Catching Up

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Wasn’t it less than two weeks ago that I mentioned we were getting more snow?

I know it was only last week that I woke up to icy frost covering everything.

Working outside today, it’s hard to believe we so recently left winter weather behind!

 In the woods, the Spring Beauties, Trout Lilies and Trillium are glorious. Ramps are ready to be harvested; morel mushrooms are out there, though I haven’t found any yet. In my flower beds, hyacinth, narcissus and tulips are blooming. Asparagus is poking out of the ground, rhubarb is nearly ready to pull and I made a meal the other day with some kale that made it through the winter under all of that snow.

The birds are singing.  Shrubs and trees are budding. Snakes are sunning themselves on the path. Two big flies are buzzing in my window, for heaven’s sake!

Spring has finally caught up with the calendar!

I’m working at getting caught up, too.

This winter was terribly hard on my house, and on my budget. The cost of heat alone was through the roof, with the combination of a long winter and extreme temperatures. Snow plowing was another major necessary expense. On top of that, I’ve had roof troubles, electrical problems and water issues that are just now getting ironed out.

Because the cold weather kept people away, and inside their warm homes, businesses were struggling, as well. My work hours were cut back or cut out. Even with six jobs, I wasn’t putting in forty hours a week.

When the first of May came around, I had annual car insurance, plus a mortgage payment and one credit card payment due. Telephone, propane and electricity bills were all over due. In addition, I had a bill from the hospital for lab work, from the Medical Center for a blood draw, and from the pharmacy for prescriptions. I had a winter property tax bill that was due on Valentine’s Day.

I had less than three hundred dollars in my bank account.

On top of all that, I had no drainage. When the washing machine emptied, it filled the bathtub; one sink backed up into another; the toilet overflowed. For over a month – waiting for the frost to go out of the ground and the snow-melt that was saturating the field to dry up and the plumbers and septic workers to find time – I’ve been taking military showers, washing clothes at my aunt’s house, doing dishes in a bucket (that had to be then emptied outside)and allowing myself one flush per day.

But the weather is changing.

People are coming out of their homes and looking at Spring projects. Visitors are coming to Beaver Island. Business is picking up. With it, my hours at work are increasing.

Friday evening, money in the bank, I sat down to sort and prioritize bills. I couldn’t catch everything up, but it felt good to make progress.

Yesterday, water issues resolved, I spent the evening doing laundry, housework and dishes, relishing my ability to actually put water down the drain. I took a long, hot shower.

This morning, I took time to read. I truly enjoy all the blogs that I follow, and care about the people that write them. I like to know what’s going on with them, just as I do with family and other friends. With work picking up…and other issues to deal with…I’ve been sorely behind. My comments – when I have stolen the time to read and taken the time to comment – have been speedily composed and extremely brief. I have been very lax in acknowledging comments made to my own blogs. Today, I spent a lovely morning turning that around.

Finally, it seems like I am catching up!

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About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

15 responses »

  1. Oh my I was happy to read at the end of this post that you were getting bills paid. I’m glad that you had all those lovely flowers blooming. Can you still get some shots of the trilliums?

  2. The hardships you describe are EXACTLY what went on in my life in MA. during the winter of 2009. Trying to heat an enormo house with windows that were no better than leaky sieves (even with plastic sheeting on most of them) in the coldest winter there since 1932 did me in. How fortunate with all you’ve been through and few work hours, you only fell a wee bit behind with payments and bills. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, my friend….seriously!!! I’m so happy Beaver Island is awash in beautiful spring weather!

    • The weather alone improves my outlook tremendously! A busy weekend for Memorial Day gives me hope that we’ll have a good summer, too. I’m so glad to hear you understand the winter, and how hard it can be…I was getting to the point of desperation for a while there! Thanks for reading, karen, and for your comments!

  3. You have six jobs? Oh my dear–I am so proud of you for making ends meet, even though you’ve been challenged. It was a rough winter. I hope summer continues to bless you, my friend.

    • I believe I recall that you have at least two or three jobs, Kathy…. we are living the good life up north, eh?
      1)Hardware store clerk
      2)Server, Shamrock bar and restaurant
      3)Housekeeper (2-3 hours per week)for my Aunt Katie
      4)Phragmites Administrator for the two townships on Beaver Island
      5)Writer (1 or 2 articles per issue)for the Beaver Beacon
      6)Artist. I wouldn’t count this, as pay is so variable, but with obligations for new work to several galleries and art spaces, and commission pieces to work on, I have to.
      May 9th was the last day of my seventh job, which was after-school art teacher for the 21st century cultural enrichment program. Our grant was not renewed, sadly, so the program had to end.
      Note: I do not count my own housework, sewing or crochet projects or gardening as a job. Thus, those things get very sorely neglected most of the time!
      Thanks for reading, and for the good wishes!

      • That is amazing! Thanks for typing that all out. You are an amazing woman. And I mean that sincerely.

  4. When I read this I wanted to cry. Poor you and your misfortunes! But you’re made of sturdy stock and can overcome these obstacles I’m sure. I hope your frustrations melt away like the snow.

    • Oh, I’ll be fine, Sara! I’ve already moved on to moaning about the kid I hired to till up the garden spot, that broke the rental rototiller with my garden half done and now I have to hire someone to fix it and load it before two PM today when it is due back….there are always new obstacles, it seems, so I dare not dwell on any one of them for long. Your empathy means the world to me, though, thank you so much!

  5. I always love reading your blogs. Even through the challenges of life you always seem to look at life with such a positive perspective. You do a masterful job at observing and sharing the magnficent simplities that parallel life. I love your cross references to nature, life changes, seasons, family, art — all providing examples of what life is truly about. So refreshing. Keep it up and hang in there. God bless.

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