Remodeling on Next to Nothing

Hello! I have been able to do a little more to my kitchen. I have started covering the exposed beam that runs between the kitchen and dining room. I'm using old baseboards from my basement.


The next project will be to remove the plaster from the ceiling. I had hoped to be able to put a new ceiling right over the old plaster, however, the plaster is too crumbly. It continues to fall, little pieces at a time, onto my counters and floor, so the plaster has to go.

I am also waiting on a call from a friend who knows an electrician who may be able to do the electric work for a reasonable price 🙂. Barring any complications I might have a new kitchen ceiling and no electrical problems by winter!

I am not terribly frustrated by the slow progress. I knew going into this remodel that I wouldn't have much extra money to spend and because of that things would move very slow. While I wish I had more of the kitchen completed, I am happy that progress is being made. Slowly but surely this kitchen will get done 🙂.

So far I have spent about $50-$75 on the remodel. A neighbor recently moved to Florida and gave me the extra drywall he had from a project and I think I have enough wood to create a unique ceiling. I have been pretty lucky. The electrical work and cabinets will, most likely, be the largest expense in this project.

Until next time friends! May all your projects turn out fabulous!

What’s Next?

My new book is out!
Look for it on Amazon or createspace.com restore 😊. I am super excited!!

Now that my book is finished I am not sure what to do with myself. I have all sorts of ideas but I'm not sure where to start.
My kitchen remodel lingers and I have some ideas for a new book and art projects, but where to begin? Have any of you had a lot of things to do but find your self sitting on the couch binge watching Netflix?

Growing Up

My daughter is my only child. When she started preschool it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, Kindergarten was harder. Kindergarten meant she was growing up. Yesterday my little kindergartener graduated from fifth grade. She is no longer an elementary school kid. My heart is heavy.

I am trying to figure out why her moving to middle school is having such an effect on me. Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy that she is doing well in school right now and is able to move up a grade, but at the same time, there is a cloud of profound sadness swirling around this milestone. Is this something every parent feels?

I am proud of my Baby Girl! She is growing into a wonderful young woman. I just wish that time didn’t seem to go so fast. Here is my girl,

One minute she was making goofy faces at me and singing into fake microphones the next minute she is helping with her baby cousin and swinging a sledgehammer during a kitchen demo. Kids grow up so fast! I sometimes wish I could have those little years back, but I know that the middle years will be just as interesting and challenging as the little years.

As much as I wish for those little years, I am just as excited to see what kind of person my Baby Girl grows to be.

Confused

Have you ever made a decision thinking it was a good one and then a week or a month later began to think maybe it was not such a good decision? That’s where I am at right now.

I took a promotion at work with some trepidation. I had been offered the job twice before and declined each time. I didn’t feel prepared to take the job. My daughter was still very young. She is a few years older now. The time I can spend with my daughter is very precious. I am lucky that I have a very supportive sister and mother who will care for my daughter anytime I ask. Being a single mother I worry about babysitters and child care services, I am not always trusting when it comes to my baby girl. Not to mention the money those services cost. When I was offered the job this time I considered it briefly before accepting. I asked for a 90 day probation period, I was given 60 but told they would prefer 30. After almost 30 days I spoke with the owner and received a salary offer that wasn’t quite what I hoped but was sufficient. I waited a few days and then accepted the offer. It has been 4 days and I am now wondering if I made the wrong choice. The scope of the work is quite a bit more than I have handled in several years. I am capable of doing the work, I just am not sure that I want to do the work. I was also hired with an assistant. She got a new job and will be leaving, no new assistant to be hired at this time. Looking to the future I wonder if a new assistant will be hired and worry that if one is not hired that I will not be able to keep up with the work my assistant did as well as my own work. I want to be fair to the Center Director and the owner and let them know how I am feeling. The truth is I am not sure I really want this job. I thought I did, but second thoughts are creeping around inside my head.

I feel like I am in one of those cartoons where the character has to decide between doing two things and the little angel and the tiny devil pop up on each shoulder. Instead of an angel and a devil, my little people are my daughter and my checkbook.

