it's done: i have the move more behind me now, rather than looming ever large in front. i couldn't have done it this time around, after living in one house out in the country for over eight years, without the enormous help of three very dear people in my life: robin, my older son, who drove all the way from colorado and stayed with me for the better part of six weeks; my treasured friend katey, from alabama - someone i've known just over a year but also someone i feel that i've always known and loved. one of those - and julie, my beloved friend who is also another "one of those" i've known forever and ever.... katey drove the 4 hours over from alabama for four nights and helped me pack up into a jillion cardboard boxes the overstuffed, filled-to-the-brim studio that all these years had been crammed into that tiny little bedroom space. she also helped make phone calls, made arduous lists that she checked off every night. she packed up return mail order clothing and bedskirt items, packed up jewelry items to be shipped, drove out to the cabin (an hour's drive) and back again, drew a layout of the future studio with shelves and tables and measurements.
she even followed me into town so i could leave my car to have new tires mounted in the ever present torrential soaking rain.
after a very full three days, katie left, and thirty six hours later, walter's auntie julie came back down from ohio and stayed for another two weeks (after having been down to help with yard sales, furniture sales, thrift store and garbage hauls), tackling such mountainous tasks as emptying out and cleaning the basement, taking truckload after truckload of garbage and overflow (and a very heavy, nasty old gas grill) to the dump, delivering a chair and ottoman to an upholsterer almost all the way to asheville, rolling up a heavy 8 x 10 oriental rug and carrying it off to be cleaned, running countless loads of blanket and linen laundry.
the list goes on: she vacuumed, she swept, she broke furniture and machinery down for ease of packing, she wrapped framed items to be moved, she lugged heavy items up and down the stairs. she spent the entire final day on firefly emptying kitchen cabinets, packing food to carry with us, wiping counters, packing up yard tools and big studio basement items; and at dark that evening, julie drove all the way into town to pick up sushi dinner after 9:00pm.
while they stayed on firefly, each of these gals slept on an inflatable mattress, out on the living room floor (their choice, they both insisted). those were miserably long, exhaustive days and nights; those are two friends i hold very, very close to my eternally grateful heart. and robin?
he listed and sold furniture on craig's list, painted a bedside table my favorite shade of soft robin's egg blue/green, painted my iron patio table and chairs a snappy, shiny new fire engine red, carried boxes of heavy books out to the cabin before the actual move. he cleaned out most of the basement, carried many a load of trash and castaways to the dump and the thrift stores in town; he organized the carport, and continued to encourage and urge me to purge, purge, purge. i'm ever so glad that he did. all three of them - robin, katey, julie, and even robin's wonderful pup nualla, that makes four - were there at the very unpleasant height of the stress, and never faltered, never once snapped. i'm deeply blessed to have such wonderful, loyal, unconditionally loving people in my life, who are there in the best and also in the very worst of times to help and support and encourage me in any way that they humanly can. i look back on the last 3.5 months and wonder how on earth i was ever able to reach this point, where i am sitting out on the great big screened porch, ceiling fan humming overhead, walter sprawled out on a red oriental carpet at my feet. or, sitting out on the front porch swaying gently in my old wicker swing. or, in the early evening, sitting out on the new side deck, where i can gaze out over the mountains across from the valley. i think that walter really likes this place (how could he not?), now that i've quit moving boxes and paper around.
things smell familiar to him - the furniture, the rugs - and that has to help. now that the monsoon rains have finally ceased - the two solid weeks of rain, rain, rain that brought thunder and lightning with it to shake walter up - i think he likes the patches of sun that filter through the windows, the porch, and onto the bare wooden floors. it's nice to discover the way that the sun does this, the falling and the spilling onto old familiar, beloved things - now that it has a chance to break through all of that monotonous, dreary grey. (here you see my grandmother's lamp, with angels all around; my mother's old pie safe that my grandmother had spotted on someone's back porch and purchased on the spot; my karen newgard pottery mug.)
(and here you see my friend julie whitmore's incredible hand pinched and painted pottery, to which i am terminally addicted).
i'm still spending large chunks of time dealing with the contractor and his helper, who are here again and unpredictably gone again like a summer storm, my telling them how deep, how high to make new studio shelves, hoping they'll have time to come back again the following day. the work they've done so far is beautiful; i can't complain in the least about that.
but studio boxes remain stacked four rows deep and all the way to the ceiling in the back basement room, awaiting for the fellows to finish making and installing the shelves; how i'll manage to dig in and remove heavy stacked furniture and some fifty-plus boxes on my own is beyond me, but the cabin above already feels like my own cozy home, complete with the love and the spirited essence of my parents.
the evening walks down Wooded Way with walter are lovely, the blackberries are tart but ripe, the wildflowers there for the picking.
construction frustrations are manageable, in the grand scheme of things. it's summer, my favorite time of the year. i have an incredibly beautiful roof over my head. walter is finally relaxed, and content, with many new perches from which to snooze.
the next chapter is coming. stay tuned. xo (this blog post was written as a gigantic, never-ending thank you to my incredible mother, who has opened the cabin doors to be my home, and who has funded the remodeling of the basement garage at the cabin into a lovely, big open studio...my FIRST EVER that is a real, bonafide studio space. i love you, mama, with all of my heart!!!) xoxoxo