May is just blasting through this year's calendar with all kinds of wind, storms, rain, and fanfare. I find it difficult again to really focus on any one aspect of the month, to really progress toward my own goals, to see a lot of improvement...
Until last Friday.
And actually, I woke up to help around here and see my son off to his job, and I actually thought... "Will I manage to accomplish anything? Or... since it is Friday, will I do that thing where you just wait until Monday to actually start living, dieting, cleaning, whatevering." Nope. I started (and accomplished and finished) Friday. My phone rang with the generic Game of Thrones Ringtone (a whole different rant if you are one of the GOT fans who followed the show all these years to the eighth season of questions).
It was Laura, a thirty-something Amish girl from a farm about an hour from here. She and I had been talking about doing some work up at the other house where the break-in had happened. She remarked her day's work had been a "no-show" and that she had the phone (they don't own one but borrow a cell phone from someone). She wondered if we could make an appointment to work. And then the aurora of possible dreams hit. I heard myself say as I sat there in my nightgown, "I could come get you today, and we could work here."
So in a matter of minutes I was on the road, the back roads to LaPlata and picking up three Amish unmarried sisters who said they would come and help me clean. The day was simply wonderful. Simply wonderful.
We laughed and reminisced about my parents first thing. They had actually been to my house when my parents were alive, and they were excited to help me clean. They talked about their memories of my mom and dad and the candy, stops at McDonald's and other kind things they recalled about them. Of course, they then had me at hello.
Their names were Laura, Millie, and Lizzie. And I loved the day I spent with them. I learned about their travels, which are basically extensive. They hire drivers and take vacations, and best of all, these three sisters attend a "Single Girls' Reunion" every single summer that is held somewhere in the USA for Amish women between the ages of 18 and .... no upper limit. They said they have women in their 80's. The only requirement is the woman cannot have ever been married. So... they have been to Niagara Falls, to Pennsylvania, to the Western Four-Corners, to the Canadian borders, to Ohio... and they were looking forward to this summer's trip. I asked what they do at these get-togethers, and they said they sing, play games, talk about recipes, do handwork, go for walks, eat great food prepared by the local Amish, bring in supplies and vegetables to share... Doesn't that sound wonderful?
And then when we arrived, they began by cleaning out my car as they got out of it, bringing in things and stepping into my kitchen ready and anxious to work. I opened up my cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink, flipped open the everyday towel drawer, hauled out the Fabuloso... and they grabbed my mop, broom, scrub brush, and dustpan. Oh. My. Goodness. Two of them just started the process of cleaning to the "bone." I told them to pretend like it was their own home and they were cleaning for a season or something special. Oh, those lovely women! They basically rediscovered the wood grain in things long since polished over, they wiped ceilings, and scrubbed floors, shined windows from every vantage and surface. They shook curtains and offered to come back and finish another day after working seven hours X three... 21 hours of non-stop Amish cleaning was miraculous. I fixed them soft tacos and garlic green beans, and you would have thought I fixed a feast. I made them some chocolate chip cookies for a little afternoon break, and they gave me a sweet compliment. "We can tell that you clean." I was so grateful to hear that... and then Laura, the eldest, said, "Not in your dad's room or the South bathroom (my son's), but in here."------.. You know Amish don't allow that prideful stuff... I laughed so hard.
They never stopped working; they never stopped laughing and smiling, never stopped singing songs about god and the glory of his future kingdom, never stopped telling me how much fun they were having. I worked with them, but honestly... I did very little compared to what they turned out. Once Laura saw I was having some kind of a muscle cramp from sitting about five of the seven on the roll around office chair that is my way of working and navigating my home... It was mid-afternoon. She told me to go lie down and they would keep working. I told her, "Oh, no way! If I did that my mother would get up our of her grave at Mt. Salem Church about two miles away and walk over here and slap me to death." Oh, the look on their faces!!!!
I have to mention the Miracle. In my dad's room were nothing but totes. I had sold a few pieces of furniture, and I still have a few shelves and cabinets full of beautiful dolls, but basically the whole room was about shoulder high with totes full of holiday decor, doll clothes, other stuff too confusing to sort... I had gone in there countless times and worked, pulled out totes, put away totes, and yet... there were still more. I have two closets in there with the cavernous shelves that I can't access.... your basic stalemate. I told Laura... "Just do the best you can." Uh... I helped decide a few things and their destinies (keep, sell, donate, pitch), and then I went off to make lunch, make cookies, clean my laundry room, do laundry... Basically I threw her under the bus, out to the wolves... just do something. That girl! She emptied the closets, hung a whole rack of clothes I had on a rolling rack instead of utilizing my mom's closet for myself...., then took out all the closet shelves that were no earthly good anyway and stacked them against the walls of the closet. Then she sorted the totes by holiday and stowed all but 3 in the closets. Then she scrubbed and mopped the floors, washed the walls, dusted the furniture and brushed or washed the dolls and stuff sitting around. I kept blabbering about the Miracle, and she kept laughing and insisting she had the most fun of any of them... No, they all thought they had! From the one who had removed every single storm window and screen to wash and scrub, to the one who had lugged all the boxes I wanted to donate to the car...
