Our Farmhouse Fixer Upper: COVID edition

I feel like this is awkward. Like, why does anyone need to read our home reno blog during a pandemic? There are certainly other things on your mind.

But, maybe that’s exactly why you’re reading it. And because I’ve had so much thinking time as of late, this is where I choose to word vomit all of it. There will obviously be pandemic discussion, because I’m not a head-in-the-sand type, but there will be non-virus related updates, too.

I’ve been really interested by the varying reactions to these current events. When I thought hard about it, I realized something. No matter the reaction, it’s all rooted in fear. Hoarding canned goods and toilet paper? Fear. Skepticizing “the numbers?” Fear. Scrolling endlessly through social media? Fear. Keeping the television tuned to CNN 24/7? Fear. Pretending nothing is happening and life is per usual? Fear. And I think what I find to be the strangest part of it all, is that nobody wants to actually say that.

So for whoever needs to hear it, here it is: Obviously you are afraid. That is a completely natural response to something for which you have no schema. Being afraid does not mean you are weak or dramatic or negative. It means you are human. We are all afraid.

I guess the trick is addressing it. To be honest, I’m still finding my way through that. I thought I would lose myself in books and baking and my garden. And I’ve done a little bit of that. But the first two weeks had my brain so foggy that I couldn’t focus for longer than a few minutes on any one task. I was able to put down my phone, and turn off the TV, but I’d go to pick up a book and my mind would almost instantly wander. I couldn’t lose myself in a story when the whole world was on its head.

David will tell you that I am a pessimist. I don’t know that that’s true, but I can see how I might give off that impression. I worry a lot. I frequently identify the worst case scenario. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve recognized that as my coping strategy. When a “Well, what if…” pops into my head, my way through it is to actually ask, “Okay, well, what if?” And once I work through what happens next, I tend to find that it’s not as bad as I thought. And if it is bad, it helps me to acknowledge it. I can’t fix something by pretending it isn’t there. And if it’s really beyond my control (a la, global pandemic?) I adopt the “do what you can and leave the rest” strategy. Honestly, sometimes it’s a relief.

What I will support: doing what you need to in order to protect your mental health.

What I will not support: quarantine shame.

No one is superior in their method of handling this, do you hear me? You may use this time to become a concert pianist or exist in one singular pair of sweatpants, and we have to let both be okay. Just stay away from people, wash your hands, and for the love of all things, be nice.

Okay, so house things. I spent the early days of quarantine caring for my indoor plants. 😍 I don’t have nearly enough. If you’re ever thinking, “Hm, what gift might Amelia like?” I can assure you that the answer is plants. (Or wine. 🍷)

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Also, I’m going to try a vegetable garden this year. 😬

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This is a long awaited dream of mine, but I’m nervous that I will ruin it. When plants die under my care, I feel the most guilty. What if I accidentally kill all of them? How will I live with myself? (This is also why I caution David about us ever having farm animals larger than chickens. If he doesn’t want me trying to bring them inside during bad weather, we probably shouldn’t own them. Most likely I’ll just make him build a barn that’s nicer than our house. But I digress.) I’m starting with peas and beans. I have plans for other things throughout the summer, so I’ll keep you posted.

We’re slowly beautifying other neglected areas of our yard. Thankfully, we scheduled a mulch delivery before the stay-at-home order, so we’ve had plenty of yard work to occupy our time. I love spreading mulch! I hate pulling weeds, which could admittedly be a factor in why I feel so strongly about mulch. Once we have all the flower beds done, I’ll post an update with photos.

David also has visions of turning this area:

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into an outdoor entertainment paradise. There is talk of yard games, a fire pit, and a pergola. David sees possibilities in everything, which is why I knew we could buy this house and (most days) not even regret it. As we speak, he’s tearing up some old concrete to make way for activities.

IMG_4655Spring is an exciting time around here, and I’m looking forward to the things I now know exist on our property. (Lilacs! Roses! Peaches!) So even though it won’t be a surprise like it was before, I expect it to still be pretty sweet. (Does that sound like something a pessimist would say? Hmm? 😏)

Anyway, now that we’re feeling a little more focused, I think we can get a little more accomplished. Things may be on a different timeline than they were before (we were supposed to start window restoration this spring – I’m still grieving that delay) but there are good things to come.

Hey, hang in there. It’s hard to see right now, but we’re going to come out on the other side of this. You know, I read a lot of World War II era novels. I love the grit and determination of that time. And I just think, this is that moment for us. When it’s all said and done, I want to be proud of the sacrifices we made and the way we cared for each other. I want it to be a turning point that takes us to a new normal. The old one clearly wasn’t working.

So let this be what you remember when the dust settles – we’re all connected. There’s certainly no denying that now, is there? Let the choices you make from now on always bear that in mind.

Be well. friends. xo

Our individual well-being is intimately connected both with that ...

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