In the meantime, I suppose we have enough things to keep us busy. Today the stump grinder finally came to finish off where we took our trees down. Of course, it ended up being a way more invasive process than I thought, and now we have a lot of muddy cleanup and repair to do. Tomorrow we get our kitchen window replaced. It lost its seal a couple years ago, and some days the condensation makes it hard to see outside of one of the best windows in the house. Then on Friday the driveway is getting resealed. In the meantime, we're trying to figure out things with getting our bathroom worked on (along with fixing our water pressure regulator). I keep dragging my feet, though. I'm indecisive and trying to find the right sink and faucet is hard! My next project after that will be the kitchen--new countertops, sink, faucet, paint, window treatments, backsplash, and maybe even a light fixture. I've been obsessing over paint for the last week. It will replace almost all of the dated wallpaper, except where the backsplash might go. All four go nicely with the cabinets, but coordinating with the red in the adjacent dining room is harder.
|I don't think this picture quite does them justice, but you get the idea. The top and bottom ones are close to navy, but the top one is a bit bluer.|
The top one is my favorite, the next one down is a bright blue like I've always loved but never had the guts to do, the next is bright but a bit more tame, and the bottom is maybe the best match for the red--but maybe a little less rich than the top one. It's complicated. I guess I'll keep these until I figure out the rest, to see if one or the other is better for countertops or tile?
As for the outside, all of my planted stuff is coming along nicely. This was the first flower to pop out on my porch planter, which was a later addition.
|Now there are two more hot pink ones, plus a bunch more on the way!|
This was a pretty new color in my backyard planters...
My garden is thriving--a bunch of cucumbers, handfuls of grape tomatoes, and finally two zucchini! I can barely keep it all contained with fencing and stakes! I also found this odd green bean. I thought it was dying, but then I realized it was white with purple coloring!
When I broke it open, the beans were purple inside!
It appears to be an oddball--not sure if the plant kicked out a mutant or the wrong seed ended up in the packet, but it was fun to find! Nice to have a full supply of produce around--and it made the cucumber salsa I made for a party this past weekend extra easy to decide on!
I also picked this bowl of blackberries from my mess of vines in the backyard!
In other news, my first week back to work was okay. I got a few things done but it's definitely still hard to focus. Hard to believe this is my new life for months to come. I know other people are liking working from home, and it does have its perks, but it is so hard to focus and feel equipped to do everything I need to do. It's hard. I had a rough week otherwise due to another political tiff with my dad. It got a little extreme but we worked it out, thankfully before this past weekend's baby shower for my cousin and his wife, who are expecting their first baby in September. It was great to see a bunch of my family I haven't seen in months (probably since Christmas?), but gatherings, even outdoor ones, make me nervous. I got invited to a bridal shower on Craig's side next month, and it's indoors so I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'll probably go but mask as much as possible, at the risk of looking like a jerk, I suppose.
Of course, Jacob is venturing out into the world a bit himself. He had his first real basketball game for the first time since March last Saturday. Only one parent can go, and I was at the shower anyway, so I didn't see it. He had a bit of a rough first half, and only ended up with three points, but they were pivotal points and helped his team force overtime. They eventually won, which was great, but Jacob was definitely discouraged that things didn't go so well for him. I'll be watching him this weekend while Craig goes to our niece and nephew's graduation party. Let's hope things get easier and he stays safe.
