It has been three years since I began tentatively to improve our home. My husband began before me. A confirmed pack rat, he began throwing out old magazines in his cave (aka "workshop") where old chairs and mismatched rugs and cat hair don't deter sons and other males from gathering in the midst of machinery and woodland supplies.
It was a little intimidating to notice him making real headway. 'Am I a bigger pack rat than Terry?' I wondered. It took a while for me to be honest - the answer was yes, definitely. Oh dear.
I did not begin by reducing my stuff - rather I kept adding to it. But I did replace my windows with Windowmaster manufactured and installed double hung windows in place of 25-year-old deteriorating ones. It made a big difference: in looks, in air conditioning and heat retention, and in my satisfaction to be finally paying attention to my home.
I've lived in my home for 26 of its 28 years. How easy it was to ignore the forces of time and wear and let things run down. It is only now when my home is looking great again that I am aware of what my deteriorating home said about me. I wasn't paying attention.
I wasn't paying attention in too many areas of my life. No organization, no focus, no down time. As my sister says, "You can tell the minute you step inside the door" about what is going on with the people who live in a house. Wow.
I had ignored my own needs as well. I wasn't playing enough or taking care of myself physically. Then two years ago I treated myself to the only material thing I really wanted - a big TV. Lee Whedbee from Domes Audio-Visual came out and oversaw installation of a big TV with surround sound and I absolutely love my big toy. At about the same time I signed up at Body Structures and began strength training which has made the biggest physical difference in my life.
I believe there is a real tie between mind,
body, soul and home.
I was making progress in my life while I was fixing up the house. I believe there is a real tie between mind, body, soul and home.
My housekeeper, Suzie Eppley, nudged me to tackle the clutter, which had to be faced before Carpet Max could save my floors. Two rooms had been totally sacrificed to clutter, others partly. Suzie kept encouraging me to spend a few hours putting some things in the attic, donating others. Finally we got on a roll.
It was time after 16 years of advertising Jerry Harris's services to have his Case Handyman begin its magic. The men replaced doors and a bathroom sink, removed wallpaper, painted, are adding a new front porch, etc., generally making an incredible difference. There's nothing they can't do.
Arlette Spane Jones at Fabric Galleria did draperies and curtains and new window seat cushions that I just stand and admire. Jo Ann Green of Interiors by Jo Ann who specializes in furniture and accessory placement, showing off what we already have to its best advantage, will tie everything together. I am in awe of decorators' abilities to see the possibilities instantly when I have to actually push the piano across the room to know what it will look like! I still love the excitement of my sun room, which my buddy Sondra Cooke of Creative Designs by Sondra urged me to paint yellow years ago.
Mr. Fish of Professional Painting made that happen and it's still the centerpiece of my house.
As I write this I realize how many of our advertisers have helped me and how much fun it has been to work with them. I've become aware over the years of what a difference hiring an expert makes. Each of us does our thing with such ease. I see what a struggle some people have writing a simple flyer and that comes easily to me. It is the same for what they do. What is easy for others through their natural talents is difficult for me. I've learned to let them do it.
When I wanted (needed desperately) a new mattress, I relied on Dave Ostrand at Bedroom Discounters for advice that led to a wonderful night's sleep. Now I'm into new accent pieces, or like-new. Pat Russell's Classy Way Better Homes and Bargains Consignment store had a fantastic chair that looks brand new and fits perfectly into my living room.
Less glamorous but very important - I had U.S. Termite and Moisture Control treat a moisture problem and begin a termite contract. Why ever did I put that off? Mike runs such an ethical, professional business, it gives me peace of mind to just let them do what needs to be done. Having let such important things go and yet be able to get everything under control just shows it is possible to get a grip, regardless of the neglect, whether on the home or ourselves.
Who would ever think that after years of being a couch potato I'd be in my second year working out at Body Structures? And I have begun a third year under CPA Rock White's guidance, learning how to let my team run The Shopper while I plan its future. It went hand in hand, getting myself in shape - mind, body, and soul - and getting my house in shape.
And now? Several years ago Barry Hobbs of Addition Associates did a design for a garage/apartment addition for us. His degree is in architecture so it will look like part of the original house when we finally get around to it. I wonder what it will mean in my life, given my mind, body, soul and home theory, when we do this? I can hardly wait to find out.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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