...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I told you we excavated. With no walk to the front door, we are now keeping house guests at bay.

The excavation proved to be a very dirrrrrty project. And still is. We experienced a severe drought this summer, so imagine loads of dry dust flying and landing on any and every horizontal surface – on our cars, in the window sills, onto the roof, etc. – then multiply that times a kajillion. Then picture the kids tracking almost all of it into the house. Yep. I’m living in Awesome Town. In order to remain somewhat sane, I’ve completely let go of my Type A cleaning regimen. It’s useless at this point.

Letting go. Now there’s something worth talking about. I’ve done a lot of that recently. Renovation deadlines? Let ‘em go. Sleeping baby expectations? Let ‘em go. Laundry in the wash, in the dryer and in piles on the dryer? Let it go. Showering? Let it go. So, DUST ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE? Easy. Let it go.

Renovating a fixer-upper, being surprised with baby #3 and quitting my day job to stay home with the kids, while all very rewarding, are mutating my innate micromanaging nature. Okay, so in my mind I’m still micromanaging but in reality it ain’t happenin’. And maybe that’s a good thing. I mean, it’s very obvious that someone or something is trying to teach me to cut myself some slack. To just be. To take my time. To enjoy the process. To enjoy the day. To take it all in. All of it. Every last speck of dust.

I’m trying.

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images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

20 Comments

21.September.2012

We had to deal with some crazy dust last summer. After a freak hurricane flooded our entire town in Upstate NY last August, we were left dealing with mountains of silt the was left behind. As the area slowly dried up and the silt and mud was cleaned out of the house, we were left with a very fine air borne silt dust that covered EVERYTHING. It’s amazing how your standard of ‘acceptable’ living conditions changes in a situation like that; clean sheets are supposed to feel gritty, it’s normal to rinse off all the pots, pans, plates and silverware before using them, the dog is -supposed- to feel dusty, the counter tops are always dusty, it’s normal for that sediment to filter to the bottom of your drinking glass when you are finished drinking. I can promise the first good rainfall improves the situation to a degree but real relief comes after the first decent snowfall traps it all. Though I am still finding silt in strange and random places. Like inside that bottle of bleach that shouldn’t be orange. <3

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21.September.2012

Hello,
I’ve only discovered your site a couple of days ago, and immediately became a fan! Love your taste in color and design. I am working on painting my home but can’t decide on a brown shade for my master bed and bath. It’s small with no windows, and the only natural light is a door that leads to the backyard pool. Can you suggest a color/colors for me? I love the colors in your previous home. I have decided to paint most of the my house a similar gray. Loving your new home and can’t wait to see the hardscaping and landscaping. Thanks for being an inspiration.
-Mal-

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22.September.2012

Well, at least the roof looks good. There’s an ad on TV here in Australia, for metal roofs, of people coming out of their houses to collect the newspaper, and being completely waylaid by just staring and admiring their roof. Maybe that’s what you could do when the mess inside is getting to you! I know its hard to let go, I’m trying to, what with a toddler who just keeps messing it all up again. My motto at the moment is that housework is never finished, so stop trying to finish it. Barest minimum.

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22.September.2012

Will you be laying sod down to get rid of the dust ASAP? Or do you have to endure until grass seed grows? THe results will be worth it in the end but the process is painful. Speaking of grass, I think some spiky native grasses would look really cool in your front planter–they would match the style of the house really well!

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replied on September 22nd, 2012

No sod. We’ll be renting an aerator and spreading seed. Glutton for punishment. Ha!

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replied on September 22nd, 2012

Have you considered a chamomile lawn rather than grass? From what I have heard it is more drought tolerant than the average lawn. :)

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replied on September 24th, 2012

Honestly, we haven’t even considered a chamomile lawn. I haven’t really been exposed to them. Even though it would be more drought tolerant, is it hard-wearing for lots of kids running around on it nearly every day? That’s what our yard will see a lot of.

