November 30, 2010

The dream vacation

In my head, there's this perfect little New England B&B, in a perfect little town, surrounded by lovely paths that are perfect for thoughtful, relaxing strolls. I wear cozy sweaters and toasty mugs of coffee or hot chocolate warm my hands. No digital e-reader for me, I curl up next to a scenic window with the comforting weight of a real book in my hands. I lose time in the most luxurious of ways.

The sounds around me are the background hum of other people's daily life. The rustle of wind in the trees mixes pleasantly, though probably inaccurately, with the rush of the ocean. See, my mind can't decide if my B&B is on the coast or in the country, but this small detail doesn't bother me at all.

The crucial point is, I'm alone.

I have never taken a trip completely by myself. Oh, I've flown solo on my way to visit other people, sure. But I've never gone to a location for the single purpose of just being somewhere, anywhere, all on my own.

"Wait a minute", Kurt protested over dinner the other night. "I know this is your little dream escape but I thought it was for US to go away. Together!".

I could hem and haw right now, try to smooth over his exclusion from this imaginary vacation of mine. I won't, though. It's my dream, right? And in it, I'm not anyone's mom or wife, friend or family. I'm just a woman all alone in a lovely little place. Probably I could go several days without even talking to anyone beyond a brief nod of hello or good morning. As much as I love my husband (and I really, really DO love the guy), the idea of such silence… well. Let's just say my fantasies don't aspire to much more beyond that at this point in my life.

As time goes by, my imagination fills in more and more little details of this trip: the old bookstore with overstuffed chairs tucked away between shelves, the local café with a menu dedicated to comfort foods and amazing pie. Sometimes when the decibel level in my own house reaches critical maximum (which happens often with three kids), I close my eyes and go to the wrap-around porch of the B&B, snuggle into a cushioned wicker chair and watch the leaves rustle on an apple tree nearby.

I know that no such place actually exists. I could be setting myself up for more disappointment each time I add sweet details to the dream. But I don't think so. I think that somewhere out there is a perfectly nice little place with enough of its own charming details to stand up against my own imaginings.

And one day, all by myself… I'll go and find it.

For now, I can curl up in my own comfy chair in the playroom, hands wrapped around my own mug of coffee and close my eyes during the occasional moments when all the kids are happily off chasing their own imaginations with the help of crayons, dolls, teething rings and blanket tents. After all, those days are their own kind of dream, too, and not to be forgotten.

If you could go anywhere, for just a little while all on your own, where would it be?

November 19, 2010

Beige and other signs of the End Times

We're getting our carpets cleaned. Like, you know, not just scrubbing away at the spots with a bristle brush until our arms cramp up, but actually professionally cleaned. It's a BIG DEAL.

See, while we have a lovely house and are fairly consistent in keeping things tidy and wiped up, the big stuff tends to slide around here. For instance, in the 6 years we've lived here, we've (love how I keep saying "we" when Kurt does all the work) painted two rooms. The backyard is graced with only the dream of a nice deck and the curtains in every room are the same ones that came with the house.

It's not that the rooms NEED to be painted; they're not nasty or peeling or anything gross. They're just beige (which some may consider gross now that I think of it). The curtains are just fine, not simple filler treatments left by the previous owners, but actual nice fabric. And guess what? They are, in the majority, BEIGE. The deck, well... that's a dream we speak of every year. The back "yard" is mostly gravel and retaining wall. Kurt has committed and researched to getting it built next summer, first thing, and I know it's going to happen now. He NEEDS it to happen, it's a thorn in his side. On that count, I am very excited for the actual completion of one of our home improvement fantasies.

We are not beige people. We are colorful people who eat outside all summer on their nice deck and sip wine next to the comforting glow of a built-in fire pit. It's just that all that takes TIME, dedicated, throw everything (including the kids! Watch them soar!) to the side and exclusively devoted TIME.

Opportunities like that just don't really seem to exist these days. I have trouble sitting down to just ramble on about paint and curtains on a blog, much less actually do the painting and curtaining. (Curtaining? Can I verb-ize that? Wait... verb-ize? My journalism teacher is wincing right now.)

For now, seems like we're just going to start from the ground up, literally. Clean carpets. Next year, a deck. With all that inspiration, who knows what's possible? I may even have a bathroom painted by 2012! Just in time for the end of the world. At which point, I'll probably give up on curtains all together. I mean, who cares about beige during the apocalypse?

On that note, my baby has just awoken and all things decorating will have to wait... again.

November 11, 2010

Fitting it all in: kids, family, too?

I have a cramp in my hand. The muscles right between my thumb and forefinger are protesting this workout in a major way. Occasionally I stop, shake out my wrist and stretch the fingers but then… the exercise continues. What am I doing?


(Update: This post got picked up on the Yahoo Shine homepage!)