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Life has been pretty good - mostly - on the Real Life™ front.

Hubby is almost ready to bring back in the old secretary that my grandfather built long ago. It's had the broken desk/front repaired, and the new wood stained and finished to the point that it's impossible to tell that it is a new(er) piece of wood. To be honest, it's a slice of the old mantle that ended up out in the shop; the grain of that clear wood matched the broken side piece perfectly. Now he's working on a carved oval table that he stripped once and refinished AT a while ago. It's pretty wrecked, and definitely needs a darker stain to hide the fact that it truly is "cobbled" together out of a number of mismatched pieces of wood. When Hubby gets done with it, however, it will have a dark cherry wood stain and a high-gloss polyurethane/beeswax finish that will withstand almost anything we can throw at it.

At that point, all the stuff we had before will have been fixed, rejuvenated, refinished, polished and generally made to look like a million bucks. I'm starting to make sounds of "we need to put this picture there, move the piano panels there (some bas relief panels from the front of my sweet old upright grand that died a horrible death a number of years ago) and where the HELL did those other plates (decorative Chinese plates, gorgeous things!) go?"

His project list, past the oval table, is to build a chest of drawers for a friend, a small gaming table to hold my glass chess set, and then the large display case for the rest of my Oriental art collection. I guess he's willing to take a stab at refinishing the across-the-street-neighbor's antique dining table sometime thereafter.

For my part, I have signs that my new royal purple iris bulb is taking root and growing nicely, AND some of the gladiolus bulbs I set out in front of the porch are sprouting. I love irises and glads.

Hubby & I also discussed Step #2 in stabilizing the grape arbor frame, which will involve installing a new beam across the middle part, moving the 4X4 to one side and installing another on the opposite side. Then, if we can figure out how to level and tampen the ground so that, when it dries, it's a decently hard, flat(ish) surface, we'll have a nice place to put a picnic table and chairs for nice evenings. We've also discussed putting in some flowers here and there to dress the place up a bit - and to build the boxes for that "washer" game that we saw when we attended a 4th party at neighbor-across-the-street's.

It's interesting. Hubby had the kind of job that made him virulently anti-social. He was the manager and go-to person when a customer was being difficult or was unhappy - as well as responsible for managing a number of employees and trying to keep product "shrinkage" down in a large hardware store. He'd come home at night, wave at me as he walked by, shut himself up in the bedroom and hibernate - all because he was so tired of dealing with people. Now, however, he's starting to come out of his shell and be willing to visit (for a short time) with others.

When Hubby and I are talking about the back yard, we're now speaking in terms of having folks over for BBQs and/or fun time for some of Súl's and my friends from Halcyon. Considering that we have an almost double-wide and fully double-deep lot that looks much like a park when well-groomed, it will be fun to share it with friends and acquaintances - when the time comes. It will also be fun to finally have friends and acquaintances meet that shadowy person that I'm married to and get to know him a bit. The most fun, however, will be in watching my hubby bloom at long last in the warmth of a fellowship with friends that wouldn't be possible if he were still working.

Have I said lately how his being laid off three years ago was the best thing that ever happened to him - and to us? Sounds contradictory, but it's true. Had Hubby continued working at his job for much longer, I fear it would have killed him. It had already done a good job of killing his spirit. I have that back now, and nothing means more to me than that!

And so, with everything, I think I'm sitting on the cusp of life taking a new and interesting turn. All in all, I'm happy with the idea of change too.
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