Shawn has been a business traveler for the past two weeks, but he is en route home today, hallelujah.
It gets lonely when he is gone, especially after the sun sets, and especially when I am sick.
The upshot: I've watched more HGTV than usual. For anyone who isn't familiar with HGTV, that's the Home and Garden channel on cable, but I don't think it has much to do with gardens.
With Shawn gone, I had the opportunity to glut myself on HGTV, which I did, until I got sick to death of if and stopped.
HGTV is simply an advertising vehicle designed to make people feel insecure about their houses and frantic to spend all kinds of money on paint and funky furniture so they can be updated in their homes, too!
It doesn't help that I am not enamored of the current trend towards everything cold and white and gray and stainless steel. That's not a home! That's a hospital room!
The last night I watched, the people on the show delightedly attacked a beautiful travertine bathroom with a sledgehammer. They replaced it with something "sleek and modern." I thought I was going to throw up. Our bathroom has a beige fiberglass shower unit. It's not very pretty, but it's in good shape, and it's easy to clean. As we make other updates to the bathroom, I am choosing simply to ignore it. I would be very thankful if I had a beautiful travertine bathroom. I would not smash it out.
I can't stand when first-time homeowners (HGTV has a show called "Househunters") walk into a house with a lovely oak kitchen outfitted with perfectly clean and functional--even matching--white appliances, and say, "Ugh! It will cost so much to update this!" Has no one ever considered that cabinets can hold your kitchenwares, even if they are not shaker-styled white particleboard? Also, I understand that while you love white cabinets, you hate white appliances, but a white refrigerator can keep your milk just as cold as a stainless one (and a stainless refrigerator will get just as dirty as a white refrigerator if you don't clean it). Has nobody ever thought, "Well, this isn't exactly what I would choose, but it's in good condition, and functional, and it's not even a garish color. We can certainly live with it until it wears out."
I noticed awhile ago that the HGTV numbers are all wrong, too. Back in the day, you used to see a list (who had it? Realtors? Contractors?). Anyway, it had things listed in terms of the value of the remodel. For a kitchen or a bathroom, you could recoup up to 85% of your remodel costs when you went to sell. A basement was only 50%. Everyone knew that you didn't get your money back on home improvement projects, and you had to be wise as you decided what you would do with your house.
But now, now that HGTV exists to sell advertising to the home improvement industry, suddenly they are featuring shows about houses where the people start a remodel, find a water problem in their basement, spend half their budget fixing the basement, and end up raising the value of their home by twice what their original budget was. Seriously. They make it look like you can waterproof your basement and reroute your plumbing, and recoup 200% of what you spend with the increase in home value you will reap. Ludicrous.
Yesterday I got the mail. There was an ad from Vistaprint about saving 50% on Christmas cards.
Nope. We're done now. Who knew the nest could empty that fast? Move in 2013. Wedding in 2014. Boom. No more cute kids to photograph. No more newsy updates to write. No more funny family stories to share. They are all independent adults, living in scattered corners of the country. Their stories are their own to tell now. As far as Shawn and me -- ha -- it would be just ridiculous for us to send out a picture of ourselves, at our age.
If we send Christmas cards, we will probably buy them at a store, in a box, and simply sign them.
On a bright note, I made a crustless quiche on Sunday, and it lasted me all week. This morning I woke up hungry. The quiche sat in the refrigerator, fully half of it still in the pie plate. I cut some for myself, microwaved it and enjoyed it with a cup of tea.
Schubert keeps watch at the sidelight by the front door, a constant low rumble in his chest. Piper sleeps hard on the floor, a melancholy whistle in his chest as he labors to breathe. I type away at my computer, glancing out the window in front of me at morning sun on autumn leaves, a cold in my chest, but also contentment.
That poem Grandma Rainbow had hanging in her bathroom. I loved the rhyme scheme: ABCD, ABCD.
The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven—
All's right with the world!
Well, it's not spring; it's autumn.
Still, beauty surrounds us.
Even were it not beautiful,
God would be in heaven.
God is also here, with us, near.
There's plenty wrong with the world,
but our hope is in the Lord.
The Lord is absolutely faithful;
Hope in Him will be fulfilled.
Peace and joy mark our walk in this life
because we look forward
to the New Heaven and the New Earth
where everything really will be all right.
Everything beautiful now
simply points to then.