The past few weeks have rushed by. I didn’t plan well, scheduling events for every weekend in September, not only the first month of school but the fall crunch time on the farm. It’s all been fun but I have been anxious as I’ve made lists, worked steadily, and still heard balls dropping. I haven’t slept well. Last week I woke up with another episode of atrial fibrillation. It passed before I had to teach but it was a warning shot across my bow. I’ve cut back on my coffee and am trying to climb into bed earlier and make the lists shorter.

After work yesterday I was eager to drive to Connecticut to see Jon, Amanda, and Ami. I also have a stack of things to bring them. However I was tired (I did barn chores early in a downpour before joining the 7th grade camping trip to fry breakfast eggs and sausage for the children over a fire), DH and I had only had one evening together in a week, and he is due to leave again on Tuesday. I rescheduled the trip and stayed home to try to organize and re-center.

After a week of silence, my builder has returned to start painting the second story of the house. Every few days he appears for a few hours, and gradually the house is losing its piebald look. His hostility and lack of communication poisoned my summer, but it turns out I am utterly unable to hold a grudge. He seems completely oblivious and sunny and talks to me just as he always did, and inevitably I am listening in the old friendly fashion. He is clearly never going to do all the work originally promised, and I will have to hire others to do that work. He has cost me dollars I do not have. However — “In person I can’t stay angry,” I said to DH.

“I noticed.”

The builder gave me an estimate of $480 to paint the posts and railings of the front porch. I can’t hire someone to do work I can do myself, so although I loathe, loathe, loathe painting, I’ve added it to my list. Because he only added the railings for the mudroom porch and end of the front porch in the last two weeks, those will need to season until spring before I can paint them. So we will have another year of the unfinished two-tone look.

I remind myself to focus on what is important in life. It is not paint.

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