My checkbook is constantly yelling at me about the bills I have to pay. I feel like there are alarm bells ringing all the time, “IT’S TIME TO PAY ANOTHER BILL”! That damn checkbook always reminding me that there never seems to be enough money to pay for every necessity, every bill and still have a little fun. When I think maybe I have bit off a bit more than I can chew by taking on this new job my checkbook begins to whisper in my ear. Well, it starts whispering and then begins to scream a list of everything I am responsible for paying. House payment, gas, electric, car insurance, car maintenance, gas for the car, groceries, pet care, student loans, medical insurance, co-pays, clothes, shoes, camps for my daughter, debt relief program because at one time I couldn’t control my spending, Dad’s funeral bill that, according to my Aunt, should have been paid off awhile ago, the kitchen remodel that I started (and now have no time to keep working on because I am working more hours), school field trips, and next year school uniforms and the list just keeps going and going until I feel like I am drowning. Oh, how that checkbook makes me feel so damn guilty!

On the other shoulder is my beautiful, smart, loving daughter. She is backed up by my writing wants and needs, as well as at least one of her aunts. When I was trying to figure out if I should take this job I considered the impact it would have on my daughter. She is my priority, always. I thought about it and the bulk of my working hours are when she’s in school, with the exception of school breaks. I talked to her about it and she was all for me taking the job. Now I am left wondering what I am going to do with her for part of the summer. She has 3 weeks of day camp, but then what? Summer break is 9 weeks long. I am working extra hours and I feel like I cannot make some school functions and as though I am not spending much time with her, not like I was able to before. Despite the fact that I am at work mostly during the day while she is in school, I feel that I am taking something away from her. Then there is my writing, something that I really want to make a priority in my life. By the time I get off of work I am so tired that I am ready for bed after dinner is made. There are dishes in my sink and I haven’t done laundry in 2 weeks. One of my daughter’s aunts told me that she wouldn’t accept the job if she had social security like I do, she would stay home with her kids. If you are new to my blog I receive benefits from social security until my daughter turns 16 because my husband died 6 years ago. I can understand the aunt’s point. It was my intention to only work part time until I was no longer eligible for the social security and then go back to work full time. I don’t really care about money. My daughter isn’t going to remember all of the things that I buy her but she will remember the times we spent together. For this reason, it was a difficult decision to go to work full time. A decision that I am now struggling with.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things, my dilemma with work is small potatoes, but I could really use some advice. I feel like I have been deceptive to the owner and the Center Director and unfair to myself and my daughter. I am conflicted because I want to do well at this job and not give up so easily and yet I want to be able to give as much of my time to my daughter as I can. I don’t have another half that can pick up the slack for me when I fall short. I have a wonderful family that helps out, but it isn’t the same. I have roughly 2 months to make a decision before I will lose my social security benefits. I feel that taking those 2 months would be very unfair of me, so I am trying to do my best and decide what it is I want and make a decision within the next week. I am so very confused.

 

Change is in the Air

Hello! It has been awhile since I have written anything :(. Big things have been happening around my house :)! I am considering a promotion at work, I have started the process of publishing my second children’s book, I have started writing a for all ages book(sort of) and I have contacted a plumber to try to get the ball rolling again on my kitchen remodel. Lots of things happening!!!

I am really excited about my upcoming children’s book! It is called No More Hugs and is super cute! I get to meet with my illustrator, John Olmstead, towards the end of May to go over some of the rough drawings. I am hoping everything will be completed by the end of June so I can have it published by September. YAY!!!! I have also begun work on a book about enduring the loss of loved ones. The book is my story of loss and how I found my new normal. It is a hard story to write so it may take me awhile. I think it’s time to write it though, maybe someone else can benefit from my perspective.

The plumber is going to come to give me an estimate on moving my dishwasher sometime this week. I am not sure why the dishwasher was across the kitchen from the sink and not next to the sink in the first place. If I find out that it can’t be moved I think I will have it completely removed. I have found this amazing piece at a great local store that is handmade. It’s a bit rustic looking and I think would fit great in my house! With a kid and animals I don’t want to feel like things have to be pristine. I want that loved/used look that let’s people know I like to cook and makes my house feel comfortable and inviting. I have never felt comfortable in houses with formal living rooms and formal dining rooms. You know, the ones with the furniture you are afraid to sit on because you might break it or get it dirty? The houses where you feel like you can’t relax and sink into the furniture, instead you sit on the edge of the couch or chair to make sure you don’t somehow mess it up. I am glad that I can start that project within the next month! I told myself that I am not in a hurry and can be patient, but I am ready to start the next phase of this remodel!

