I am rather astonished to be able to say that after 9 months of wreckage, the cottage is back to operational again. Make no mistake, it still needs some work: there's a door frame that has rotted out at the bottom, the floors are still concrete (and not the attractive kind of concrete), and the furniture is a mash of leftovers. But I think we've achieved a level of rustic-cozy, as opposed to rustic-scary.
Because yesterday was stormy, my spouse couldn't work on his yard projects, so he helped--one reason why we were able to get it done. He focused on what still needs to be done; he's most distressed about the hot water. The cottage and the main house share the hot water source, which means the cottage has to wait a few minutes for the water to get hot. It takes longer now that we have an on-demand hot water heater. At some point, we may get an on-demand system for the cottage alone. But for now, we need to get the main house repaired so that we see how much money we really have for the cottage.
As I was working on the cottage, I was taken back to the early days of our marriage, where there was one apartment that needed some work before we moved in. I remember that scrubbing and wondering how the final result would look.
Like that apartment, we have curtains in the cottage that we have made ourselves. I really like them, but my spouse said, "It's not much better than students who attach sheets up to the windows with push pins." I like that they pull the eye up from the place where the floor meets the walls, where there are still stains from the flooding.
Yes, the walls need repainting, but we didn't have time for that. So many repairs and beautification, but so little time.
And part of the problem is a lack of vision/agreement about what to do with the cottage. One of my friends suggested that I turn it into some sort of space--whether it be office, music/arts studio, or pool party space, that I want to be in. I understand her point, but I tend to perch on the same pieces of furniture, even when more attractive places open up.
We've thought about doing short term rentals, but that idea is not appealing to me for a variety of reasons. I feel like I can hardly keep up with my current obligations, so I'm hesitant to take on something as large as managing a vacation rental. Plus my city has lots of rules and regulations, which makes me even more hesitant.
I'm also hesitant because I think that many people are expecting something luxurious, like something out of a glamorous travel magazine--and I worry that they'll be inclined to complain vociferously and bitterly when it's not what they expect.
I think of our mishmash of furniture, which I find oddly appealing, but I know that others might not. It reminds me of Mepkin Abbey, when I first went there. The sheets weren't Egyptian cotton, and neither were the towels. They were clean and soft from years of use. Each room had a different type of desk and desk chair--comfortable, but from a much earlier decade.
Right now, the cottage has that type of furniture: two chairs that were rescued from the trash heap of a school library remodel, a rocker that has the University of South Carolina seal on it, a folding wooden chair with a cushion. The tables are plastic and battered, but sturdy. The kitchen has a complete set of white dishes and cooking pans--very serviceable. The bed has a mattress that's only a few years old, slept on for less than a year. It has new sheets that I got on sale--otherwise I couldn't have afforded the organic cotton. It also has a cheery quilt that I made. The towels are also new and rarely used, and thus, more luxurious than many of our towels.
The rugs that we got last Sunday don't cover as much of the floor as I had hoped. But they work well enough for now.
As we sat in the living room yesterday to take it all in, I thought, yes, this will work. The camp counselors will have a clean, safe place to sleep tonight, with lots of comforts, like the breakfast foods we bought for them yesterday. That's more than much of the world has.
feeling the feelings…
2 years ago