Think of it as an Inspiration!

I have always admired people who think of a project, and then sit down and do it. I don’t operate that way at all – which may explain a lot of things about my life, when I come to think of it. But for me, it goes like this: I think of a project. I ponder it, and see it already done, and enjoy the imaginary fruits of having done it. This euphoria lasts for some little time, while the horrid reality looms on the horizon, like some large, hairy creature bouncing around, demanding to be dealt with. Time passes. I say to myself – I really have to do that…. I really do have to do that…. I REALLY MUST DO THAT…. And then one day, out of the blue, often at quite an inconvenient time, something seizes me, and I begin to do it. And then it’s done and a warm, fuzzy feeling sets in, and lasts for some time.

Such it was with a bookcase in my new office.

My new office used to be Gerry’s office, and before that, in its original incarnation, it was a porch. As I mentioned once before, when this old house was built, literally about a hundred years ago, it was a little, adobe Arizona ranch house, surrounded on all four sides by a screened porch, for sleeping on hot summer nights, and, on the kitchen side, for keeping various kitchen items like, I imagine, the meat safe, or perhaps the odd block of ice. I know this by the fact that outside my bedroom door is a barbeque! Surely an odd place for a barbeque? Not when you grasp the history of the house.

When we bought the ranch, the porch was no longer on all four sides of the house, two sides having been swallowed by a bedroom on one side and an added living room on the other – but two sides remained. Sometime after we moved in, we glassed in both porches, and Gerry made the north side his office. The east side became, I am sad to say, a sort of catch all, mainly for some sprawling indoor plants, then more plants in the winter, and also for the hot tub. As the plants lacked some tender loving care, and the hot tub looked like most hot tubs look, it wasn’t a particularly inviting space – and it was fully visible through a window in an alcove in the adjoining living room. The view was not at all pleasing – the dusty hot tub lid, the scruffy plant, and then an expanse of a red tile floor, looking unappetizingly bare and empty. At one time the other end housed a scruffy sofa, on which slept Gerry’s cattle dog, Molly, who was at that time raising my Anatolian puppy, Sasha, later to be known as Moose. Sadly, neither of them is with us any longer – but the memory of them on that leaky old sofa on that tired porch remains. But you know how you get used to living with something, and, after a while, don’t even notice it? So it was for me with the porch.

Some time ago my step daughter from Australia, Sally, who has a wonderful decorating sense, eyed the porch through the living room window and said “You know, that would be so much nicer if you made a French door to that porch from the living room and made a little sitting area out there….” Because I love to build (and those of you who enjoyed Grapevine owe the place to this trait, which Gerry and I both shared, a passion for building) – no sooner said than done. As soon as Sally and husband Craig left for Down Under, I called the builder, and the door was in. The result is really attractive – the hot tub was exiled to the other end, some wicker furniture was moved into the living room end, a couple of rugs, a fountain and some bamboo blinds were installed – and presto – a beautiful porch for whiling away long spring and fall evenings – I don’t know about winter yet, and forget the summer! Hot as a pistol out there right now. But for some 6-8 months of the year it is a most superior place to sit, listen to music and watch the birdies, whose feeders and bird bath are right outside.

That left the other end, Gerry’s old office. When he died, we moved his desk out, and the space became, a bit like the other, a repository of all unwanted bits from the house. My office, as distinct from his, was the room adjoining the sitting room, where I kept a small, stylish desk, more for show than for actual use, and some filing cabinets, which eventually became a catch all for all the paper rubbish of the world. It is also the 2nd spare bedroom, with an off the wall bed, so that when additional company came, a lot of the office stuff had to be moved in order to get the bed down…. very unhandy.
Until Grapevine closed. Then it became evident that a lot more “stuff” had to be housed in that office, and that the present system just wouldn’t do. In one of those rare, inspired moments, it came to me that the office would be best turned again into a bedroom for that odd guest, and, furthermore, that some of the pretty indoor plants at Grapevine, for which I had to find a home, could also be housed there, by the windows. This last came to me as a sort of revelation, a bit like a shackled convict suddenly finding himself free to move, because you have to know that Gerry adamantly hated indoor plants, and, though he was too nice to object too violently, he called them “weeds” and huffed and puffed when he happened to stumble across some – so for twenty five years all indoor plants were banned from the house. But suddenly it dawned on me that I could, actually, have the darn things in the house again, and, furthermore, wherever I wanted them! So – the fancy desk was given away, a huge old jade plant and some kind of palm from the Grapevine front office were moved in, and, while the room is still in the process of being completed, I am happy with what I already foresee to be a pleasing result. It will be known, of course, as The Weed Room, which was Gerry’s name for any room which boasted so much as a geranium in the window.

