A Stranger in My Home

The list of things I need and want to do keeps getting longer and I am functioning at ‘molasses in January’ speed. This isn’t working out. I have a bathroom project, taxes, writing, yard work, a book project for my sister’s art, and estate planning items to finish up. I like to check things off the list and the only thing I can check off as I write this is that I finished hemming some pants.

Another dreary windy day. Enough already. I want snow falling straight down or spring. I suppose I should shut up on the weather front, too many are facing far worse than wind or clouds. Out west, there are mud slides in those areas where they faced unprecedented fires last summer, and horrible flooding in the east.

I am struggling to find the right color to paint in the bathroom. I keep stopping into paint stores and bringing home paint chips, but as of yet, no luck. Some come close, but I have not found the magic color. I once painted a bathroom six times to get it right, and I do not plan to do that this time.

It has been suggested that I write about the emotional conflict I have had cleaning out my parent’s home. It might help others to learn that someone besides them is going through this kind of struggle. I have come upon so many things I knew nothing about. It makes me feel like a stranger in my childhood home. Who were these people? Some of the albums show my parents in a light I could never have fathomed. Then again, they were taken before my folks had any children, so how could I have possibly known them. I suppose I just wonder why I never saw those albums before.

I’ve come upon letters from my mother that my dad carried in his wallet during WWII. Talk about bringing me to tears. I’ve come upon every letter my grandmother ever wrote to my mother, in some the money grandmother sent still wrapped in the tissue it was mailed in with a tiny note. The magnitude of what is in that house is overwhelming.

Here is an unfinished painting by my sister Penny.IMG_0206

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Penny’s Art

We’ve had such a mild winter, unlike the millions back east, out west, and up north who have been pummeled with record snow and ice. It was warm enough to work in the yard this week. I cut down spent perennials from last season, and noticed green sprouts all over the place. Iris, and the early blooming bulbs are peaking out, asking to be nipped in the bud by frost. Frost we will get. Snow? Not so much. I fear that many plants and trees are going to suffer from this dry winter, but what can you do?

This is a week of catch up after last weeks trip over the hill. Despite what I’ve already done, I still need to do book inventory, a newsletter, tax preparation, get my car’s recall fixed, and pick out paint for my bathroom. I’ve worked at the list for two days and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. At least, I won’t get run over by a train.

I’ve taken pictures of some of my sister’s art work and I’m going to put them into a book for the family. I’ll show some of them here for the next few blogs. She used a wide variety of pencil, charcoal, ink, and watercolor. Enjoy!IMG_0208

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More Memories

Progress. We made some organizational decisions in my parent’s house and that helps the sorting process. On my next trip, I believe we’ll be able to reduce the storage units from three to two. Another load of clothing has gone to charity. I almost said final load, but after that trip we found more clothes in the utility room above the dryer. Those will go another day. I have taken the pressure off myself and decided the estate sale may not happen in 2019. Perhaps 2020.

One piece of my dad’s rock polishing equipment went to its new owner. Talk about heavy! It took four of us to lift it into the bed of his pickup. Thank goodness I had my niece and nephew here. After the next pieces go, we will be able to bring more things from the storage units here to the house. We’ve been up in the attic and under the house and ‘thankfully!’ found nothing either place.

My nephew worked in the cold garage much of the time. He unearthed many of our childhood treasures such as my leather holster and pistol set that looked just like those Roy Rogers wore. I cannot fathom the hours I wore that holster, galloping around the yard or through the house. There was also the wooden rifle my dad made for his grandsons. By its wear and tear, I think it might have been used as a club a time or two.

The bitter-sweet find of this trip has been the artwork my sister Penny did thirty to forty years ago and then packed away. She was as talented as my oldest sister, Pam, and I never knew it. That work is going home with me, to be framed and hung. I knew she pursued a lot of different kinds of craft, from basketweaving to spinning and weaving wool, but I never saw these drawings and water colors. I was stunned to tears. At least I have finally found a way to honor her.

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The Process!

We drove to the mountains on a fifty degree day. There was not much snow where we went, but we were surprised by a sudden snow squall as we hiked. We saw it in the distance behind us and I truly thought we had an hour before it reached us. No no no, with in five minutes it was on us, the wind howling and the snowflakes pelting us from the side. Complete white-out spooked us for about a half hour, then the sun came out and the sky turned back to brilliant blue. That’s Colorado for you.

