Four Women, One Dress

Tonight I am at the sewing machine. I’m remodeling a dress for North Carolina daughter. I can’t be sure it will fit her but I have a fair idea of what is needed. I’m praying with every seam that it will turn out well. I think the prayer will be answered and I’m sewing with confidence.

The material is satin. It’s creamy white and soft and surprisingly different from today’s satin, because it is 70 years old. Seventy years ago, my grandmother sat sewing with this same fabric. She was a skilled seamstress, making a wedding dress for her daughter. Her daughter was a different size than my daughter so I have taken the dress apart to resize and change the design a bit. I have to admire her work. She was careful, and gave attention to details. It was a beautiful dress. I have seen it in the pictures of my mother’s wedding.

Grandmother Clementine Warner Boone

Expectations of what wedding dresses should look like have changed so much from 1950. I don’t know what they are making them out of these days that they should cost thousands of dollars, but I know the one my grandmother worked on was made out of love (and satin, and lace).

The work on this project has been an emotional experience for me. I take apart a seam and realize that was thread put there by her machine. Her hands touched the fabric in this very place as she guided it under the needle. She probably peered closely at that button as she sewed it on, just as I am as I remove it. We are linked, she and I, by many things that aren’t tangible, but this dress can be touched and felt. The whole idea is kind of eerie, almost sacred, to me.

And our daughters, the one who wore it so long ago and the one who will wear it next month, they are also linked by the same dress. Mothers and daughters, four women, seventy years, one dress. I love it. It has specialness that can’t be bought.

But as I said, we will see if it fits and seems appropriate for the ceremony. At the least, it will be in a picture. And to some of us, it will look beautiful. Just sayin’…

Selling the House: Photo Shoot

To me, a landmark is a memorable object or moment marking a significant change in direction. A couple of whirlwind days (and nights) have resulted in what I would call landmark moments. In fact, it seems there have been amazing events, one after the other, most of the month as we progressed toward the listing of our house for sale. The most satisfying deadline came this morning – the taking of the pictures.

As scheduled the photographer was here at 7 am.  That’s really quite early for people who are still living in their home to be ready, completely staged and photograph worthy. Clearly we were those people who weren’t quite there. Our realtors arrived and helped us hurry around and clear last minute items (the morning coffee cup), unfinished cleaning (the windows in the re-roofed area), and stuff we just plain forgot (the vacuum cleaner left in the middles of the floor). All this in a great hurry because the sun was coming up and putting a whole different light on things that wasn’t as photo friendly.

After we got out of his way, the photographer did a video panning the neighborhood and then proceeding through the house, to show the general layout. click here for video tour

Next he took still photos in each house. click here to view stills

Multiple listing service allows a video and 25 stills. This didn’t allow for shots of the garages. We were thankful. That’s where we hid all the personal things that didn’t belong in the pictures (think like a giant junk drawer).

We, on the other hand, got taken to a much-needed breakfast. This was the first time in several days that I’d actually sat at a table for more than five minutes. We signed the listing papers over our coffee cups. It was a landmark moment.

Another thing that made this a landmark day was later, watching two of my favorite “friends” go down the road to a new home.

One of the days that our realtor helped us as a handyman, he noticed my kayak and asked about it. He wanted to get one for his wife, so we bartered for his labor. Also, we had decided that we wouldn’t need my car in our new location and would sell it. In another conversation he asked about my husband’s truck. It wasn’t for sale but when he found out I wanted to sell the car, we immediately began to discuss that. He needed a “first car” for his daughter.

That’s how it turned out that after our signing breakfast, we went back to the oneacrewoods, put the kayak on top of the Mazda, and drove down to his house to complete the sale. I followed in the truck and took this picture.

20180504_1107268587996362617777737.jpg
The kayak and “zoom zoom” en route to their new home.

Changes seem to be coming fast. I’m now a truck girl. Although I don’t have my boat anymore, I can still rent a kayak if I want to. More likely, I’m going to concentrate on hiking plans. And the biggest change, of course, is that we will probably not be living in Florida much longer.

Ordinary Times and Travels: Airstream, post 8

55cff94bb30547ca95d2e380800185a9
At the dealership – sight love.

Both my daughters are risk takers and dream followers, not every day in every way, but when it matters. It mattered recently that new life be given to an old dream, which is how youngest daughter, Esther, became owner of a 1972 Airstream. To be clear, it’s 27 feet of aluminum, pull behind, live in trailer with softly rounded corners for streamline movement. You all know what I’m talking about.

e0848585140f48bcabf5aa5dc1ff78ac

Where do we get notions like this? How do these dreams come about? We don’t always know, but when they’ve been around in our thoughts for years it becomes exciting to move on them, finally. Esther found Sylvia Path (subsequently named) at a dealership. They wanted to try out all the systems and appliances before she took possession, and part of her contract was ongoing help, coaching, should she need it. The dealer agreed to deliver her purchase to her when everything was checked out. She sent the cushions and mattress to an upholsterer – the first of several planned upgrades.