So that left a need for an office – and where else, but in Gerry’s old space, the original north porch! (A bit like musical chairs, isn’t it? Are you still with me?) We moved in an office desk, my Grapevine computer, some file cabinets, I put up curtains, and it is a most agreeable place in which to work. One wall houses a large white board where Gerry had all sort of maps and stuff – that wall has on it now about a zillion photographs of him in various occupations – I was lucky enough to have had a guest here over some twenty years who took a lot of photos, and she gave me many of them when he died – so that it seems as if he is still with me.

But this all began by my telling you about jobs not done and then done, didn’t it? This particular job was a book case in the new office which Gerry had Jimmy build many years ago, and which had, over time, become filled with unbelievable “stuff” – old papers, files, books, dust, fluff – just awful. Whenever you couldn’t find a place to stuff something, it went in there. So, now, ever since I took up abode in my new headquarters, I eyed that bookshelf with sorrow, thinking, one of these days…..

The day came yesterday. The TV room is right next door, so, with it turned way up so I could depress myself further, I slid into the cleaning a bit like one slides into cold water, a bit at a time. I began by sorting off about a thousand old music cassettes – yes, cassettes! That’s how long it had been dormant. It was a bit like digging in an archeological site. All kinds of artifacts came to light, some items occasioning a pleased “Oh look, so that’s where it was!” And some “Why on earth did we get this!” I filled two huge trash bags with rubbish, cleaned the shelves, put the books on them in order, and then, inspired by this effort, moved to the TV room next door. Apart from the television, this room also houses two wall to wall book cases filled with books, papers and, horrid thought, photo albums and loose photos flung there with the thought “One of these days…”

So again, the day was yesterday. I sat on the sofa, listening to some political garbage on TV, and sorted old photos. The result is unbelievable – not one room, but two rooms done, cleaned, sorted …. I was so busy that I quite forgot to eat anything until 4:30 in the afternoon, as Danny, with whom I normally eat lunch, was off, and I was left to my own culinary devices. So around 5 or so I ate two hot dogs, mixed a well deserved gin and tonic, and sat back to enjoy the fruit of my labors.

I know this is likely to be boring to most of you – but think of it as an inspiration – and, if you are one of these people who put off things, try my method of sneaking up on a job by surprise, when it least expects you! It’s fun, rewarding and brings with it a warm fuzzy glow of achievement.

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14 Responses to Think of it as an Inspiration!

  1. kerry johnson says:

    Never Boring, Wish I were there for a hot dog and a gin and tonic with you.

    Love kerry.

  2. Cindy Van Sant says:

    So glad to get an update on what you have been doing, thought about last 4th of July when we were at Grapevine for one of our quick visits. Hope all is well, Jerry and I think of you a lot.

    Love Cindy

  3. Eve says:

    Thanks, gals!! So nice to hear from you. And Kerry, in case you wonder, the leather horse has come home with me!! By the time Grapevine sells, I may have to build another building to house all the “bits” I can’t part with, but the leather horse was a must!
    Keep in touch,


  4. Elaine Grills says:

    A little late to the gate here!No more Grapevine to visit.That’s what kept me going in our cold winters lugging bales and cleaning stalls-the thought that I would get back there.Hope you enjoy your “retirement”-there can’t be anything better than having your friends outside your door.

  5. Kitty McMullin says:

    I can truly see you, sitting in the middle with “stuff” all around you!! You certainly earned the hot dog and gin and tonic!! I as well am a “sneaker”! Well named as the timing can sometimes be less than optimal! (Just ask Phil, his most often uttered words to me are “why are you doing that now to which I reply, because it just hit me!” Wish I could be there with you to offer moral support of course!

  6. Susanne says:

    See…you truly are my mum! When I sneak up on a project, it’s usually as big a surprise for me as it is for the object of my inspirtion. Just like for you, one thing leads to another and I wind up with one project meandering into another. Fun though to see what you accomplish. Can’t wait to see what you’ve done.

  7. Fred says:

    Hello Eve
    Glad to see you are doing well and still quite busy. I’ve sent some emails to you but never got an answer expect for some delivery failure .. maybe they did not even reach you…
    Is Alienor still with you ?
    All the best
    Fred (the french guy)

  8. Elisabeth says:

    Hi Eve,

    I had bought one of the Groupons for a stay on your ranch. My husband and I were supposed to come on July 19. to 22. 2011. So I thought I’ll look up your website for a phone # so I could give you a call and reconfirm.

