“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” ― Cynthia Occelli
Have you ever noticed that some years go by without much activity, then one year, everything seems to happen almost all at once?
That’s been the theme for my 2016 so far. It has been the most productive year in a while. Although, you may have noticed, I have not spent my time writing about my garden.
Out with the old…
For the last few months of 2015, we were busy planning a complete renovation of our home. Then, on the first of February 2016, (the kids first day back at school after summer break) demolition started. The entire interior of our house was completely gutted. Walls came down; tiles were stripped, paint peeled back to plaster, damaged ceilings replaced. My parents generously loaned us their house to live in while they wisely trekked to Tasmania in their caravan.
The following 10 weeks were a blur. We had only one day when we didn’t have any trades on site, many worked on the weekend to stick to our rigid schedule. We project managed the work ourselves, Husband still at his day job, and often working at the house in the evenings and on the weekend, with me managing the day to day schedule on site. With over a dozen trades employed, only two let us down. Family and friends offered help whenever they could, and we were fantastically supported. Overall, we had a brilliant team, but still, it was a chaotic time!
Finally, our house was ready to move back into, just two weeks over schedule. We moved out of my parents’ house, with just five days to unpack before my parent’s moved into our house.
New York, New York…
Because, mid-April, Husband and I fled to New York for a few weeks, leaving the kids in the excellent care of their grandparents. Those last five days, we stayed up every night past midnight, unpacking, cleaning and by the time we got on the plane, we were exhausted.
Yes, taking a holiday at the end of a renovation was an extravagance. We almost decided not to go. But the thought of having a trip at the end of the process was done on purpose. It left no real wiggle room for time and or budget. The house had to be done. And when the stress got too much, it gave us something to look forward to.
Husband had never been to New York before, and I was worried he might not love it the way I do. Instead, New York re-energised us both. We walked over 200km in just over two weeks. Each day was fun, spontaneous, with adventure and discovery around every corner. It was a huge brain-change from the months of tight schedule we had left behind.
On our last day in New York, I apologized to the hotel porter who visibly heaved as he loaded my stuffed suitcase into the cab.
“Pretty sure that’s going to cost me in excess baggage!” I laughed.
The porter looked at me and smiled. “Probably ma’am,” he said. “But it’s all cool if the juice is worth the squeeze.”
As it turned out, our trip was definitely worth the squeeze. It was like a punctuation point in the year, marking before New York and after. We had to go away to come back. We were delighted to return to our family and our beautifully renovated home vowing to return to NYC with the kids next time.
Bye bye job…
Then, the day after we returned, Husband’s contract lost its funding and he was suddenly unemployed. And in this slow market, after a renovation and a holiday, it was unsettling news. Thankfully, by the end of the week, he had another contract, one that is much closer to our home and much less stressful than his previous role.
Falling into place…
Upon reflection, this year, when it has felt like things have been falling apart, they were falling into place. Everything that was seemingly lost, was replaced with something better than before. We started the year with a house that was tired, broken and worn. Now, five months later, we are still thrilled with the improvements we made. We enjoyed a trip of a lifetime and we returned with a great appreciation of our good fortune, family, and health.
Truth is, I missed my garden and during the few months renovation when we weren’t living at our house, it was left to go feral. We didn’t always have water on site, and it wasn’t long into a scorching February before a dearth descended on my garden. Plus, tradesmen aren’t perhaps known for their impeccable tidiness, and for while, the yard just seemed to be a constant mess.
Back to my roots…
So now, it is finally the garden’s turn to be rejuvenated. I’m so excited, keen to keep the year’s productive momentum going. My approach is already quite different to the way I’ve managed the garden in the past.
Already, the garden is much better and I think this may be my best season yet.
I can’t wait to share it all with you.