We’re home!

Wow! I haven’t posted to the blog since August? Amazing how time flies when you’re having fun. Except I haven’t been having too much fun. The travel writing project hangs over my head like the hay-hook in my Grandpa’s huge hayloft. Huge, heavy, scary and not going away. There’s so much to do: pictures to be downloaded onto my computer and captioned, impressions and descriptions of where I went and what I saw to be written and travel recommendations given.

There’s been so much crap (literally and figuratively) to deal with since I got home from my 7700 mile trip across the U.S. and back again. I still haven’t figured out how we managed to log an extra 2,200 miles. The first thing we dealt with, after unloading the van and trailer, was a mouse invasion in our kitchen while we were gone. Every drawer and shelf in the island counter was littered with mouse poop and pee. Yuck! I keep my baking supplies and equipment in the island. Most of the edible supplies are stored in glass jars with metal lids. Talk about accidental foresight.  I thought I was just keeping the items fresh. Little did I know I was protecting them from vermin. Come to think of it, I guess I was intentionally protecting the items but I thought it was from six-footed pests. I never expected the four-footed ones. It took a week to clean all the baking pans, jars, measuring cups and spoons and all the other equipment one collects over the course of decades. The up side was the opportunity to weed out unneeded items and give them away. The regret, besides the time wasted, was that I never thought to take any pictures of the mess. And to think I used to consider mice cute little critters. I guess I’m well over THAT sentimental kind of thinking.

Mouse droppings were followed by a full week of laundry. Clothes, sheets, blankets, doggie beds. You name it, I washed, dried and folded it. “Why did it take a week?” you ask. I only have a 30 gallon electric hot water heater and it refuses to do laundry, showers and dishes all at the same time.

During the laundry phase I discovered and was astounded by how filthy a house can get when it sits empty for two months. Walking through the house on hardwood floors, between piles of dirty laundry, left the bottom of my feet nearly black. Dust was everywhere. I would have preferred to tackle the dirt first but sanitizing the kitchen seemed more important and it’s hard to clean floors that are covered with piles of dirty fabric.

Dealing with so much negative “stuff” is demoralizing and I nearly lost my sense of humor. I’m glad to say my funny bone is starting to regenerate, but not without a struggle.

I discovered the extent of God’s grace two weeks ago when the transmission on our van suddenly died. As it turns out it was an ugly death. The heat that so encompassed our trip killed the transmission and I am extremely grateful that it held together until after we got home. If the engine is the “brain” of a vehicle and the drive-line is the spinal column, then the transmission is the brain stem. Damage the brain stem and you’re not going anywhere. Woe to the man or woman who loses their transmission in the middle of nowhere. Even worse if it happens “somewhere” but you don’t have money with you to get it repaired. We were extremely blessed that it died at home.

My dear hubby was able to do all the work required to remove (and replace) the transmission and get it to the repair shop. We had burnt the insides out of it. Imagine a burned, mangled mess of metal. All the hot days, hot pavement, and engine heat had done it in. (Oh, I really need a photographer’s brain. Again, no pictures.) Two and one half weeks and two weekends later I finally have my dear van back. We’ve gone so far and done so much together I doubt if hubby and I will ever be able to part with it. Maybe we’ll be able to get a million miles out of our ’95 Ford minivan, like the ad I saw recently that touted a million miles on a 1990 Honda Accord. We should live so long.

I have one more major project to tackle before I finally feel like I’m free to be creative. My office. Piles and piles of papers. Office supplies that have no home. Two office chairs that can’t decide which one wants to stay and which one wants to go elsewhere. I’ve actually thought of entering a “World’s Messiest Office Space” contest. My two tall filing cabinets are in hubby’s shop and I have no place in the office to file papers so they land in piles on any and all flat surfaces. That has to change. Vermin again. No file cabinet will pass the through the doors of my house until it is thoroughly  vacuumed and debugged. Not one spider, not one bug, not one speck of dirt will be allowed to pass the portals of my home. When the office project starts my phone will be off the hook, all meetings will be cancelled, TV dinners will be the mealtime mode. Sorting the office has been put off for at least three years and it WILL get done this fall, before Christmas — maybe even before Thanksgiving. That’s a good idea. A clean, orderly office would be a great thing to give thanks for.

Maybe I can even be thankful that the mice were the impetus for getting the crap out of my life. Creativity can take precedence. I’ll write. I’ll spin wool. I’ll weave. I’ll knit. Maybe I’ll write about it all. Check back on my blog after Thanksgiving and see what I’ve accomplished.