We actually have a neighbor across the street who is a retired landscaper {score!}. He is stoked that we are addressing the lawn as it was never touched by the previous owners. That being said, he isn’t one of those landscapers that promotes pesticides and such. He has all these little tips and tricks that he’s more than willing to divulge. He suggested a hardy grass seed mix so I think we’ll be using that. I think he’s even more excited about our new yard than we are!

22.September.2012

Oh, I sympathize! We’re just emerging from a summer of miserable dust, clanking noise from 7 a.m. through dinner, and diesel fumes from work on our neighborhood’s water lines. Oh yeah, and blasting, lots and lots of blasting into the solid rock on our mountain ledge. Not fun, especially because I work at home. When the roads are finally repaved next week, the dust should finally abate.

It’s good that you’re being gentle with yourself and your kids. That’s wisdom, to understand what you should let go–something worth remembering as your lives settle into easier rhythms. Congratulations to you for being able to step back from the situation and release old habits that aren’t suited to current circumstances! (I hope that doesn’t sound condescending; it’s absolutely not meant to.)

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22.September.2012

Did I ever mention that I day dream about your house and pretend that it is mine? LOL. AND I have been waiting for this day FOREVER!!! I was hoping that you would start from scratch when it came to the yard… AND you did!!! I am sooo happy!! I can’t wait to see what comes next. BTW: your little girl is so dang cute too…. just thought you should know :)

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22.September.2012

Such good perspective. I think we all have to learn this sometime… I’m learning but I’ve got a long way to go :)

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22.September.2012

My rule that I would tell stay at homes is pick your battles. Pick where to spend your energy or you will be a big ball of stress.

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22.September.2012

Can’t wait to see what ideas you have to make the exterior more exciting. It’s a bit of a brick shaped brick house at the moment, but I know you will make it seem like so much more!

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23.September.2012

I love your honesty about you home and family. Even when we KNOW we are blessed it’s hard to feel that way every day. Take a moment each day to reflect on what you have: A new house that allows your creative juices to flow; 3 beautiful children to nourish, protect, and love; a home that is being transformed by your own talents and those of your loving, hard-working husband; and a “family” of followers on your great website. Keep up the good work!

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replied on September 24th, 2012

You are so right.

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23.September.2012

The underdog is coming to life! Just looks a thousand percent better on the outside … even with a dirt lawn. I understand about letting things go… it is hard. … but your blog is named house tweaking and not house twitching. :) It will be beautiful, and watching it all come together is fun.

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24.September.2012

I’m here to tell you “letting it go” is a GOOD THING! Believe me when I tell you 20 years will go by, the kids will be grown and you will wonder where it all went! Let it go, take every moment of each day and savor it….be with the kids, doing and exploring, teaching and learning….All too soon they are out there on their own, which is what we want for them, but if you spent those days cleaning and obsessing over perfection you will have missed their childhood and your time as a mother! And althoug you will ALWAYS be their mother….you will NOT ALWAYS be the one they will turn to later!

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replied on September 24th, 2012

Great advice! The closer I get to 40 the less I worry about cleaning and the more I think about making the most of each day and soaking up the pitter-patter of little feet and baby belly laughs. My guess is in 20 years I won’t look back and wish we would have gotten “XX” project done before “XX” deadline or that I would have cleaned more often. I’m guessing I’ll wish I would have spent more time with the kids while I had the chance.

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Oh Dana, I totally feel your pain. We’re working on excavating our back yard and we’re living in a gravel pit. http://ourhumbleabowedblog.com/2012/09/20/its-a-cougar-no-wait/ I too have given up trying to keep it dust free. Vacuuming twice a week or so (or when necessary) is all that’s happening. Hopefully you’ll get some landscaping done to help cut down on it. We have to wait until spring.

Good luck!

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28.May.2014

[…] It actually sloped toward the house. After talking with a neighbor who happens to be a landscaper, we had the yard excavated in the fall of 2012 and started from scratch. We had new concrete walks installed, completely […]

24.June.2014

[…] *http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/09/21/stranded-in-the-desert/ […]




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