the following week we adjusted to watering the lawn from bowls in the kitchen sink – every hour. We were thankful to learn the old cast iron drain with a 3-inch hole is exclusive to the kitchen. We are not happy to learn the broken, slightly sunken concrete driveway outside the kitchen wall suggests a bigger problem. This might take a while.

The contractors are due to arrive late this week. By then we will have settled into our adjusted routine and used the better part of a tree for disposable dinner ware 😦

So goes the continuing saga of two old broads resettling the old vintage family rental this week. Were the property owner any other than Erin’s mom we would have taken another course. Blood’s thicker…

For now the futon awaits me.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1 (NLT)

Images courtesy of Pixabay

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Filed under A Door Ajar

About Self Storage

Obsession over possessions fascinates me. I invested more than $13,200.00 in self storage over nineteen years. Except for a couple of pieces that are worthless to anyone else, everything I stored is gone and forgotten now.

Throughout that time I drove the same, cool, pickup truck I bought for $9,000. It had gone 7,000 miles when I bought it. The day I sold it, over 353,000 miles later, I was positive it had thousands more miles left on it.

Three years later, after very little work, the same old truck I sold for $400 is still running strong.

I wonder if things in self storage for more than a few months need to move on. I could have bought a nice, newer vehicle with the money I spent hanging on to stuff I couldn’t keep. But I treasure the memories from all the miles that great old truck carried me.

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Filed under The World According to Roo