    The first thing I read was the opening paragraph of ‘Think of it as an Inspiration!’
    I got such a kick out of that and laughed and laughed. Then I called my sister and
    read it to her. We both know exactly what you are talking about and laughed some more. Of course I was looking forward to meet a lady with such a sense of humor. I then copied the URL and forwarded it to my sister so she could read the rest of the story. I read it too and it became clear to me that your ranch is no longer taking in guests. Nobody notified me about that. How very sad. Especially since you sound like a lady I would really have liked to meet.

    I read several of your other blogs by now and see that we have a lot in common. I too was born in Europe, we must be about the same age. I lived for years in India, where my children went to boarding schools in the hills. I also lived in Nepal, Sri Lanka and many other countries and visited Australia many times, including the Snowy Mountains, where we hiked for weeks, cursing the flies and especially the ants. One could not stop anywhere without them running all over one and still we loved it.

    Anyhow, I can tell that you enjoy your retirement and have a wonderful time remembering all the places and people you were privileged to know. Sorry I found out about you too late. Keep on writing. I am looking forward to reading more.


    P.S. My husband is one of the ‘ think of a project, and then sit down and do it’ people. No sooner mentioned and he is off doing. It is not always such a good thing and I have learned to hold back mentioning things until I have contemplated the details and whether I really want to have it done or how or where.

  9. Ruth Jeffrey [nee Simmons] says:

    Eve, I was saddened to hear you news, I know you must have pained over this decision for months. A weeks riding vacation at Grapevine was like a prescription for recovery, a week in God’s country with Angels at the healm. [Oct 2004]
    I came for a week and visited with a great friend – we both left, better people. I will treasure those memories for life as sadly my friend passed away in Jan 2010. It was at your ranch that I met my future husband although at the time neither of us knew that. You all shaped my future and you never knew it!
    Thank you for everything and we wish you all the best luck in the world for the future.

  10. kerry johnson says:

    I love that you loved that leather horse, glad it is with you. i will see you soon

  11. Dear Eve, I am so sorry to hear the ranch closed. I worked for just a little while there and I really loved it. You and Gerry were really nice people as were the whole cast and crew that worked for you. I do remember the experience very fondly. Wished I could have worked out better and stayed there. I am sorry I just found out about the ranch. So what exactly is going to happen to the ranch? I always wanted to come back as a visitor. Fondly, Diane

  12. Eve says:

    Hi everyone – you know that I am a bit challenged when it comes to things like e-mails…. This is the reason I only just discovered, on my e-mail page, a little button called Feeds. I pressed it, more out of whimsical curiosity than from a real desire to get anyplace and bingo! it brought up all your comments – duh!
    So I read that you, Fred, can’t contact me? I can’t see why – we did correspond for quite a while. I did wonder what happened to you – try again, at
    And Elisabeth, I am sorry we did not get to meet – there are so many people out there that I missed out on. I guess I can’t meet you all!
    I am glad you all are keeping up with my periodic fits of communicating! I enjoy keeping in touch and I hope we always will be.
    Thanks for writing, everyone!

    All best to you all,


  13. Eve says:

    And Diane, I am sorry that things hadn’t worked out for you at Grapevine.
    You ask what is going to happen to Grapevine?
    Well, here is the latest – this Saturday we are having an auction of the ranch “stuff” like trucks, trailers, some equipment, things that would not be improved by just sitting around -and then the real estate will be put up for sale – not necessarily as a guest ranch. I think it would make a lovely business or family retreat, a church camp, a business meeting place – whatever.
    And exciting news – we had a huge rain yesterday and everything is looking green and lovely already.
    All best to you all – and do keep in touch!

  14. Honor Incorvaja says:

    Hi Eve – I was so disappointed when I heard Grapevine was closing – it had always been my dream to come back and was always looking forward to “next year”!

    However you are having a well deserved retirement and able to have time to yourself to do whatever you want to do! I am very glad you are giving quite e few horses retirement too!

    I seem to travel where my children are – I came to the States for 7 years when they were both at university in Utah – then there were 4 years of Italy when they were both living there. Now I have just got back from England visiting my son Alexander and daughter in law who had a baby girl 6 weeks ago. He has been working there for 2 years and has another year to go, after that we hope he will be back here.
    Lisa is living here in Malta and has a 2 year old son.

    Have a wonderful retirement surrounded by all your animals.

    Philip, Lisa and I remember the lovely times we had at Grapevine and we all send you our love and very best wishes. x

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