I don’t want you all to think that’s it’s all gloom and doom and stress and worry at the House of Jello. Because, really, it’s not. In fact, at the moment, it couldn’t be more “not.” It’s a pleasant 87 degrees and sunny, with a slight breeze blowing across the porch. I can hear the sound of the waterfall in our fishpond out back, the lawn is nicely mowed (and trimmed), the phlox is blooming, as are the tulips and our late daffodils. Fritz is keeping watch on the street for me from his vantage point at the top step, and my beer is ice cold.
We’ve been working for two solid days on the house. And for those of your keeping a tally, no, the bathroom is not finished yet, and yes, it has been a year. Everything is operational, it’s the final touches that need to be done. We’re not so good on the final touches. Not when there are other projects calling our names …. And in a 1924 house that’s had a tough last couple of owners — the projects here scream at us.
But at some point you have to stop and smell the paint, or whatever. Actually, last year we finally painted the porch, so now it looks pretty good. And I don’t take enough time to sit out here and just enjoy what we have done. For some reason, we are always working ourselves to the point of exhaustion, and not really stopping to appreciate our work. What the hell? Where does that come from? I mean, I mentioned that we have a fishpond out back, and I must say it’s a big ‘un. A thousand gallons, in fact. I say that “we” put it in, but the majority of the actual digging was done by Big Brother, and my contribution consisted mostly of driving the wheelbarrow. Since it was installed, Unnamed Partner has done an amazing job planting around it. I have some photos somewhere; I’ll have to post them here. For now, this one of Fritz — who never hesitates to stop enjoy life — from last year will have to suffice. But I have to tell you, we don’t just sit out there very often. If friends come over, we like to cook out and we’ll often sit outside by the pond on the bluestone patio that we also put in ourselves a few years ago — again with help from family.
But the number of times that I have simply sat by the pond and watched the goldfish swim? I’m sure I could count that on one hand.
But I resolve to stop and appreciate what I have done. What is the point of a nice home if you’re always on the go and never stop to look around and enjoy. The porch floor is a nice blue — it makes me think of the beach, somehow. Everyone’s windows are open, and the laughter of my neighbors across the street just wafted over here, so that even Fritz turned his head in their direction (he loves our neighbors, of course!). Why do I only stop and relax when I “go away” somewhere? Why don’t I stop … at home?
Well, the beer is now finished, as are my pithy thoughts on this subject. I can hear Unnamed Partner inside banging the pots and pans as she begins to prepare her world famous white wine and garlic clam sauce. Friends are coming for dinner, the cardinals are singing their little red heads off, and I think it’s time for me to close the laptop.