Spring cleaning, done!

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Chocolate milk on my wall

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the new floor…

It’s that time of year when spring cleaning joins the line-up of regular chores. I don’t think spring has really arrived in this little corner of Alaska, never mind what the calendar says. But I’m ready to be out of winter mode, so I’m ignoring the chilly temps, and the fact that yesterday it snowed again. I’m just getting on with my list.

This year spring cleaning comes with a twist.

We’ve moved into our clinic housing twice in the past five months. The first time was in November. The second time was last weekend, after a total move-out the week before to have the flooring replaced.

Let me tell you, that was not in my game plan!

The community owns this clinic housing, provided to us as a benefit to working here, and to their credit, they maintain it nicely. I’m not sure of the processes at work…maybe there was grant funding that had to be used, or some other resource that was specified for maintenance work on these homes. Anyway, right after we moved in, back in November, we learned that the flooring of all six clinic homes was slated to be replaced this spring.

Alrighty then! Let’s just say that information motivated me to unpack very lightly.

Understand, I’m almost always a fan of new and improved, and I’m certainly grateful for any housing updates that come my way.

But, I didn’t foresee it would mean a total emptying out again, and being displaced for a week while the work was done. I had an unrealistic expectation of doing it room by room, sort of a vision of being able to move things from one room to another without moving out.

But nope, it was not to be. We emptied as much as we could into the garage, and the rest went into shipping containers, while we went back to temporary housing.

When I peeked in on the house last week, it looked like a construction zone. Equipment everywhere, flooring in various stages of being torn out and replaced. The appliances, the baseboards, even the toilets were removed so the new installation could be put in, wall to wall. And that’s as it should be.

While the furniture was out, we had a large accent wall painted, and that’s brought some much appreciated color into the every-room-in-the-house-off-white look.

We have new wood-look vinyl throughout the house, except in the two bedrooms, which have new carpet, installed in squares for easy replacement.

The dark floors look great, seams matched and neatly finished. The guys did a good job, and I tried to show a little extra appreciation with snacks and treats over the course of the week, in true Southern style. Southern women have a need to feed, I think. (I don’t know if it’s programmed at birth, or when that response is installed, but the reflex is automatic. People working? Bring food!) I think they got the message that I appreciated their efforts.

The past week has been all about restoring, touching up some walls with the off-white paint, adding a bit more of the accent color, cleaning up, and settling, again. (Putting fresh paint on walls is like a contagious virus…I see the finished look, and begin to think…hmmmm..what else needs a touch of color?)

Aside from the new floors and paint, the upside is that every surface has been wiped and refreshed. The process of ripping up the old material put a fine film of something over all the flat surfaces, so there’s pretty much no inch of this space that hasn’t felt the swipe of my cloth, and a little disinfectant sprayed on to add to the feeling of clean.

I’m one of those odd people, I like to clean, I’ll admit that. But even I don’t usually do my whole space in a week. Looks like I’m on the ball this year, thanks to this floor project. And because the appliances were all moved out to accommodate the work, even the space under the fridge and stove are clean. Aaahhh!

So, if you’re looking for motivation for spring cleaning, just go ahead and replace your floors. I guarantee you, the one will induce the other! Nothing like a little remodeling to get you moving!

Happy spring, happy cleaning, and happy me…new paint on the walls, new floors underfoot.

I’m pooped, but at least for the coming week the chores are already done! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring, glorious spring!

“Let it rain on some days,
Let yourself shiver on some cold nights,
So when it’s Spring you’ll know why it was all worth going through.”
― Sanhita Baruah

After a snowier-than-usual winter, this week brought some sunny days, and with the first day of spring, a spring in my step as well. Sunshine will do that for you, when you live in a rain forest! 🙂

You’d think that in SE Alaska, snow would be common. You would be wrong, at least at sea level, and in this small region of the state. Rain is common, storms are common, but not snow. This year my boots got to walk all over town as I had the chance to wear them most days the past six weeks. I’ve turtle-necked my way through, and now, as April approaches,  I’m looking forward to shedding a layer or two. It will be nice to put away gloves and scarves, and walk out without the extras.

As winter leaves, I feel the flow of spring-time energy. I picked up a paint brush yesterday to freshen up a wall or two; such a simple thing, but exciting after a hiatus of tackling projects. Spreading color on the walls was therapeutic and nourishing, a visible illustration of what I felt happening in my spirit.

I’ve filled the pantry, and after two years of minimal cooking, I’m trying new things, dishing up old favorites, and using cookware that’s been out of sight and out of mind.

I’m reading again, books that speak to my heart, and some new finds prompting me to thought.

I’m thinking of the curious combination of spring strength and softness…the strength it takes for green leaves and tiny flowers to push into the sunlight and the softness of the  early morning sun on my face as I walk to work. I think about the strength it takes to keep moving and growing through all the phases of life and the softness of heart that comes with experience and age. (Sometimes hearts harden with age, but I’m choosing not to do that.)

Strength and softness: that’s the combination I want in my life. I love strength of spirit, will, and courage. I love the softness of kindness, generosity, and gentleness.

Spring reminds me that the harshness of winter is disappearing, and the sweetness of the next season is here.

Seasons exist in all realms of life, and seasons of energy, creativity, and accomplishment are no less real than the seasons of the calendar. Manifesting in different ways, the results are sometimes visible, sometimes not.

I’ve learned that human seasons rarely match up with the calendar. I’ve learned that sometimes you can push yourself into the next phase of life, and sometimes, like a flower waiting to bloom, you have to wait for your next season to arrive. Some things you just can’t hurry.

I’ve learned that you can’t force what isn’t ready. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

When you’re ready for a new season, it will appear. In good time, but not before you’ve done the work to be ready to move forward.

The past couple of years have been quiet, times of growth and discovery. And those times are vital. All humans need time to percolate a bit, time to let life flow around and over, time to make sense of what was, what is, and what’s changed.

I sometimes call it wandering in the wilderness.

Good to do, but also good to come out of.

No epiphany required for the sunshine of springtime to remind me, it’s time to get busy. Time to paint, and plant an herb or two, and a flower or two, time to create in the kitchen, time to shift to a new season.

And while my hands are busy, it’s good to practice the values of strength and softness.

How about you? Are you feeling the pulse of springtime? Tell me about it? I’d love to know what spring sunshine prompts in you!

~ Sheila