DSCF0803As I sent the last of my first draft manuscripts out to my beta readers and heard the whooshing sound that my mac provides, telling me it was sent, I had second thoughts. “Oh my God, what have I done? I should have rewritten it again. Everyone will see how badly I write and how boring I can be.  I know I’m very repetitive.  My grammar is awful and my spelling is worse. They’ll hate it, I’m sure. I should have just written it for myself and forgotten the publishing part.”

On and on I went staging a pity party, and doubting myself, until I realized that horrible inner critic of mine was on the prowl, giving me a hard time, and shaking the ground I stood on.  But then I snapped to, and started fighting back.  “It’s just a first draft.  Sure it’s not perfect.  My grammar and spelling stink.  So what! That will all be taken care of later when I hire a professional editor. How would I be able to fix it if I didn’t send it out to others so that they can help? I’m way to close to it right now.  I need to go out and work in the garden or take a walk. And you, Doubting Dotty …  you can just take your words and flush them down the toilet. ”

That tirade continued for another fifteen minutes before I realized that my neck was sinking between my shoulders, I had a headache, and the pit of my stomach was roiling.  It was time to let it go.  I was turning myself into an anxious mess.

I went out into the garden and started removing the dead leaves of the hellebores I so love at this time of year. Their spotted white, pink and purple flowers are a bit late this year. They’d been beaten down and battered throughout our amazingly dark, cold and snowy winter.  They need to bathe in the warm spring light. When I was done they were all standing tall and breathing deeply.

I decided to do the same thing.  Doubting Dotty isn’t in sight and I hope she stays away forever.  But I know all too well, she has a way of sneaking in the back door when I’m not looking.  She’ll probably be back in the near future.  When she shows up again I’ll just go out into my garden, get my hands dirty, and be with my plants.

Reno Week #1

The living room.

The living room.

The week that was went by in a flash … but it also seemed to take a year to pass.  I don’t quite know how to explain that but that’s how it was.  The hard wood flooring is being put in now and should be finished by Friday morning.  The hall and powder room where the laundry room will be located has now been gutted and work proceeds there.

All in all it was a pretty good week. I managed to do everything but work on my memoir.  Even though my studio is in another building it’s hard for me to focus.  The dogs are jumpy from all the noise and the poor cat doesn’t quite know what to do with herself.  All of us except Sweet Lilli, the cat are staying at a nearby Residence Inn, but even there the dogs aren’t themselves.  They are very much creatures of habit and all of the turmoil is intruding into the quiet security they are used to. It’s the same for both Bill and I but we’re the humans and are supposed to be resilient. We try and are encouraged every day by the progress that is being made.  I can already say that the new floor in the kitchen, though only partially laid, is going to be gorgeous and will make a huge difference in the amount of time I spend cooking.

My biggest hangup has been eating and cooking. I’m gluten-free and am trying go mostly Paleo, meaning no grains whatsoever.  I am also a cook-it-from-scratch kind of person and the limited kitchen arrangements in our room have been a problem until yesterday when we moved into a room with a real stove with four burners and an oven.  It’s still tiny and cramped but I don’t plan on making anything that is complicated. So I think we’re good until our kitchen here is done.

I could go into a rant or have a pity party and cry about how hard all of this is, but it wouldn’t help. Yesterday I finally made friends with the idea that this is going to be a time of getting little serious writing done and having untold interruptions no matter what I’m trying to do. Unlike several people I know who went to Europe while their homes were being renovated, I find it helpful to check in on what is happening in order to keep from being surprised at the end of the day.

As I watch the rest of the world, the work being done here and the great people who are doing it, I find myself being grateful that this interruption in my life is as small as it is. It is nothing in comparison to what the single dad who is supervising this job goes through every day, for his daughters, three and six years old. I’m grateful for the cooking space I do have that is inside a warm building and the choices available to me when it comes to what to eat.

Kitchen floor in process.

Kitchen floor in process.

I’m grateful for everything I have and for a huge amount of stuff that I don’t have. Sure I’m somewhat stressed. Who wouldn’t be?  Life is what it is, but I happen to be one of the most fortunate citizens on this planet.  Suffering is an option but for the moment I am choosing to live mindfully and simply notice what is happening around me and what is going through my head. The only thing I can change is the way I perceive what is going on and I’m especially grateful that I’m able to do just that.

What stresses are happening in your life and how are you keeping it from turning your life upside down?