Wednesday, December 25, 2013

From Our Home to Yours

I got exactly what I asked for this Christmas. 
We spent our first Christmas as a married couple 
waking up for the first time in our new home. 



Merry Christmas, from our home to yours


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Third Annual Jean's Boots Christmas Letter

Dear loyal readers, 
The friends -
The family -
The annoying spam that visits weekly trying to sell me Versace handbags CHEAP!!

It's hard to believe I'm sitting down to write this letter again. 
Do you know what is even harder to believe?
That I have 30% of my Christmas shopping done one week prior to December 25 - BOOM!
It's time to quickly recap some highlights of the year while trying desperately to mask the fact that my life is 100% ordinary and 10% humorous. 
And, I'm terrible at math. 

2013 can be summed up in one question that we all asked ourselves after the Alabama/Auburn football game: What just happened?

In January I enjoyed the inaugural trip of the year to Denver with the Thomas Sisters. Generally speaking, these gals keep me sane, partially hopped up on wine and grounded at the same time. 



I'm thankful for their perspectives on life and humor that delivers at the very second I need it. They're the kind of friends who keep your personal to-do in their phone when your head is spinning too quickly to get things done. 



In March I had the amazing opportunity to spend a morning 1:1 with Temple Grandin



During that morning with her I gained a lot of insight and learned one very important lesson:
Turning on someone's seat heater in the car is not always a welcomed gesture. 

There were several seconds on I-270 southbound where I thought Dr. Grandin was going to literally jump out of my moving vehicle. 
She had no idea why her bum was so warm and she did not care for it.
Try explaining that one. 
To Grandin
Lesson learned. 
Headline news story avoided. 

In May I put my house up for sale, BY OWNER. A lot of good that did. 
I got several phone calls about the little gem but only by folks who wanted to rent. 
I still have nightmares about tenants from my parent's rentals in the early 90's who smelled like kerosene and peanut butter.
No way in heck was I about to rent out this home I adore. 
It is still for sale and the price has been lowered. As well as the thermostat. No sense in heating two homes, I tell Cody often. 
It's in a little town with a great atmosphere: three churches, a restaurant, two bars, a museum, a "fun house", a pet cemetery and a music store all within walking distance! 
And it's close to a scenic, historic river! 
It's basically waterfront property!
What more could you want?!
Can you tell I've been working on the Craig's List ad?

On August 5 Cody and I took the plunge and officially went up to our eyeballs in debt: 
We bought a farm. 


It's a real nice place. 
...With room for improvement. 
And a few cows. 
Since the purchase, our time has been completely wrapped up in getting it ready for our arrival. 
I've been to Lowe's and Menard's more times since August than I have been in my entire 29 years combined. 
I've lost sleep over paint colors
I've dreamt about horsehair
I've had days when the greatest accomplishment I made was pasting kitchen cabinets with liner. 
I've sold cowboy boots in order to get things to fit in this newfound space. 
I've learned how to use a plunger. In the dark. 
If we don't move in soon I'm considering burning the entire place to the ground. 
Just kidding. Kind of. 

Five days later on August 10 Cody and I took another plunge and got married. 
Yep: 
Wind = Roped. 
For the most part I enjoyed everything that came with wedding planning. 
The stressed out mother. 
The emotional father. 
The black lady in the dressing room who ripped my underwear off of me
Who am I kidding? By the time August 10 rolled around, I was so ready for the vows that it didn't matter if my dress zipped or not. I was walking down that aisle. 
From Hawaii to northern Michigan, Oregon to Florida, and Canada to Washington, DC, we had generous guests arrive in Greens Fork, Indiana to celebrate with Cody and I. For that we are so, so grateful. 
We consider that day our greatest blessing: Friends and family in one place, wishing us well and sharing our joy. 
And parents who weathered every storm along the way with sails of patience


While August put Cody and I on our greatest high, September brought us to a terrible low as we laid our two beloved pups, Birdie and Dixie, to rest. There is nothing better than a good and faithful dog, and we were fortunate to know two.  They taught me the definition of patience and the importance of a vacuum with a pet hair attachment. 


I miss them every single day. 

Also in September Cody judged stock at the Washington State Fair and we enjoyed seeing that part of the country. We had an awesome CAB meal at the The Metropolitan Grill in Seattle and went to the top of the Space Needle. 
Wouldn't recommend it. 
I swear I stayed at a hotel in vegas that was taller than that deal, and when you finally get to the top, it's like a concession stand from the local skating rink. 
Packed with a lot of folks who don't understand, "Excuse me". 
It's a high rise melting pot with three times too many people. 



Cody went ahead and carried his luggage to the top. I don't recommend that, either. It would have been less awkward and crowded if he would have just worn a fanny pack like the rest of them. But isn't he handsome?

