“Alexa, what’s the time?”
“Alexa, set timer to 10 mins.”
“Alexa, what’s the weather today?”
“Alexa, what did the Celtics score in the game last night?”
And just like that Alexa has become an integral part of our morning hustle and bustle. The mornings are lighter and a little less frantic, thanks to Alexa, thanks to technology!
This concludes the daily gratitude posts for November. Thank you for being part of the journey.
Take out for dinner on a weeknight – thankful for the break!
Another thank you coming in the way of the renovation project.
One of the things that our house lacked prior to the renovation was closets and storage space. We didn’t have enough wardrobe space, so the clothes were spilling all over the bedroom. We didn’t have a closet where the kids could store their sports related stuff, as a result the living room doubled up as mud room. We couldn’t carve out a space for working, so the dining table conveniently became a catch all place for all of us to work.
This is not a bad situation to be in and one could argue that it builds character and presents an opportunity to embrace simple living. Except that in our household, it resulted in frustration, fiery glances and endless finger pointing. After many failed attempts to declutter and simplify, it became clear that we had to rethink our ways. The renovation project presented a golden opportunity.
Da and I spent hours designing our closets, home office, and mudroom. Initially, I felt like an impostor using the word design. “Us and design?” is what I thought to myself. But turns out that we and only we are the experts at knowing our needs and wants. Once we zeroed in on that, designing a space came naturally. Spending time with Da figuring out our needs, brainstorming ideas, browsing over pages of Pinterest images and Houzz articles, working around our constraints and ultimately committing the design to paper has definitely been one of my favorite parts of this initiative. It put the focus on the process rather than the end result.
I would not be surprised if we continue to go on with our careless ways even after the home improvement but I am immensely thankful for the hours spent working together with Da. It is one of the things that makes this house a home. Our home.
The main goal of the home renovation project is to add footprint. The secondary goal is to fix long neglected kinks in the house. While adding footprint is nice and great, what gladdens me the most is the repair jobs we did. We took down a diseased tree, we removed the broken gutter that had us scrambling for the trash can when it poured, we got the rotting flooring in our entrance fixed, and we took down the walls between rooms and made the area more open. These relatively small changes have relieved our day to day frustrations and enhanced the quality of our life several times over. My heartfelt gratitude!
Thank you Cee.
Would you prefer a reading nook or an art, craft, photography studio? Since I don’t have a creative bone in my body, I wouldn’t know what to do with an art and craft studio. I like taking pictures but not sure if I like it enough to want to have a photography studio. But I love love reading nooks. That was one of my top wishes in our renovation project. We have several windows in our house now, I just need to find a way to make them into a reading nook.
Tell how you are feeling today in the form of a weather report. (For example, partly cloudy, sunny with a chance for showers, etc.) Partly sunny with intermittent clouds, temperature in mid 60s. The intermittent clouds is a reflection of the blues that recovering from a long weekend entails.
If you could witness or physically attend any event past, present or future, what would it be? I would have liked to be physically present for both my grandparents’ sadabhishekam (grandpas’ 80th b’day).
What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. Tim Ferris podcast Tribe of Mentors inspired me this past week. In particular, I liked the talk called Busy is a decision. The crux is if something is a priority, we would make the time for it. If we do not make time for it, it just means that it is not a priority.
Another Thanksgiving break has come to an end. This was an unusual one for us. Normally, we either have family or friends visiting us or we are out traveling. This time we just stayed home. I will admit, as someone who likes to take on more, it was hard slowing down and my restless mind was craving for something else. But the universe has a way of giving us what we need the most. And what we desperately needed was some decluttering and leisure, which I am glad we managed to get in plenty over the long weekend.
I have been listening to some great podcasts over the weekend. I listened to Eckhart Tolle and Shonda Rhimes. I listened to some tips on how to say NO. I also listened to how two little girls chose between girls and boys scouts. These talks brighten my day like no other. I am so very thankful that I get to enjoy the company of great thinkers at the click of a finger.