I was recently offered a promotion at work. I have been considering taking the position for about a month. During this time I have been training for the job on a probation period. I think I will be decent at the job. My struggle with taking the promotion has several layers. Layer #1: I have had social security benefits since my husband died six years ago. This has allowed me to work part-time and be home more for my daughter. By taking this job I won’t always be able to take off work for day time school functions. On the flip side, I will get off most nights between 5 and 6. Which means I will be home to make my daughter dinner and help her with her homework. If I officially take the job I will lose the social security. This means if the job doesn’t work out there is no getting that back, I will have to get another job. Another job that may not be as flexible with lunch breaks and child illnesses. Another job that may not allow me to pick my daughter up from school and bring her back to sit in the office until I get off work. This is a scary prospect. An unlikely one, but one that must be considered.

Layer #2: I like teaching and working part-time as a tutor allows me to teach. Becoming the Director of Education will not leave me much time to teach. I have spoken with the owner and the Center Director and I will be able to teach a couple of hours a week. It isn’t the same as being a teacher, but at least it’s something.

Layer #3: I like to write and would really enjoy making that my full-time job. Taking this job will make writing more of a part-time job. On the other hand, taking this job will make it easier to pay for my illustrator. At least I think it will. I have not yet spoken to the owner about salary. During my probation time I am considered hourly. I have an appointment tomorrow to discuss salary. I am crossing my fingers and sending out as many prayers as I can that we can come to an agreement about salary that will make it worth giving up the short-term financial stability that I have with the social security. Social security isn’t much and there are some months when I wonder if I am going to be able to pay all of the bills and put food on the table, but it is a guaranteed amount of money coming in every month. Taking this job means losing that stability. Which in turn means that I need my salary to be more than what I get from Social Security after taxes to make it worth losing the benefits and the ability to be available for my daughters school functions.

Layer #4: Since 2011 my priorities have changed. That year I lost my husband, my grandmother and my Dad. Making money has never been first on my priority list, but that year made me realize that life is too short and too precious to not spend time with the people I love. My daughter comes first. She always will. I realize though that money is needed to provide for my daughter and living on social security and a part-time job does not always provide her with opportunities to experience life and learn new things in interesting ways outside of the classroom. As I said earlier, there are times when paying for food trumps paying the electric bill. Taking this job might mean that I can take her on vacation or send her to a summer camp. It might mean that she can join after school programs like track or take a martial arts class or purchase the drum set she wants so she can learn to play the drums like she’s been wanting to do for a year now.

That’s it! Big things happening here! Decisions to be made and lessons to be learned. Life is bittersweet and losses sometimes happen with gains. Until next time my friends! I hope your life is filled with a great mix of ups and downs. May the downs not be too low or too long and may you always be grateful for the ups and everything in between. As someone wise once said, “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have.” Lots of love friends.

Feeling Overwhelmed

My life is not horrible. I have, however, found it a bit rough these last few weeks. Today all of it poured out in this poem. I don’t really know if it makes sense, then again I’m not sure poems are always supposed to make sense 🙂

I have no voice

Not a single choice

Breath is caught in my throat

But the page sings every word I wrote

There is a pain in my chest

I feel that I cannot rest

I am not as perfect as can be

I am not a perfect person, no, not me

I am bleeding inside

No, you cannot tell, because I hide

Sometimes I just need to be alone

Need so bad I feel it in every bone

I don’t want your hugs

Don’t need your drugs

I just need, for a little while, to not be needed

I cannot breathe until the noise is receded

I do not mean to maim or hurt

My words are not meant to be curt

Not meant to cause pain

I would prefer them to fall soft like rain

But I have let them build for too long

They fly from my mouth much too strong

I listen and I give

Because that’s the best way to live

I try not to complain but my effort falls flat

So, I stuff the words back down until my mouth is fat

I cannot speak

My will grows weak

The words go flying

My strength dying

I cannot help you

Because right now I need help too

Yes ma’am, no ma’am, I am tired of compliance

I… just… want… silence

I need the soft sound of rain

To clear away the pain

 