My dad aside, the political stuff is really starting to weigh on me. Masks are still oppressive to some, although here in Western New York, people seem to be using them and our numbers are staying manageable. But if you see the complaints on social media it can make you crazy--mostly because we've seen it work here and there really isn't any other option to keep things controlled and since live relatively normal lives. The school debate is exhausting because there are literally no good options. An Indiana district had a positive test on the first day of school, apparently because a family didn't keep their previously tested kid home. Stuff like that is the problem--people normally send kids to school sick as it is, let alone the risk of asymptomatic kids. And while the relatively low death rate probably shouldn't deter school from starting, there are concerning studies about the percentage of people that end up with long-lasting health issues, and that's the stuff I personally don't want to mess with. Not to mention quarantining for weeks, because I prefer to do my own shopping and leave the house if needed. President Trump says ridiculous things on a daily basis, and the stakes are getting high as we get closer to the election. I know each side thinks the other is disaster, and yet neither candidate is awesome, but I am choosing to hope for a more unified, kinder leader. Protests continue in many cities, which were made more violent by the involvement of federal authorities, and now reportedly returned to peaceful after their departure (or did they?). But it's hard to know if the non-peaceful protests were actually by misguided "true" protesters (even if just trying to make an anti-Fed point), or if they were being pushed forward by fringe groups and outsiders looking to make things worse. Between news and science, it's hard to know what to believe right now because there's a study or new article that supports or refutes every single position. And generally there's just enough truth in each of them to leave everyone unsure. I'm just getting so exhausted by the extreme positions some people take, just to disassociate from the other side, and it only makes their side look crazier. While I am by nature empathetic and tend to understand both sides (at least to some degree), it makes our current society exhausting because there is so much division and negativity that there is nearly no one to agree with fully. Well, there seems to be a pocket of friends I totally get and agree with, but there is definitely not a candidate or party that matches. So there are no great options and at this point I just can't get past the president's terrible handling of the pandemic and constant sowing of division. I don't know how to explain it to my kids when they ask why the president does things like that. And while the left does no favors to minimize division, we're just at a point where he can't effectively lead, simply because he has completely alienated so many. A friend of mine made the metaphor the other day that if someone had the best possible plan but wrote it on a piece of paper, tied it to a brick, and threw it at your head, you probably wouldn't be any too eager to open up that piece of paper, read it, or subscribe to what it's saying, just because the means in which it was delivered and the questionable thought process of the person who did it would create a lot of concerns and doubts. I really think that's where we are, and therefore his usefulness as a leader is almost non-existent. Could there be good policy in there somewhere? Sure, but it's pretty hard to see when everything surrounding it seems to indicate otherwise. I'm just at a loss.
So, when all seems bleak, I'm still just trying to look for the beauty in life. There was this stunning sunset last week...
On Sunday when I was driving to Wegmans, I was thinking about what a mess things are and how heavy things feel right now. Driving is one of the few times I have right now where it's quiet and I can think without interruption, so lately that's where I most deeply ponder all that's happening now. As I turned the corner toward the store, I saw this:
|It started as a section, then grew to a half, then full. If you look closely to the right, you can see a double rainbow above it.|
It was so beautiful and the timing was so perfect with how down I was feeling that I just sat there and stared at it for a minute once I parked. It was also fun to hear people outside catching their first glimpse of it!
As another week moves along, I am still struggling a bit. I'm tired. I shouldn't be after sleeping in for over four months, but I think the weight of everything--the pandemic, social struggles, politics, the stuck-in-the-house feeling, the school worries, the struggles with the boys, feeling unmotivated, and missing a "normal" summer of adventures--is all converging and starting to get to me. Our daily existence is sort of exhausting right now, for the most random of reasons. The Fortnite obsession in the house is really starting to frustrate me for so many reasons, including the fighting, the screaming, the interruption to normal life (hard to do dinner or bedtime on time when it's the middle of a game), and the way it has taken over all other normal behaviors. Jacob still plays basketball a couple times a day, but the game tends to take over everything else, and that's how Craig and the boys spend most evenings now. I should be thankful for the free time, but I'm a bit bothered by the change in habits--I can barely remember what evenings used to be like. It's been a struggle for so many reasons. It may just disappear one of these days. I fantasize about it, in fact!
I'm hoping that some of the house progress will feel productive, and I'm still hoping we can figure out one more adventure before this month is over. Of course, that's just one more thing to figure out...so let's see if I can add one more and still keep my sanity!