Progress Is Messy. Change Can Be Drippy. Smell Of Success.

New car smell, old funk trailer smell, choose one. Okay, neither smell appeals to me, but the faint aroma of freshly painted walls, newly sewn curtains crisply starched, and reupholstered cushions, and I am transcended into bliss.

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I bought Thelma Lou a year ago Fathers Day. Last June when we towed her home from Prineville she had been stored in a lot for awhile. She had been a weekend camper to the coast and housed a teen son and his friends for a time. She had all the ear marks of being a good horse, but had been ridden hard and put away wet – for example….

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She was full of funk, but not in the hipster kind of way.

I cleaned her up, spent an all-nighter giving her a paint job, and revived the gem that she is with a new facelift. Paint is a magic bullet. I was delighted in taking her from neglected, to a cozy cottage made just for a girl like me. I thought about her even when I wasn’t with her, like a first crush. Her blemishes were nearly invisible to me, even though touching every surface she had with a toothbrush or paintbrush revealed her issues as I progressed. Last summer I worked on her plumbing, redid all the pipes only to find out her tank (black water only) was more leaky than a sieve so there was no reason to get her toilet up and ‘running’. So we hauled water, slipped a little bucket into her toilet bowl for nighttime potty and dry camped with her over the last year. It has been fantastic and a game-changer for the adventure we can have as a couple and as a family. I adore Staycations like never before, and by Staycation, I mean the driveway sleepover – a home away from home, with a full kitchen and shower only 30 yards from her front door. Living in the country is a real plus for a Staycation driveway adventure. Grand kid sleepovers are a breeze, and you can always put someone out there in a pinch. Thelma Lou has lots for us to be in love with.

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Having waxed on to the point of sappy, I want to be real. She has issues. She has leaked, she has wrinkles in her paneling, ( don’t we all at almost 50?), some lifting vinyl on her ceiling in places, she needs a new tank, the toilet working, and she has a small tear in her siding from a meet up with a mailbox at our address. Having said that, she is real. Real history, real character, real bumps and bruises, real life under her belt and frankly, it is the charm of who this 2 wheeled grandma Thelma Lou is.

This week I have been painting again. Her adventures over the past year have left some scuffing on her hasty paint job. She needs a good deep clean again and we have been bonding this week. I think she senses I am getting her ready to house others who need some good R&R and could benefit from her cozy enveloping atmosphere. The fresh paint is covering the same old drips and runs that were already in place, but she seems refreshed. She seems ready for the road. She seems to be beckoning as if to say, “I am not perfect, but I am comfortable and hospitable. Come just relax, I’m real, I’m safe, and I can’t wait to meet you right where I am.”. So I am taking a clue from this alter ego of mine and getting her ready for company. She, no we, are about to embark on a new adventure, imperfect in body, and perfect in spirit. A half gallon of paint later, we are nearly ready to embrace a dream right where we are instead of waiting for perfection and the perfect moment. We don’t want to miss the life hiding under the barrage of details that would hold us back. We have planned this out, but left room for detours along the way. Even though I am a consummate planner, I don’t want to miss life while planning for it. At 50 years of age, I am finally starting to learn a bit about balance.

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3 comments on “Progress Is Messy. Change Can Be Drippy. Smell Of Success.

  1. Garden clog kg says:

    I recently read an article where a well seasoned elderly woman was speaking of her life and she said something very important… “let your mess up be your message”…

    I love that, I love it because people can relate to the raw authenticity of it. THELMA LOU, your alter ego has a lot to share. Like you, she’s been down the highway, and what an inspiration to be able to be in the passenger seat with you, down the country roads, the interstates, or even your gravel driveway with bumps and potholes along the way.

    • Clythe Patrick Butson says:

      Sunset years are those years where the gathered wisdom of decades sits on the shelf awaiting for just the right moment. i see the gathering wisdom in my two Daughters. They write with spiritual insights, wrapped in tender emotions. Although not yet on their own sunset year perches, I believe they are ahead of schedule.
      Dad

      • vintagerover says:

        Thank you dad for marking and mentioning growth you see in your children. It is good to know when you stand between the markers and tee-off, that when you give a full hard swing with your head down, sometimes you land on the green. Landing on the green is a good mark, even if it isn’t a hole-in-one. I appreciate you reminding me to swing hard, it’s is about playing the game well, not just hitting the flag.

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