Friday, July 16, 2010

Large Scale Household Management

I have been occupied with household management tasks lately and have not made time for creative pursuits. As in any creative pursuits. I hope to change this soon. This has included:

  • Entertaining LoveHubbie's colleagues.
  • Annual party at much-loved neighbor's house.
  • Hiring out removal of insidious PNW weed (Scotch broom) from our fields (multi-day project involving brush hog and back hoe). 
  • Hiring out dryer repair.
  • Hiring out extensive handyman work including painting worn-off areas outside and fixing leaking windows.
  • Hiring out electric work including but not limited to fixing clogged fans, fixing broken light switches and dimmers, new circuit for wall to accommodate increased amps, replacing broken lights on walkway.
  • Hiring out refrigerator repair to save old refrig that is on last legs. 
  • Hiring out twice-a-year window cleaning.
And last but not least, dealing with our gardener, we'll call her Sandy, who has been letting our garden go. Sandy's job has been to maintain the Brown Botanical Gardens since March. Which she has not done. I have spoken to her innumerable times, and she always agrees and then does whatever she wants. For Sandy, it seemed that tending the garden was just a job--she didn't really care about the living things--whether they lived or died. 

Finally in desperation I hired a "mow and blow" company to come into the botanical gardens and make the paths passable and cut away all of the dead debris--sort of a "spring cleanup" in the summer. This took three men three days! The dead stuff is now gone and there are big empty spaces everywhere but it looks sooo much better. And we can walk through and enjoy what is there and what is still living! 

Both LoveHubbie and my trusty assistant (who I will call Sylvia) have been wanting to let Sandy go for some time, but I had been dragging my feet. It's hard for me to let someone go who seems to want to work unless they do something(s) really bad. Sylvia wanted to help by doing the firing and winding up all the final details. Sylvia  knows a great deal about gardening and knew that this would be a positive move; in addition she wanted to help to remove the stress from both myself and LoveHubbie. Too, Sylvia has great intuition. 

I decided to let Sylvia do the firing start to finish. It was kind of hard for me to delegate something that felt very critical, but Sylvia handled it with aplomb; it gave me a chance to receive and not be constantly in control of everything. This ended up being a beautiful gift. The energy here is now very good.  I think the plants and trees and birds and flowers are all happy. 

So, now my challenge is to figure out a way to carve out space for the creative pursuits that are so important to me. I'm starting by updating here again :) Oh, and I found a blog I really like called The Tiny House Blog. Especially see this post--it just makes me h-a-p-p-y!

~Photos by LoveHubbie Mark all taken in the Olivia Brown Botanical Gardens 


Anonymous said...

Olivia, That is awesome that you were able to let go of control and receive help. And I can see why you love that post about the fly fishing gals and their campers. I like the retro stuff and also the pink one.

Olivia said...

Yes, Sylvia is a safe person for me and it has been good to receive from her. It has taken me a bit of work to trust her, not because of her, but because of me, as I am slow to trust now.

Don't you love the "little houses"? I have told LoveHubbie that now that I live in my dream house, it's good, but the next move will be to "tiny". There will be no more moving "up", but only downsizing in my future. Way down. Spaciousness is good and there has been a time for it, but tiny is what is coming next, and I'm looking forward to it.

I too like the retro and the pink :)


Suzie Ridler said...

I thoroughly believe in hiring people to do work for you. It helps the economy and man, does it ever help you. Tackling scotch broom is no easy task, I know, it's all over BC strangling the indigenous plants. I also think it's only fair to get rid of someone who doesn't care for the job they were hired to do!

I tried to hire someone to redo our deck and no one (as usual) would return our phone calls. I have never lived in a more apathetic place in my life.

Olivia said...

Yes, me too Suzie. But my experience has been similar to yours in some ways. Despite the bad economy it is still incredibly hard to find someone industrious and conscientious to do work, no matter what it is. I consider myself blessed when this happens.

Before firing, I always like to try multiple times to communicate, because what if I wasn't clear enough. Or what if the person was just finding their stride, etc. In addition, it is so hard to find a replacement.

In gardening in our garden there is trust (that the person isn't padding their hours, because they are not being supervised). Plus there is technical knowledge like plants, pruning trees, irrigation systems, organic vegetable beds, greenhouse work, organic weed control, etc. Plus when to do all of these things. Sandy was a Master Gardener (a very good credential to have) and so she should have been able to do all of these things. And I know absolutely nothing about gardening...thus I would not be qualified to know if she was screwing up for quite a while. Say until things got really overgrown or looked really bad or until she didn't follow my instructions for a long time, as in "The paths have to be clear so that we can walk down them".

I love to enjoy the garden but am not interested in how to fertilize roses or which ground covers you can transplant or how much mulch or peat or bark to buy for a particular bush, etc. Many people are fascinated by such things.

I think that you two did a great job on your deck, it is beautiful. It is nice when two people work on a job and learn to do it together. It is very, very nice when you have a partner who is a friend and who loves to help you. This is the best of all.

Peace, love, and sunny days to you, Suzie,


Kate said...

I am glad you were able to delegate and just get the job done. I am sure the results are worth it. I am off to look at the tiny house blog.

Kim Mailhot said...

How great to have trusted, let go of control, and then receive such great rewards, a garden to enjoy...Super lesson, Brilliant Olivia !
Glad you are undating here more often. Your posts are always so full of heart !
Cheers, Friend !

Olivia said...

How lovely to find here messages from My Two Queens! Thank you both. Peace and Big Love to you both :), O

Rick Hamrick said...

O, your list of completed tasks is one you can look back on, feel a sense of "done!" and move on to today's challenges.

I'll bet, after dealing with all those items for as long as it took, you will find some available time to block out for your own pursuits, be they creative or simply some relaxed, nurture-Olivia time.

I'm glad to see you back here writing about what's going on. It's a real joy to see these new posts!

Olivia said...

Thanks so much, Rick. You're right, it is a sense of accomplishment, and a subtle feeling of "catching up" as well, and caring for things I have. It's good to be back.

Thank you for taking the time to comment here; remember, Rick, you've won the "Man, Did You Help Me Out Award" here 18 times!

Have a good Sacred Life Sunday, O

Seeking Simplicity said...

Happy Sunday Olivia....

I hope the Tiny House Blog about 2 months ago. And every day, when I come home from work, that's one of the first blogs I check out. I dream of having a tiny home, just a retreat for me, to curl up with a good book, to journal, to meditate, to pray, to be in silence.

Off to decide what to prepare for dinner. With summer in full bloom, I had a bountiful trip to the farmer's market... now time to figure what to cook.

Mega Hugs....

Ang aka EB

CrystalChick said...

So wonderful to have those things accomplished! Shame Sandy had to be let go but she wasn't taking care of things the way you wanted so it was time for both to move on.
I adore those little homes and trailers but I don't know that I could scale down that much. I have a small home and could go a little smaller if need be but just not that small.

Olivia said...

EB, what a great dream to have. A tiny retreat. It sounds lovely!

And Mary, it is a shame about Sandy, but we are reveling in our garden now that it is passable, yes, both of us needed to move on. We get practice in our vacations with living in a small space, and the older I get the more I love it. We could definitely do it, when the time is right.

Love to you both, O