In November I felt a sense of lost identity. 
It wasn't the name change
Or tossing some of my belongings so Cody could move in
It wasn't even the Angus Journals and sale catalogs that began to fill our home. 
It was the 40 lbs. of cat food I bought.
It's with great fondness that I recall the days when we'd play punt kitty as Greens Fork  children. Now I'm breaking ice in cat dishes the size of my fist and tripping over black cats in the cold dark night. 
Marriage: It changes things, folks. 

But not the fact that some of my best evenings in 2013 were spent at BSG, working with the cattle that we take pride in. I'm proud of the house Momma and Dad have built. 


video

I sincerely hope each of you have enjoyed 2013 and everything that it encompassed in your own world. 
And also the snow. We've just seen a lot of snow. 
It all went by so quickly. 
Many thanks for reading Jean's Boots Are Made For Talking - I hope you've enjoyed it and also learned something from every single story. That is what keeps me going. 
Even if that lesson is how to avoid starting your own cat ranch. 
They're everywhere, folks. And sadly, they have names. 

Merry Christmas, 

Jean





Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Compromising Crib

Perspective is everything. 

As we walked the farm that would eventually incur our debt, Cody and I both found things we loved about it, and things that we could do without. In true BowSankey fashion, the things I had to keep were the things Cody wanted gone - and vice versa. 

We passed through every gate, every room and every pasture. On the multiple visits that followed, our list of prospective changes grew - but unfortunately our budget didn't. 
Still, we dreamt on. 

One of the first sincere disagreements we've had while working to make this place our own was over the old corn crib. 


Cody looked at it and saw an eye sore that wasn't going to hold corn anytime soon; we're turning our tillable acres into pasture. 
In the middle of corn country. 
And black soil. 
Yes, we're crazy. 
About cattle. 


I looked at the old crib and saw a story - a history - of this old farmstead and the days that have passed by. 
I appreciated the rays of light that passed through the structure and wondered how many hot days and cold winter nights this wood had seen. 
It certainly served it's purpose.
I wondered who had built it.
It was weathered. 
It was worn. 
It was perfect. 


I believe we had four discussions regarding the future of this old crib. 
Real, serious discussions. 
So serious that when I was away for 1-2 days I had sincere concerns that I would come home to a pile of ashes and and shoddy explanation from Cody about "lightening."

Like any gal who wants something really badly, I racked my brain for creative ways to use that crib. 
It's like justifying that pair of shoes that you adore, but you'll likely never wear. 
They encompass everything you'd like your wardrobe to be.   
10% of you knows they're probably not worth the internal fight. 
Still 90% of you wants them really badly.
So, you charge on. 
The poor floor and warped south side presented its challenges. 


My strategy became not mentioning the crib if it didn't come up in conversation.
Out of site and out of mind?
False. 
It's right in our way and the first thing you see as you pull into the farm. 
Out of conversation and out of mind?
Yeah, I was going for that. 

Sunrises passed quickly and the moon made his appearance earlier every single day as this fall (and winter) we spent our hours at the new Sankey homestead. I think it was right around the time that our entire upstairs looked like this that the idea came to me. 


What if we moved the crib into the house?
No longer an eye sore, but part of our story?

I presented the idea to Cody and as well as pictures of what it may look like.
Thank you Pinterest, you precious little ally. 
Slowly, my patient husband began to ask questions. 
If you know Cody at all, you know that when the wheels are turning, he asks questions. 
Like, a lot of them. 

How?
Where?
When?
And most importantly: Why would this make sense?
I'm fairly certain I prepared myself more for this opportunity than I did for any final at Purdue. 
Priorities. 
I was prepared to answer everything. 
And I didn't know it yet, but Cody was already prepared to make my vision come true.
He had done his research.

video

In a weekend Cody and I carefully removed every vertical board off of that ancient corn crib frame, careful to not splinter the wood or shatter the boards. 
That was far more difficult than either of us anticipated when we started the project. 
That old corn crib was fragile. 
I told myself that it was proof that it needed us. 
Yep, if you rearrange the letters in "Lindsay Jean" it spells "Justification" --
I cannot believe you just tried that. 


We stacked the old frail crib into a pile and continued on with our lives. Work travel, the North American and other obligations left that stack of wood in our barnyard for a few weeks. Then we moved it into the house to dry out, per direction of our contractor. 

You see, while Cody and I are fantastic at burning things to the ground, we're not so well versed on building them back up. Our contractor shared our vision as soon as we opened our home to him and tried to paint our picture in his mind. 
He didn't laugh at the idea of moving the the corn crib into our house. 
At least, not in front of me?
Smart man.

His craftsmanship partnered well with our vision of making a new home for us that tells a fantastic story.
Every board was cut and fit into the best possible place as part of this Indiana farmstead. 
No longer weathering the rain and wind, the Compromising Corn Crib now adorns our home. 


