“The groups are coming The Groups Are Coming THE GROUPS ARE COMING.”
Such has been the chorus in my head as the calendar days slide through February and approach March with alarming speed. With March comes spring breaks for college students around the country, meaning that Big Laurel will soon be inundated with service groups seeking respite from their workaholic lives. But the beginning of their break signifies the end of ours as Ian and I reenter our roles as program directors and help to lead these trips.
I’ve heard that pregnant mothers enter a nesting phase right before their baby is born. This time allows them to get their house in order and to both physically and mentally prepare for the chaos that a newborn brings. I’m certainly not pregnant but I think I entered a nesting phase myself this past weekend because I was in full home improvement mood. A few quick touch ups turned into a full weekend of moving furniture, painting walls, deep cleaning filthy carpets, and even relocating our bedroom.
Though I’m great at providing the spark of inspiration, it turns out I’m kind of a crappy project partner. Midway through day two of home improvement madness, Ian turned towards me with glazed eyes.
“You know, you’re a real Tom Sawyer! You always are the one to get excited about new projects but somehow I end up doing all the work for you.”
I might have argued if I hadn’t completely abandoned Ian to the paint fumes almost half an hour before and was instead derping around outside with the dog and chickens. Whatever. I still think we make a great team. Someone’s gotta have the brilliant ideas. I’m just glad that Ian’s stability has given me the reassurance that I won’t have to live surrounded by my own half finished projects all the time.
Home improvement projects at the Knob house are a unique experience. First Ian and I don’t have the budget or easy access to places to buy new things for decorating. Two AmeriCorps salaries and a very rural location account for that. Second the house and property are jammed with a plethora of home goods from previous inhabitants. It’s too hard to dispose of anything on this mountain so big items like furniture don’t go very far. Therefore, any home improvements we do are really just deep cleaning and a constant rearranging of the furniture and decor already in the house. It’s like living in a flea market! The potential for finding treasure is endless but you don’t want to think too hard about where everything has been.
Project 1: The Clubhouse Bedroom
The main bedroom in the Knob house was actually designed as a pottery studio/newspaper printing space. It’s a cavernous hallway of a room and the only way to access the house’s single bathroom is by walking through it. This can be awkward when we have guests over.
We had a goal of eventually moving up to the attic bedroom, both for the privacy and the gorgeous windows that graced the walls. The only problem was that this space had been a catchall for crap long before our time, and in our six months residency we had made a significant contribution ourselves. But thanks to the pressure of imminent groups, I found the motivation to tackle the filth.
This room won’t win any beauty contests, but the crazy colors and mountain view give it a clubhouse feel. Overall I’m pretty happy with it.
Project 2: Warming up the Living Room
We actually managed to make a permanent change to our living room by way of paint that we had bought months ago when we painted our kitchen, but had stored away untouched. The room was in desperate need of some covering over the dingy marks and drab coloring.
Our home is now company ready! Or close enough. I’m done with housework for a while. I think I’d rather just play in the garden.