Monday, June 28, 2004

My Holy Grail

Before I go any further with this blog business, there is something about me that you must know. I live in the smallest house in the world. Well, maybe not the world, but quite possibly the smallest house in my county and most definitely the smallest house on our road. You know those beautiful old farm houses that you see scattered out all over the countryside? We don't live in one of those.

I'm grateful for the roof I have over my head, all 576 square feet of it, but let it be known that at this moment in time I am sick to death of looking at the interior of this 24x24 "cozy cottage." As I mentioned before, we've been here for two years now. And we have a toddler. You don't have to be a genius to see why two adults, a toddler and the 8,569,342 toys, animals and books that go with the toddler would have trouble peacefully co-existing in a house with one bedroom, a bathroom, a small living room and a kitchen(ette). There's a cat, too. A very smelly cat. In a small space. Nice!

We have one closet. One! Whoever put just one closet in this house did it for the sole purpose of mocking me, I'm sure of it. I can hear them snickering. "Yeah, can't you just see her trying to fit winter coats and sweaters and baby dresses and tattered farmer work shirts into that closet?" Yeah, it all fits in the closet, if you'll allow me the liberty of considering my bedroom floor to be an extension of my closet.

I also share a kitchen with my mother-in-law. I love the woman. She produced one of the most wonderful men on the face of the Earth. Yes, we're ignoring the pregnancy test/Superbowl commentary for just a minute. Anyway, she's fun gal and I admire her in many ways, but we don't do well living next door to one another. That's the other thing that I need to mention. Our tiny shack sits a mere 50 feet from my in-law's house. Ahhh, family. My daughter has certainly benefitted from living so close to her grandparents. They're great with her, and always willing to help, and she adores them. My husband and I are definitely ready for our own space, with a real kitchen (no "ette") and TWO BEDROOMS!

That brings me to my mission. I must have a house. Any sort will do. One current plan is to build a garage with an apartment, complete with two bedrooms, over it, on our land about a mile from here. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be so giddy over blueprints. But I am. This place has more than one closet. I think I'm in love with the architect. Seriously. I don't know who he or she is, but to the architect at UCanDo Designs in St. Louis, I love you, man. Thank you for making a kitchen that doesn't require the suffix of "ette." Thank you for five closets and a pantry. Thank you for space for a full fridge and dishwasher. I will think of you fondly in my prayers, and I'm so not kidding.

So the plan would be to live in this garage with apartment until we can save enough to build a larger house. Then the garage, which by the way, is twice as big as our current shack of incredibly small proportions, would become a guest room and space for my quilting projects. You can expect that there will be a lot of discussion of this project in the coming months. We'd likely move in this fall, and would do 90% of the work ourselves. Crazy? Yes, possibly. But when you're living in 576 square feet, crazy is pretty much a constant.

A Grand Entrance

So here I am. On the web. My mom would be so proud. Seriously, she would, but you can't ever tell her that I have a blog, because if I ever feel the need to vent about her, or make fun of her, say, for her obsessive cleaning frenzies, she might get mad. Now I don't know if anyone else's mom is quite like mine, but I'm 26, and I still know that Mom could take me. Yes, she's short and much smaller than me, but she's a tough cookie, so let's just keep the blog thing to ourselves for the moment, eh?

As I said before, I'm 26. This age still seems old to me. In fact, I was actually referred to as old by someone just the other day. He was 17, and I believe his exact quote was "I can't believe that an old person doesn't know any Kansas songs and I probably know all of them." So, resisting my urge to cast down my cane, remove my dentures and throttle that little whippersnapper, I squeaked out, "Umm, I'm not old. I'm not even thirty yet." Yeah, I'm that tough. Clearly I could learn a thing or two from my mother about being tough, no?

I am a mother, too, now. I had my little girl, Maya, when I was 23 years old. She was a bit of a surprise. My husband and I found out we were expecting the little bundle of joy before we were married even a year. Superbowl Sunday, it was. Let me tell you how that conversation went down, because I think it's important to immortalize these kinds of things, especially when you can taunt your husband with the tale for a few decades. I suspected there was something going on, so naturally I bought myself a pregnancy test. I slipped, unnoticed, into the bathroom to use said test. Well, I probably could have driven into the bathroom naked on a brand new Harley and holding a torch made of flaming cats and my husband wouldn't have noticed, Superbowl Sunday and all. It was pretty obvious after a few minutes that there were two lines on this test thingy, and that one of them wasn't going away. I called for my husband. I showed him the test. He took it and examined it, and then realizing what it was, exclaimed "Where'd you have to stick this thing to get it to work?" Ignoring that, I told him it was positive. He looked a little shocked, and then he said, "That's great. Can I finish watching the Superbowl now?" So much for a big moment there. Ahhh, my life.

Actually, it's a pretty good life. We live out in the country. Really in the country. Not "in the country" as in "actually just a few miles outside of a major metropolis." No, we live 20 miles from any town of reputable size (let's say, population greater than 4,000). We live an hour away from a Walmart. An hour from Target! (My friend Vanessa would faint if she knew that. Life without Target, how can it be?)

I'm a city kid. When my family moved to Kansas, my first year in high school, I swore I'd never marry a farm boy. I probably wouldn't have even met very many real farm boys, except that I decided mid-college to switch my major to one in the ag college of the university. And that's when it happened. Farm boy comes along, city girl swoons at the sound of his slight southeast Kansas drawl, and the rest is history. The next thing you know I'm riding in a rusted pickup truck that runs on propane and wondering what the hell my husband is talking about when he gives me directions that include things like "turn east" and "up by Spencer's crossing." A little note on the truck... If you ever date a guy with a propane-fueled truck, he probably doesn't have a gas problem. It's the smell of the propane. I seriously wondered what myhusband had been eating those first few dates.

Back to this blog.... I'm going to chronicle what happens when a city gal like me moves to the sticks. I've been here for two years now, on an actual farm (I'm choking on dust from the wheat harvest right now, I swear!), so I've been saving these stories up for a while now. Let's see if that college degree in journalism prepared me well enough for blogging. It doesn't pay as well as other jobs in my career track, but when you're the mother of a toddler, it's hard not to get excited about the prospect of using words with more than two syllables!