New Windows!!



While the landscape of this old farm has changed with the removal of the corn crib, it's not been ridded of the history that we appreciate so much. 

This entire experience of moving the dear old corn crib that I fell in love with into our home has taught me much as we navigate this stage in our marriage. 

It's all about perspective - and compromise. 
We both lived independently long enough to create our own styles and preferences. But happiness lies in learning to appreciate another person's perspective, which could be quite different from yours. The things I love are the same things Cody would like to use as fire starter. The things Cody loves are the things I'd like to see in our next garage sale. 
75% off. 
Communication and compromise are both pertinent. 

Creativity pays. 
Just because something has age on it doesn't necessarily mean it's life is over. Who doesn't like a story? Who doesn't like to reuse or incorporate something that has stood the test of time? 
No one proudly starts their home tour by saying, "And this has a special story. We bought it at Lowe's right after we ate at Bob Evan's two Februaries ago..."

We still aren't done in the remodeling process, which is why the photos reveal very little past the Compromising Corn Crib woodwork. 
And we haven't moved in yet. 
The cows have officially made the place their home, but not us. 
Not. Quite. Yet...
I just can't pull the trigger on packing my hairspray and toothbrush until we have an operational sink. 
And mirror?
And shower?


Every night, we move a little more into this house. 
At this point, I just hope Santa knows where to find us come Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Old World Romance and Brown Saddles

Do you remember that blog I did about choices and how those decisions have the ability to change the course of our lives?
Well, let me tell you
We've made approximately 1,393 choices regarding the new (OLD) home in the last 45 days and I have really high hopes that the color we paint our bedroom has nothing to do with our future endeavors.

We'll see.


I've learned this about myself: I can look at a pile of 5 paint samples for an hour and still not have the ability to make a choice. 

Too similar. 
Too dark. 
Too bright. 
Too bold.
Too blah. 

Frustrated, I can set the same 5 samples in front of Cody and he has his decision made in twenty seconds.


"Easy. Saddle Brown," he said, flipping back to his Angus Journal.  
How did he do that? So effortless. I thought to myself. 
I liked Saddle Brown, too. And we went with it. 


We had a very similar experience just days later as I nearly formed an ulcer determining the north wall color. 
What took me two agonizing days to determine, Cody mastered in less than a minute. 
Puzzled by his swift response, I asked him, "What do you like about Peanut Brittle over Old World Romance?"
"Just sounds more appealing," he responded, "More us." 



After taking him to Lowe's with me, I began to see a trend...



And it wasn't in the shades of color. It was in the names
If it were up to Cody, we'd be decorating our house based solely on what is on our grocery list and in our barn. 
I could see it now, proudly giving our house tour, "And this is the south wall, covered in Spicy Mustard...and the closets are done in Flannel Blanket."


But I couldn't blame the guy. There was just something more appealing about paint that you could relate to. It made the home more ours. It allowed us to connect to the place. Still, on a few choices, I just couldn't do it. I dreamt that night that I was trying to find my way down the stairs after a girls’ night staring right into the face of Nacho Cheese. Misery. 



I reminded Cody that no one but us is going to know the name of the paint on the walls. It's the visual appeal that mattered. Trying to drill my point across, I presented two more swatches that I thought may make his decision more difficult:




Bingo. 

After two minutes he admitted he didn't see any different and he'd be happy with both. 

I learn something  everyday in this marriage deal. 
One day I learned the hard way that Cody will not toss a breed publication until the next year's issue (same month) has arrived. 
Another day I learned that no matter how hard I try I hide the vegetables in Mexican dishes, he will find them. Can you find the green bean? Yeah he did, too. 



And on this day I learned that we have to make a decision such as paint colors on a full stomach. 


I'm certain, however, that no matter what food or ranch necessity we slap on our walls, in the end this place will no doubt be 



A quick look at progress since last time.
Ceiling raised, drywall hung, lights mapped out, new windows installed and one anxious couple closer to moving in:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What...Is Wrong With Us?

Have you ever stopped during your crazy day, 
sat very still, 
tilted your head to one side 
and thought, 

"What kind of world am I living in?"

Last week I thought back to growing up in the 80's - 90's and how my research techniques were much different then. 
I used to find the step stool, go to the bookcase and run my fingers down the green and gold volumes until I found the letter I was searching for. 
The most frustrating part of the process was the wild goose chase that could soon ensue. 
Very often, my spelling abilities, or lack there of, would extend this adventure. 


Twenty years later and that wild goose chase is easily cut short by the Internet, which apparently already knows what I'm going to ask before I make my sixth stroke on the keyboard.
Last Thursday I typed one word in the Google search box and it hit me: 
We're living in a strange, scary state of affairs. 

That's right, world. 
'What does the fox say' was the most popular question asked on Google. 