It is amazing how words written on a page can help a person start to feel better. Like I said, my life isn’t horrible. Sometimes, it just gets a little overwhelming. It’s okay to give what you have, but, as I am learning, recharging and taking care of oneself is also needed. Lots of love my friends 🙂

Breathe

Have you ever felt like life is just throwing things at you to see how you will cope? The last month has been like that for me. I feel that I am doing well and doing horribly by turns. Last week I believed I was doing quite well and then work pulled the rug out from under me and I began questioning myself. This week I met with my illustrator and I felt everything might actually be falling into place. Then I got a call from daughter’s school. Disrespect of a guest teacher and refusal to follow directions. At least she wasn’t fist fighting on the playground.

I thought,  it could most definitely be worse! I have had worse, so I know. I found myself sobbing at my dining room table, even though I know it could be worse. I think sometimes when life throws everything at you at once, it gets too overwhelming to pull the good from the not so good. When this happens and life gets complicated it helps to step back and breathe or in my case have a good cry. Sometimes, even the strong need weak moments. I’m not sure if I am strong but my friends and family tell me I am, so I’ll take my weak moments and use them strengthen myself. 

I don’t know if any of this makes sense. It’s just a thought in my tired brain today, one I felt like sharing. Much love to all!

Division & Unity

I am tired. I wasn’t meant for so much worry, I don’t have a strong enough constitution for it. That’s probably why I was born in the time period I was born in, why I was born to a lower middle class white family in a tiny town in northern Illinois. Don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of worry as a kid. I was picked on a lot for being overweight, having glasses, being poor, which was evidenced by all the hand me down clothes I wore. It wasn’t cool back then to wear “old” clothes. I just didn’t fit in with most of the other kids. On the other hand, I made some really awesome friends of the other “unpopular” kids. I am still very close with several of them. All of that was a far cry from what other kids went through growing up.Kids in war-torn countries or the kids in Africa that were starving as my mother kept telling me when I didn’t want to eat the salmon cake she slid onto my plate at dinner. I was safe in my little bubble.

POP! I grew up and the rest of the world made its way into my field of vision. Now, I am a grown up with a kid! Now I see the world without the rose-colored glasses and I worry. People are mean, uncaring and often times blinded to the plight of others. Since the presidential election last November I have felt a sense of unreality. I must be in a movie or a television show. The kind where everything is bleak and gloomy, at least until the hero steps out of the rubble and forms a band of other unlikely heroes. Together they defy the enemy and save their country. This isn’t a movie, though. People are being hurt and are frightened. Resistance is a key word that is popping up everywhere and it’s scary to think that this my country and not one that I see from the safety of my television screen. I see horrible links on social media and I am tired. I have a ten-year-old daughter, so I suppose being tired isn’t an excuse for closing my eyes. I am choosing to pick up the mantle of the quiet protestor, a doer of good in my own way. Here are my words and my thoughts on what is going on in my country today.

I keep seeing people post about how we need to stop the division of our country and that this same thing happens every 4 years, so why should we have our collective panties in a bunch. They say this like the people protesting are the ones who divided us. Here is what I say: we, the protesters, of our country’s new president did not divide our country, the new president did. He started the division on the campaign trail and continued it in his inauguration speech. He started it when he said it was ok to put your hands on a woman without her permission. He started it when he blamed every Muslim for terrorist attacks. He started it when he blamed every African-American person for gang violence. He started it when he blamed every Latino person for the drugs coming into our country. Our newly sworn in president started this division, not the people who protest. Yes, there are those out there who are letting their anger get the best of them and that needs to stop. The rest of us are just trying to open the eyes of those who refuse to see. Women’s rights are important not divisive. Civil rights are important not divisive. Human dignity is important not divisive. Environmental protection is important not divisive. If we keep silent then hate and fear grow. If we raise our voices for the protection of our fellow humans and the planet we share it is not divisive! It is a call for love and peace. We want bridges not walls. The next time you want to tell someone to be quiet and stop their divisive talk, because what is done is done, try listening instead. Really hear what they are saying, because out of most people you will hear a cry for love and kindness not hate and ignorance. Love not hate, bridges not walls. These words are my new mantra. 