My nephew was successful in renewing his driver’s license. I’d like to say, ‘One’ more thing on his check list done, however it was a daunting – 4 part process, 4 steps with money due at each step of the way, but – now he is legal on all continents. Woohoo! Now I’m going to attempt to get a replacement title for my dad’s pickup. All of these little details sure take one’s time. I also realized I need to get my sister’s social security number off of the accounts that are still open. I don’t want a 1099 coming under her name next year.

Just as a reminder: Valentines Day is coming and both ‘Rhyaden’ and the Badger Books make great gifts for kids. Visit my web site: barbaratynerbooks.com to have a look at the books or purchase them. Also, think about them for gifts for coming vacations or birthdays.

I’m about to get a couple of days with my grandsons. Awesome! They are growing so fast. I know all kids grow fast, but I really don’t want my grandkids to. I’m sure they would argue that point with me, (I did with my dad) but some day they’ll understand why.

Pure chaos. The boys and the house. We found a leak under the kitchen sink so have to call a plumber. Too much to sort out. No place to put it. I am overwhelmed each time I come. Sleep. Hopefully a night’s sleep will help.

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The Vortex!

How the days fill up and flit by. I am left feeling I’m in a tiny tornado. Time is flying. I think when you’re a kid, time rides on a donkey cart. When you have kids, you realize your cart is now a train, and by the time grandkids come along, it found a jet to hitch to.

My nephew arrived from Germany. We have lots of catching up to do, a couple of birthdays to celebrate, and then we’ll head over the hill to sort and clean at my mom’s house. “To grandmother’s house we go,” and go and go. There’s enough snow in the mountains, if we just had a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer to make the trip more fun.

Customs at the airport took a long time. They didn’t have enough agents working to cover all of the scheduled flights. Go figure. We finally made it back to the house. I cooked while they settled in. We ate. They showered. They fell asleep. They had hoped to stay up till 9pm, but by eight they were done for and disappeared.

The Polar Vortex has lifted. Thank Goodness. Mother Nature can certainly rear up her head and give us a not so gentle reminder of who is not in charge. That would be us. My prayers are with all those who have suffered so terribly from this cold and snow and flooding. A cousin of mine moved from South Carolina to Ohio and learned that snow shovels are indeed a necessary item to have, and that there are places you can’t wear flip-flops year round. I love it. She has met warm hearted people and lives close to grandchildren now. That’s enough to stave off the chill of any Polar Vortex.

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Wind and cold. That’s how this winter is stacking up. Not a very pleasant description and I am totally over it. I’m ready for spring, cook-outs, s’mores, planting more asparagus, potatoes, and I have my eye on another spruce tree.

Yesterday was supposed to be the day I wrote this blog, but the day slipped away. I pitted cherries for a pie (frozen from last summer), baked the pie, played with grandchildren, went to a meeting with another writer, got company, and somehow the day was gone and I had forgotten to sit down and write.

Today I’m going snow-shoeing. Yay. First time this season. At least I will be somewhere where the cold is matched by snow and beautiful scenery. In two days, my nephew arrives from Germany. Over the hill we go to sort some more at my Mom’s house. There, we have a real fireplace and can make s’mores in winter. One great compensation for the long drive and never-ending job. Have a good one, as the saying goes.

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Winter Stopped In

The kitchen is “nearly” back together, partially cleaned, and I am totally glad to have the construction over with. I love projects and then I hate the feeling of being invaded and out of control. I think I love projects that I do, not so much the ones that require others to come in and do the work. However, I am not a carpenter, so… suck it up buttercup. It turned out completely awesome and gorgeous and totally worth the inconvenience and the dust. 

It snowed! Real, actual, have to shovel it wet snow. 5” of good moisture. The rumble of the neighbor’s snow blower before he left for work was truly a good sound to hear. Gentle flakes fell straight down making the outdoors look like a scene from a Christmas card for the first time this winter. Woot! as the kids would say. I said woot until I had to shovel it. Turns out that heavy five inches was more than my back really wanted to deal with. I took it in stages, and the sun came out and helped too.

We found many of my dad’s old PI cases as we sorted through Mom’s house. I am going to read through them to get the best feel possible for his character as an FBI agent and later a Private Investigator – before I finish my current book, “Compass Point.” I knew my dad as my dad, and in later years as a rock hound and grandpa, but he retired from the Bureau when I graduated from high school. He did not discuss cases with us kids, even when he was retired and we were older. His love for petrified wood had taken over by the time I was old enough and mature enough to have appreciated hearing the stories. Fortunately, he taped his favorite stories and I have those tapes. Now, with those and the cases to read over, I’m hoping to put a good sense of his character into my book. That’s my goal at any rate.

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