Why are these the questions that occupy our minds?
Why do we care?
Here's why we should be concerned as a culture:

What does the fox say?
Who cares what the fox says?
Did anyone else watch that video and think, They do this for a living? What a dreadful calling...
When you're not a 4-year-old and the sound a fox makes is intriguing, you need to revaluate. Everything.
So what does the fox say, you ask?
Hell, I don't know. Can't we just consider it the silent observer of the animal kingdom and move on? It has the ability to observe, but not speak - I bet it's far smarter than the yappy dog down the street!

What is twerking?
Unfortunately, twerking is the closest thing to "werk" some Americans will ever do.
What is really worrisome is the number of online tutorials for this "dance". 
Double that worry and we will find how many people have watched the tutorial. 
Take 80% of that same number and you'll find how many girls under the age of 18 have viewed it. 
I'm terrible at math and I can even develop this conclusion:
Look out, America - these are the mothers of the next generation. 
You must be so proud. 


What Would I Say? 
I had to google this one. 
This is a Facebook app that generates whimsical statuses.
Yup. 
That's right. 
Folks all over America are relying on a computerized app to not only think for them (because, let's face it, you were never that funny), but also post it on social media so you look like the most 
1) insightful 
2) broken - but stronger now
3) witty person in the Facebook feed
to people whom you haven't seen in 8 years. Or met, ever, in your life. 
I'm sorry that you don't have enough self confidence to think or speak for yourself. 
I'd like to take that one up with your dad.
Fathers teach us confidence, mothers teach us compassion.
But learn how to twerk and you just might be going places...

And finally, America asks,
What is Obamacare?
Well...
As far as I know, its the only thing besides a stool sample that you have to pass to find out whats in it. 


I invite you - right now - to start devoting your learning - and teaching - to things that will benefit current or proceeding generations. When the above are the most popular questions our culture is seeking answers to, legitimate concern should arise with the direction we're going.
There is so much more to life.

In fact, what happened to the questions that matter?
  • Why do I get more car sick in the back seat?
  • Why do I only find coupons in my car three days after they've expired?
  • Why are the last 5 pounds the hardest to lose?
  • Why do your fingers and toes wrinkle if left in water too long?
  • Who killed JR?
  • Why does it take 15 years to use one jar of Vaseline?
Until these questions are answered, I refuse to let a red varmint with a bushy tail occupy any more of my life.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Twelve Mares and a Gelding

Welp, safe to say the honeymoon is over. 




One day not long ago, Cody and I gathered crowbars and dust masks after church and headed to the great unknown. 
Nope. 
Not Alaska, again. 
Our new (old) house. 

We knew what we bought. 
We knew what we wanted for our home. 
We (kind of?) knew how to get there. 
We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. 

I guess...I may have had an inkling?
Growing up, Dad called this "building character" - we called it tearing down the very house we lived in with tools we could barely lift. 
It's where we learned how to play 52-pick-up. 
And also extract nails from one another's shoes without telling Momma. 



Fast forward 25 years and I realized that love makes one do funny things, like repeat history. 


video

Once we ripped through the dreaded plaster and lath (several days later), we found the old frame of the the home that we've already grown to love. Round pegs and all. 









It's all fun and games until you have to restore these puppies. 

Three walls down in this old homestead, 
we found more horse hair than a barn housing twelve mares and a gelding. 
Like, more than the Quarter Horse Congress. 
Just, a lot of horse hair. 
Trapped in the Dirt Devil filter.

I'm no stranger to the horsehair 
I'm a friend of sheet rock
Friend, is it any wonder plaster chokes me
I've fought the Dirt Devil
Got down on it's level
But I never gave in, so it blew up on me
I'm no stranger to the 
horsehair

Nearly a week after re-writing Whitley's classic during deconstruction time, the work got a bit less meticulous and the urge to put a FOR SALE sign in the yard drifted into the wind. Along with approximately 200 lbs. of ancient insulation. 


Friends and family alike were kind enough to comment about how much they enjoyed seeing the interior of our home throw up on our front yard. What can we say? We've never been great at landscaping and the guts had to go somewhere. 

As I type this, the ancient rafters have been coupled with new to stand the test of time for the next 100 years. 
Same with the electric, insulation and windows.






Using heavy duty tools to demolish the very thing you've spent your combined life savings on has been a great teacher in early marriage
I've learned you can't can't kiss in dust masks and strangely, while wearing those masks, you have absolutely no desire to. 
I've learned a whole new vocabulary from Cody. 
And he's learned of a side of me I'm fairly certain he prayed he'd never encounter. 
Can't always get what you want, cowboy. 

You think I wanted to purchase an old fixer-upper and invest every last dime and second of free time into it?

You're right - It's Genetic

Until next time, a preview of our progress: