Finding brightness in an otherwise dark year

Good morning and happy Saturday! 2020 is finally over and like pretty much everyone, I am really glad for that. It hasn’t been a good year. Not for anyone. Especially not for the more than 300,000 Americans who didn’t get to see the year’s end because of COVID. 

That I am even able to sit here and reflect on the past year and find any good in it is a privilege that too many people will never know. We are both still alive, we are both still employed, we are still in our home, and we are not drowning in debt.

For several months from spring into summer, my husband was temporarily laid off from his job. His employer was eventually able to resume normal operations and add back its staff. At first it was part time but quickly went back to full time. I have been working from home since mid-March, now with a rotating couple of days in the office each week that began in September and has been extended until at least the beginning of April. Spending most of our waking hours in the house has led to a lot of things being addressed that we have otherwise procrastinated about for the 18 years we have lived here. Some minor, some major. I still have occasional borderline Torrance* moments but that’s understanding being the one who spends the most time in the house. Still, we finish out the year in a home we appreciate and enjoy much more, and take for granted less. 

A few days into his unemployment, my husband began an ambitious plan to re-paint some rooms that desperately needed it, and paint our bedroom which for the last 18 years has had the same basic contractor’s off-white that the previous owners had. Every other room in the house had at some point been painted differently than it was when we first moved in. Now, his method of painting a room is a little non-traditional and it does take a bit longer than you might think it should. I had jokingly called him Eldin** a few times. But he likes painting and he does it so that as little gets disrupted as possible and he is meticulous about his work and I appreciate that so much. I hate painting!

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The kitchen was freshened up with a coat of “Ice Sculpture” over the previous color we painted years ago called “Ice Castles.” Yeah, I know, really bold change! Our bedroom saw the most drastic change, as it should given its original state. I insisted on choosing the colors and I will admit that I was still like .01% unsure about orange being too harsh of a color for the bedroom, but “Monarch Wing” has been just perfect in every light at every time of day. The bathroom was freshened up with the same gray, and fresh white was put on the ceiling and wainscoting. 

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My craft room became where I spent most of my time in 2020 as it now doubles as my office. After about three days of working at home in March, I learned that my kitchen chairs were not meant to be sat in for so long, and I began creating a setup in my craft room that I could easily break down and put away when not needed. That has been an ongoing effort for months. I have sorted, reorganized, de-stashed, and downsized a lot of fiber, yarn, and even equipment. I still have more spinning wheels than sewing machines but I ended 2020 with two fewer of each. The transformation of this room throughout 2020 to better suit how it is used has been refreshing.

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Over the course of a couple weeks back in early autumn I scoured two Romney fleeces that have been in storage in the basement for longer than I want to admit and began carding some in December so I can eventually start spinning some samples. Other than a couple of ‘they get done when they get done’ spindle projects, I have not done any wheel spinning since late winter. Dealing with these fleeces was the start of addressing the biggest issue of living here for 18 years. Having it accumulate in the basement. That is an ongoing project. It will be for some time. But it has started and that is good!

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I cannot say that completely remaking the backyard in 2020 wasn’t on my radar. I suspected when I closed the pool in 2019 that it might be time to retire it and by the end of winter, I was sure. It was rusting out in one spot so badly that the liner was exposed. Rather than replace the pool we decided we would start planning for a new patio space and space for a hot tub. This project would be a lot farther along had I started it earlier than September. It was a ridiculously hot summer and September was as soon as I was willing to start doing anything serious about the crater left behind by the removal of the pool in the spring. Now it will resume next spring when I can begin planting new things and I am looking forward to lots of new things in 2021!

There are still many projects to finish up here over the winter months. Spending more time inside because of the weather ‘should’ help get those things done but there’s also our almost 2 year old pharaoh hound who is also spending more time inside because of the weather. I have also started a new knitting project now that the hoodie is finished. I’ll have more about both next week.

Enjoy your weekend, stay safe, wear your fucking mask, and Happy New Year!

*kudos if you got that reference

**extra kudos if you got that reference

2 thoughts on “Finding brightness in an otherwise dark year”

  1. Wow, you guys were really productive!! I also attacked the home to make it more comfortable and supportive of my isolated at home lifestyle. I moved a day bed downstairs to the family room and brought the loveseat upstairs to the craft room where I also have an indoor garden going with grow lights and shelves. I bought an Amazon Echo to put into the craft room and now I can happily listen to books while I knit on my loveseat in the happiest room of the house. I threw away 20 years of old knitting magazines and even a couple of fleeces… The dining room table got moved around and now has my sewing machine on it where it has been put into use machine quilting 4 quilt tops that were languishing in the craft room for way to long. Quilts are a lot easier to handle when you have them spread out on a big table covered with plastic so that they can slide better! This weekend I’ve started eyeing an alpaca fleece that needs to get spun… so many sweaters that I want to knit, and that color would be really nice…

    Have a good new year, and I absolutely promise to wear my f*cking mask at all times!!

    Like

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