A Work in Progress.

Our cottage of love nestled deep within the canyons of Malibu is a real DIY (do it yourself) kind of find. And that's what really drew me to it in the first place. If I am good at anything, it's seeing the potential of what a physical space can be after I've had some time with it. The road of search and selection may sometimes be long, hard and bumpy, but once I'm there, it's a damn good feeling.

The thing is with this place, though, it's truly a roll up your sleeves and get your hands nice and dirty kind of habitat and after all, we are just renting--so there are boundaries to what is considered a reasonable renovation. So far, we've filled terracotta pots on the patio--desperate to find vegetation varieties that won't be ravaged by bunnies, ground squirrels and whatever the hell else bare branch my plants by sunrise--built our own clothesline pole and painted it a cheery "egg yolk" yellow, painted the bathroom green, glazed the unfinished clay tile floors in the bathroom and kitchen and hung a hammock between two generously fragrant eucalyptus trees. But, we still have much to do. I aim to still:
  • paint the bedroom
  • paint the living room
  • paint the kitchen
  • hang our own ceiling fan in the bedroom
  • buy and hang a new ceiling fan in the living room
  • paint the front doors
  • paint our computer desk
  • paint the unfinished door of the hot water heater closet
  • buy and hang new bathroom towel racks
  • paint the outside of the clawfoot bathtub
  • stain the bathroom and kitchen cabinets
  • build and hang bookshelves in the living room
  • build garden beds
  • plant our garden
  • find/build a chicken coop
  • find/buy chickens
  • convert the back guest house to Dean's studio
  • buy a grill
And, I am pretty sure that I have left something(s) off. The thing is, it takes time and money to do all of these things and we are often short on both. Living on a single salary means budgeting wisely. And, raising a toddler means constantly running on a time deficit. So when and how will this all get done? I just can't say. Is it silly to be investing so much time and money into a rental? Perhaps, but I just couldn't have it any other way. Home must be a comfortable refuge--a place without to-do lists lurking around in my noggin.

Aside from all of the critter drama, we really do love it here and already know that we will miss it dearly when it's time to leave. It has been several days now since we've seen any dead mammals or insects with claws, tails or 100 legs. Geeze, give me another few days and I may even forget all about the quarter-sized bug that fell from the light above onto me while I showered.

The fact of the matter is that, today, Noah and I had one of the most magical days that we have had together on this ranch so far. It has been a while since it's been just the two of us home alone all day. We napped and hiked and fed the horses and jumped in the hay and nursed in the hammock and kicked a ball and picked wild flowers and tickled in the bed--with freshly cleaned diapers drying on the line, it felt like home . . . finally. . . and I hope, that as I whittle away at the to-do list above that feeling only grows and grows.

But, we'll see. Ask me again tomorrow. Nighttime around here crawls with all of the things that could make me change my mind really quick.

Nighty, night.

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