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About torimcrae

Tori is a good writer aspiring to be a great writer. The mother of four adult kids she is currently pursuing postponed dreams. She enjoys her grandkids, traveling with hubby, spinning fiber, weaving, and raising Shih Tzus. Currently Tori posts to this blog on Mondays and Fridays.
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10 Responses to We’re home!

  1. I found you! Great story about the mice and great that you are getting your mojo back. I look forward to more posts 🙂

    • torimcrae says:

      Florence, Thanks for reading my blog! I take it that you didn’t find any glaring errors in composition. I love to write but I love a lot of the creative activities I’m involved in and they all clamor for my attention. Life (relatives, friends, church, housework) is a major distraction and being a little on the lazy side doesn’t help. I know I have a lot of company in those areas. But what I lack in discipline I make up for in determination. My writing is in my head for weeks and it may take a long time to get on paper (literal or virtual) but I’m determined that it WILL get there! Thanks again, Vickie/Tori

  2. Monica says:

    Hey, great that you’re still blogging. I liked your description of your homecoming. It’s vivid – makes me want to go check my drawers and cabinets.

  3. Tori, the muse, like good wine, likes to sit and ferment. When we busy the hands, the mind is at peace and able to sort in quiet comfort those confused thoughts we have when we “try” to think. The clearing out of the “crap” and the process of cleaning out your space is in a way, the mind taking its time to sort. You may be surprised to find that when you do finally get to sit and do the writing, that it flows easier. Also, I can’t think in a cluttered or distracting place. I could write in the middle of a NYC subway rush hour as long as the bench I sat on was clean and the work pad, fresh and new. We can filter out those distracting noises, but there is something in each of us that needs order to the work. Good luck 🙂

    • torimcrae says:

      Thank you so muclh for your comment. I completely agreeregarding theneed fororder. Even though I’m not even using my office for writing, because there is no room in the midst of the disarray to work, I am distracted by the knowledge that all the mess is sitting there wanting attention. I’ve made attempts in the past to put it all in order andImake progress to a point, then I’m forced to quit for some life circumstance or another. I never seem to get past the stage of sorting into boxes which then become part of the clutter. I realize now that order, for me, is going to be sorting directly into a file cabinet so that everything I deal withis in the place it is going to belong and I don’t have to start all over again. This is another process that requires fermentation. I must have an action-plan for the homes for those papers and supplies and such a plan needs to be thought out to be successful. Tori

  4. Welcome home! Well, actually, I guess your homecoming was less than welcoming, thanks to the mice. But it obviously forced you into action, like it or not!

    I’m impressed with your office organization plan. I’m like Florence… can’t settle my brain enough to do anything creative if I’m surrounded by clutter. Not much stops me from writing, but I sometimes have to take a bit of time to sort out the mess first. I hope you realize that now you’ve publicly committed to getting your office organized by Thanksgiving, we’re all going to expect an accounting from you. So… get at it, girl! 😉

    • torimcrae says:

      I’m not exactly surrounded by clutter when I write because I more or less refuse to use my office to work in. Still, the knowledge that the office is unusable because of the mess is like having burrs in your socks — not impossible to walk but darn unpleasant and very annoying! I’m now toying with the idea of completely tossing the papers that I’ve saved for background information on future essays and writing projects. I hesitate because original source articles are, in my opinion, more credible and therefore more valuable than items turned up in a google search. When an article has been printed on a piece of paper with its date of publication also printed you know that someone hasn’t altered it. Maybe the filing cabinet will help with decision making. I hope to start tackling the project tonight or tomorrow.
      tori

  5. christicorbett says:

    Tori,
    I’m so glad to see you’re home again, not so much for all you had to go through once you got here. I know how you feel with the water heater. We just had ours leak last week and had to replace it. Unfortunately, we picked one a bit smaller than we’re used to so showers are a bit of a scheduling challenge. I can only imagine how they’ll be once our twins are older!

    Glad to have you back and look forward to hearing more about your trip at writer’s group 🙂

    Christi Corbett

    • torimcrae says:

      Thanks for visiting the blog….finally. Sorry to hear about your water heater. We had an “on-demand” water heater and never ran out then it quit working and we have to get along on a 30 gallon electric water heater. Showers aren’t too hard to schedule unless we have company, but we can’t run the washing machine and also the dishwasher or a shower at the same time so that makes things like laundry and cleaning the kitchen take longer. I do complain occasionally. Hubby would probably say it’s more like frequently. See you at Writer’s Group.

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