Life has been pretty crazy lately- lots of good things (recital tours and arts festivals) and some not-so-good things (backs going out- mine again, and impending knee surgery- Dan’s again). With both of us working in the arts, we often work all week and on the weekends, too, as that’s when many concerts and performances happen. We love what we do, but sometimes it makes it challenging to keep up with the needs of a century-old home, animals that need baths, leaves that need raking and bagging, grocery shopping, and on and on. So, on the rare weekends when we are both off- like part of this weekend- Dan and I become weekend warriors, putting everything we have into catching up. We love every minute working together on our home and being with our animals…well, except for painful backs and knees, but even that is worth it for the joy we get seeing the results of our efforts.
Raking leaves at this time of year is a study in futility. You work your backside off, it looks great….for maybe ten minutes…and then the leaves rain down. I think they laugh at us, too, adding insult to injury. Vacuuming at our house is much the same, with tumbleweeds of black dog hair magically appearing seemingly moments after I have carefully vacuumed every nook and cranny of our home. It’s really a good thing I love my two goofball dogs so much.
My favorite part is when everything is done at the end of the day. Dan makes us a cocktail and we do what we call ‘The Tour’ to survey what we accomplished, followed by grilling out and enjoying the decks. There is always good conversation and lots of laughter. We dream about what we will do next to our home when time- and money- allow, talk about our goals, where we hope to travel, what we have coming up. Oh, and we enjoy an amazing dinner made by Dan- which is why it is amazing…I’m more the set-the-kitchen-on-fire type of gal.
Working together like this brings us even closer, with shared goals and dreams. We bond with each other, with the animals, and with our home. I never fail to fall even more in love with all three. I think back to darker days of the past, and I am filled with gratitude that I am at this place in my life, sharing it all with my sweet Dan. This time at home recharges my batteries, making me better prepared to take on the stresses of work and life. I tell Dan that I can handle anything that comes up if I can come home to him and our peaceful Chez Gainey. What makes it special is that we built this peace, this home, together. There is nothing fancy- we live in Southside Birmingham in what we affectionately call ‘the ‘Hood,’ surrounded by wonderful neighbors in old houses, and a wacky cast of colorful characters, too. This is my dream home, though, because I’ve made it so. Dan and I both have chosen to be happy, to find the good and the beautiful in the world around us. We see the world through a lens of gratitude and hope. It isn’t perfect- it doesn’t need to be- it is our perspective that is important, how we choose to face and embrace our lives.
Dan has to help load the Alabama Ballet into his theater today, but I am continuing on as a solo weekend warrior. There are dogs to be bathed, a clarinet to be practiced, a house to be cleaned. On this peaceful fall Sunday, I am nothing but grateful for the gifts of love and purpose in my life, for Dan, our animals, a career that I love, dear friends, and this funky old house on a hill that has brought it all together. So many blessings. May I never forget to see my life in gratitude, no matter what comes my way.