Having an Airstream in your backyard is kind of a trendy thing in many parts of the country (usually where it is warm enough to winter over in one).  Many people don’t travel with them. They use them for an extra room, or rent the space for extra income. Many people just like to restore a beautiful piece of equipment for the joy of doing it. Esther wants to do all of these, but first, the challenge of where to put it and the actual move.

wp-1483126994646.jpg
Yeah, this is where it has to go and there are some big rocks here…

Esther assured me she had talked with the dealership about her plan to park the Airstream in her driveway.  They had assured her it was possible in a “no problem” kind of way that guys often rely on. I wasn’t so sure, but I’m only an interested observer.  There were a couple of delivery dates that got rescheduled and with each one, we began to get more anxious about the steep hills, narrow streets and small final destination.  An ornamental tree had been cut to clear the way.  In her mind’s eye, the Airstream was neatly parked against her fence with the door and canopy opening out on the cement drive, herself sitting inside writing her first memoir, a best seller.

wp-1483127016482.jpg
You’re kidding, right?

On the Monday after Christmas, we finally saw Sylvia coming down the street behind a pick-up truck and ran out to greet her. But as we found out, the men delivering her had either not understood, or not believed Esther’s description. Turns out, they can’t really put it anywhere you want it, only where they can drive it with the truck. Backing in was the only option. Here is how it went –  on the second try. (click link for 3 minute YouTube video)

The mind’s eye is the perfect place for a re-do. What you thought would happen can get changed to what actually happened with a minimum of cost and energy. The rest of the delivery process went smoothly as the trailer was leveled, electricity was connected, and the propane heater demonstration successfully concluded.

wp-1483130462708.jpg
Obviously, there is no door on this side.

My first contribution to Sylvia was to remove the lavender bush we were trampling to get to the door, and place some stepping stones to keep us out of the mud.  Esther is going to save pictures of the inside for the before/after shoots, because there is work to be done. It may be a while before the completion, but the dream has begun, and that’s what counts.

 

wp-1483135949998.jpg
To be continued (but do not hold your breath).

A to Z Challenge: The B word

Birthday (not what you were expecting?). The one day of the year when a person should do something bold, rejuvenating, uncharacteristic of normal activity, all in an effort to offset the fact that another year has come and gone.  I have no idea what to do this year, except I’d like to avoid eating being the focus.  I’d prefer activity at little or no cost – the perfect combination – with a token of remembrance of some sort. Other years it’s been kayaking, or an epic hike or bike ride.  So far there is nothing on my schedule for that day except semi-annual AC tune up by the Cool-It Man. I don’t know what I was thinking when they called.

one more memorable birthday NOT
one more memorable birthday NOT

I was doing something memorable on April 2 thirty-two years ago. It had to do with “birthday” as well, but not my own. On that day our family went from three to four in number. As much as we could, we were trying to keep you (you know who you are) from life-long April Fools jokes, and there you were a few minutes after midnight, cooperative as usual. Today my heart celebrates you and EVERYTHING you have added to my life. All my love and Happy Birthday (!!), Mom

Grandma in her Garden

My Mom loves to garden.  I call her Grandma sometimes because I have talked to my children about her for years and years. She is their grandma, my mom, Gwendolyn Boone Smith.  Gwendolyn who never had a middle name and didn’t need one because her first name was long enough for two. Grandma keeps saying […]

Death and Taxes

Two things that are said to be certain, and I add, equally unwelcome.  By taxes, I mean filing a tax return and then finding out that an enormous sum of money is owed.

I don’t even do the filing for our little family of two.  The husband does it with the help of a computer program.  It asks the questions and he fills in the blanks with our information as best he can.  Once in a while it does get confusing however, and whether it was human error or a computer glitch we can’t be sure.  A mistake was made and went unnoticed for a couple years and since it was a mistake in our favor, we wanted to correct it this year before filing. Back in April when it was due, we weren’t ready so the husband filed for an extension. The deadline was last Tuesday.

We all put off things we don’t like to do, so I am totally not mad at the husband. I actually thought he had done it because he did talk about it several times.  Monday before THE Tuesday, I came home from an evening meeting, ready to get to bed and he said the words that make my blood run cold every time I hear them.  “I’m going to prepare the tax return tonight. I need you to pull some files.”

We have two filing systems between us.  He keeps everything, in it’s original envelope, no matter how stuffed the file gets.  I throw everything away that I don’t think we need based on very little actual knowledge of what is needed.  Neither one of us can find anything.  Nevertheless, I always get asked where things are.  That’s when I pretend to riffle through the file cabinet for a minute and then run away when he’s not looking.  Really, I had to get to bed so I could go to work the next day.

I thought it would be all done by the time I got home the next day, D-day, but it was still going on.  There were questions, dates to be reckoned, receipts to be found, decisions to be made and folders and piles of relevant paper everywhere.  In the midst of it all, and at the height of the dread, I came to a realization that we could do better than this.  Maybe if I started now 2013 could be a different kind of year. I could have all the records ready, in one place.  Maybe we could be done in one night. How awesome would that be? (Very awesome.)

from the BRR
from the BRR

So I did start.  I went through the box of random receipts, the BRR, where three years worth of contents of purses and pockets were stored.  Did you know that they make those things with disappearing ink?  I have promised myself that I will not save another receipt without writing the category of the purchase, the price and the date on the top. I am on the learning curve and liking it.

The husband did finish the job – at 11:58 pm, because he didn’t want to wait until the last minute.  We owed money and it’s going to be a painful month.  I’m just sayin’… death and taxes.