A Saturday without agendas, activities, and deadlines. Very thankful!
“You were a meanie today.” said Ram as he inched closer to me at bedtime. “And you can’t keep making the same mistake again and again.” I was hungry and in a moment of weakness, I yelled at his tiniest infraction. So I was guilty as charged. Apparently, the child is keeping count and according to him, I had yelled at him last week. Sigh!
This conversation aside, I am thankful to my family for being forgiving of my temper tantrums and meltdowns. As a person letting out the steam, it is therapeutic for me. But as folks at the receiving end of the unpleasantness, it must be traumatic for them. This is not lost on me. I try and intend to try harder to exercise control and hold myself back instead of unleashing a torrent of words.
It’s about 9:20 P.M. I open the kitchen cabinets, one by one, and smile to myself with satisfaction. Since the time I woke up this morning, I poured myself into micro cleaning the kitchen and the dining room. A place for everything and everything in its place, a statement from my 11th standard commerce book comes to mind. It was a statement meant to explain one of the management principles. I think today I earned the right to say that my kitchen and dining room bear some semblance of order. It feels good. It feels like home.
I would like to think that we have been dealing with renovation related disruption gracefully, understanding for the most part that this temporary inconvenience and disruption is the price we pay for living in a house that we are renovating. However, there have been days, especially this month when we have felt disoriented from having to scramble around for essentials. Luckily, we see the end of the tunnel plus everyday the progress made is tangible. So even when it feels like we are in a rudderless boat, there is a sense of calmness in seeing the shore is within our eyesight.. If temporary disruptions that is expected to have a happy ending can be this challenging, I can’t imagine what it must be to not have a guaranteed home to come to.
This Thanksgiving, I am deeply grateful for the roof over our head and for our cosy little nest. I am thankful that we were able to take the renovation project on and run with it. I am thankful that we are working with someone we quite like. I am thankful that the kids were troopers, accommodating the multiple trips to the tile store and not letting this project come in the way of their learning. I am thankful that Da and I spent a ton of time together figuring out the nitty gritties. Much gratitude indeed!
Happy Thanksgiving from ours to yours.
“Can you believe it amma, I am a teenager!” the child posed a rhetorical question as he chomped his cheese filled crispy dosai on his special morning. We exchanged a knowing glance, as if acknowledging the enormity of it all, but mostly to check how many dosais were left on the plate. A little voice in my head whispered, “No and Yes”
No, I can’t believe you are a teenager! I can’t believe it because, it just feels like yesterday that I held your tiny body in my arms for the very first time. I can’t because even when you are strong enough to lift me, you will always be small enough for me to coddle you. I can’t because all I said was skip, hop and jump, and here you are nearly as tall as me. I can’t because I fight my impulse to protect you before I can let you learn from your mistakes. I can’t because I think of you as my darling darling baby in my head and can’t hold myself from smothering you with my loud noisy kisses.
Yes, yes and yes, you are so a teenager! I can believe it because of the way your eyes twinkle and your lips smack as we talk about chocolate pancakes, cheesy ravioli, bean burritos and masala pooris. I can believe it because I have seen you grow inch by inch right under our noses. I can because we are shoe shopping in adult aisles for you. I can because no topic is taboo or off limits for us. I can because when you make a mistake you are mature enough to come up to us and confess. I can because you take ownership and responsibility to get your tasks done. I can because we have thoughtful conversations around how we can support each other, be it fitness or staying organized. I can because even when it’s hard to accept, you understand our values and who we are as a family. I can because when I hug and kiss you, I hold you a second longer knowing that it’s only a question of time before your smooth buttery cheeks give way to tiny buds of facial hair. I can because I can count on my fingers the number of years that are left before you spread your wings and fly from our cosy little nest.
Happiest of birthdays to the newly minted teenager in our home. You are such a fun, kind, wise, and witty dude. We love you from the depths of our hearts and are profoundly grateful for your presence in our lives. Be kind. Be brave. Work hard. Make a difference. Be YOU. XOXO.