Blogger Recognition Award

Hello, everyone out there in the blogisphere! I have been given the great honor of receiving a nomination for the Blogger Recognition Award! Thanks to Fed’s Life for the nomination!

Rules:

  1. Write a post to show your award.
  2. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and share the link to their blog.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog got started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Nominate 15 bloggers of your choice for the award.
  6. Comment on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to your post.

How did youmakeyourown get started? I started this blog as a way to cope with the loss of my husband. Writing has always been a great help to me, I find that I can say the things that are on mind better through writing. The blog has continued as way to throw out my thoughts on loss, life, and the world around me. I also indulge in poetry from time to time :).

My advice to new bloggers is: 1. write what you know or what you want to know. Write about what makes the fire in your heart grow, what you are passionate about. 2. Don’t stop writing. Write even when you feel you don’t have much to say. Just keep writing because you never know who your words will touch.

My nominees:

  1. The Daily Norm
  2. The Book Wars
  3. Inspiration Indulgence
  4. Hot Chocolate and books
  5. The Shameful Sheep
  6. Yummers Tummers
  7. Annie’s Cooking Lab
  8. Melting Ice Towers
  9. Home made with Mess
  10. Beauty Beyond Bones
  11. Be Inspired!
  12. I’m Done Being The Fat Girl
  13. Scale it Simple
  14. Mocking Bird 2002
  15. Dysfunctional Literacy

Learning to Dance Alone

January 12th, 2011. This was the start of a really horrible year for me and my family. It has been six years since that date and in those years I have never felt more despair, anger and gut wrenching fear. In these past six years I have also felt myself rise from all of the fear and anger to become stronger and have more love and acceptance for those around me. And I would trade it all for one more day with him. Is that selfish or stupid? Possibly, but I would be lying if I said otherwise.

I have learned to dance in this life without my partner. I had to learn the steps by myself. Even as I wrote that sentence I know it isn’t true. I had and still have so many people who have taught me and continue to teach me new steps to this dance. There are many days that I dance alone, though, because sometimes you have to be your own teacher and your own dance partner.

With all of that said, this post isn’t about me and my dance, today it’s about teaching the steps to others.

The last few months and even days of 2016 were gut wrenchingly difficult for some of my friends. They have lost the ones they love. Words have been said to them that, at this time, are hollow and meaningless. I know, I heard those words six years ago and I have said them in the last several months and days to my friends.  They have also heard the words “I’m here if you need anything” and “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you”. These words are worse than the “I’m sorry for your loss” phrase. We say them because we don’t know what else to say, but the truth is the person or people grieving don’t know what they need. Scratch that, they do know what they need, they just can’t have it and there is no way you can give it to them. What they need is their loved one back, but that can’t happen, not in the way that they desire at this very moment.

The words have been said, the services have been completed and now life flows forward. Now you have to find a new way of living this life, you must learn a new dance. The first year is the worst because you have to celebrate all the holidays and surprising life moments without the ones you love. You don’t know how to dance without them because it has been so long since you’ve had to, so you stumble and fall your way through it and the whole time the music keeps playing as if nothing has happened. Remember this, it may feel like you are all alone and that nobody cares that you are hurting, but that is not true, you just cannot see them clearly through the fog that covers the dance floor. They are there and they are helping you when you stumble, listening to your sobs and offering comforting hands and words and they pick you up when you fall. You may not remember them later as the fog begins to clear, but they were there, teaching the new steps that your heart refuses to accept at this moment.

The coming years will be difficult and you will fall many, many times. The steps to this new dance, this new way of living, are difficult to learn. As you learn to dance alone I want you to remember,  you will smile again, laugh again, and even enjoy life again. There is no shame in that, but do it on your own terms. Do not let someone else tell you that you have grieved enough. Do not let you hold yourself in the fog of grief, either. Remember too, that when you feel like you are falling down reach out, because there are people who will hold you up until you can stand again. You are not alone.

The coming years will be difficult and you will have to learn how to dance once more. Until then, just see to your basic needs, these are the primary steps to this new dance. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, eat, breathe and put one foot in front of the other. I love you all!