Anyway. they cleaned two bathrooms, a bedroom, two closets, a living room, my dad's former bedroom which had become a no-man's land, a hallway, my front porch and walk, 16 windows, and a little of the kitchen. And by cleaned... I mean the kind of cleaning I used to do, the kind my mom and dad and grammas did twice a year... the big clean.
A little after five, I paid them the best money I have spent in absolutely years (My only better money spent was whatever it cost to have my only child).... and took them home.
The end of the story is that I was too wound up to sleep Friday night, but Saturday dawned very gray and rainy, and I... well, full confession, I was totally exhausted. Barring a few forages in for coffee, a bit of left-over pizza, and a peek at the weather, I basically um.... Well, I was shocked to discover it was 5:45 that night... Please don't tell my Amish friends I slept the next day! I would not be shocked to hear they built a barn on Saturday!
I can't wait to save up and get them again for the rest of this house and to work up at the other place. They said they couldn't wait to come back. How cool is that?
After my son leaves for work every morning, I have about an hour to 90 minutes before the mail comes, so I try to be ready to do something on crochet or stitching for at least that long. Sometimes I also pick it up while we watch TV. One series we have been watching is Everybody Loves Raymond. I had never seen it until I moved here with Mama, and she and Daddy had loved it, so she and I watched reruns on some channel on DirecTV. Then after she fell and didn't really enjoy much TV, she still loved Raymond, but it wasn't on any more. I purchased the seasons one by one from Amazon, and we watched them one more time in order. It has been so much fun (since I own them) to watch each episode once again with my son, who really identifies with Robert! We laugh so much and sometimes get really quiet because we see ourselves and our dear family in these wonderful actors. I think it is one of my all-time favorites.
For the past few years I haven't watched anything regularly on weekly TV. I do look forward to The Good Witch, and I was disappointed Hallmark moved it to June due to the When Calls the Heart Mess-up. I know WCTH is a great show, but I was always suspicious. I just don't watch things that I think are designed to make people cry. Bad enough, I cry on Raymond!
When I started to crochet again a few years ago for a hobby, I told myself I would just do Granny stitched afghans or scarves until I was good and tired of that. Last year I decided to branch out and try new ideas. This one is called the Fern Stitch done in Tea Cakes yarn, which I really enjoy. The colorway is Red Velvet Cake. I also did a little lap granny in the same colors, but the photo I took this dark, rainy morning has the green showing up as grey. It's a fun green color... I finished the afghan today and am almost done with the scarf. I have a shawl nearly done in spring multicolors and another in shades of purples and lavendars. I couldn't do any of the unusual stitches if I had not used YouTube. If anyone thinks they might like to pick up the crochet hook and begin or start over, I highly recommend their tutorials. I enjoy several full time. My favorites are Jayda InStitches, Bag-o-day Crochet, Fiber Spider, Marly Bird, and Fiber Flux.
I love to read recipe books... almost as if I were reading a novel or something. I recently came across this oldie but goodie... But imagine how sweet to find inside the research of my mother, complete with page numbers. They all sound good to me!
I have gradually been working in a little American color in preparation for Memorial Day. Mother's Day weekend is right upon us, and I think we have some fun ideas to keep the weekend happy and full of good memories and nice present moments, as well. If I'm asked, I will be happy to make some fruit and waffles for a little brunch for my son and me. Or... I could be persuaded to order out Chinese or something else... We shall see. Kiss your mamas... in person if you can or in your heart of hearts if that's no longer possible. Mothers will know.. They usually know all, see all, forgive all, and love without ceasing... And we usually do the same right back.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! It's almost 6 a.m. and getting to be time to start the Chicken Enchiladas for lunch. I didn't post much in April because I actually did not accomplish anything much. Have you ever been soul tired? I guess that is where I find myself ... just doing a heavy amount of sighing and rewashing that last load from the washer that didn't get transferred. I can't put any blame on anything or anyone. I have several fun projects to show you, so stay tuned for those as I finish them up and snap some pictures. I spent a few days making a few photo books for friends and family. With both paper crafts and crochet I really love to find a YouTube video and then copy their ideas, putting mt own spin on them. We had a little birthday party for a friend. For several years now we three have tried to get together here weekly, taking turns either cooking or buying the evening meal. This delicious meal and homemade bread was courtesy of the non-birthday girl. So actually all I had to do was set the table and spiff up the house.
So... May is here, and the showers and rains continue to brighten our land. Have a great week. I will return soon with some news of accomplishments (fingers crossed for luck, not fibbing). Whimsy and Hugs!