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.
During that morning with her I gained a lot of insightand 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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
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: