Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 2

I had a thing for forts when I was a kid. I mean, really, what kid doesn’t? I always wanted to have some special, super secret hideout. I fashioned a few over the years–cutting a small clearing in the hedges growing along the side of our house, rearranging boxes in closets. Hell, one year when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade and my family was still living in the tiny town of Bird City, Kansas, I even built a giant fort out of the hundred or so tumbleweeds that blew into our backyard one fall, but that one was pretty short-lived since Dad usually took care of the tumbleweeds as soon as they arrived by lighting a fire in a barrel in the backyard and burning them.

Part of me always hoped I might have something a little more permanent (and a helluva lot cooler). I wanted a tree house, or even a small clubhouse that I could build in my backyard. The closest I got was when my family moved to Holdrege, Nebraska and my family bought a house that had a little two-story shed in the backyard. I laid claim to the top floor before Dad could fill it with tools and useless junk, and I struck gold when I found some old pieces of carpet in the basement.

I called my friend Jenny and we raided Dad’s toolbox and spend the better part of an afternoon carpeting our new hangout. We were about halfway done when we heard a loud POP! from below and discovered that we’d been driving 3-inch nails straight through the plywood and nailed one right into the light fixture in the shed below.

Duane was a little pissed when he saw our handiwork, but hey, you live and learn right? And, after a long lecture, we were able to finish our carpeting job with some appropriately-sized nails and then spent the better part of a summer wasting away the hours in our hideout.

I eventually grew out of my cramped (and poorly insulated) loft in the shed, but it was fun while it lasted. And even if I’ve never had another proper clubhouse or treehouse, I’ve managed to find contentment in having some sort of space that was all my own. In high school, it was my basement bedroom. I could close my door, turn on some music, and write for hours. In college, it was my dorm room, after my roommate moved out and I managed to keep a single. After graduation, it was my private bed, bath and living room in a shared house, and then eventually my own studio apartment in a building a I shared with a cop, his girlfriend, and three nuns.

Sometimes the solitude of my own space was welcome. Other times, the loneliness was nearly my undoing. But either way, I learned a lot about myself in the quiet.

I’ve always been the type who needs a bit of space, some room to breathe and unwind, especially at the end of a long day filled with people and commitments and demands. There’s something about stepping into my own little corner of the world that helps me tune out the noise and find my balance again. These days, it’s a little harder to find that quiet spot, to catch a moment completely to myself. These past few months, I haven’t been very good about it at all, and I’ve paid for it with this lingering illness and this general feeling of exhaustion.

Lesson learned.

And thank you to Cosette for reminding me today, just how important it is for each of us to have our own sacred space, a place we can go to unwind, relax, and recharge our batteries. You know Cadence was thrilled when she woke and found that Cosette built her a special little place, but if we want to continue using our dining room table for meals, I guess this means we’re going to have to do a little brainstorming for a more permanent clubhouse.

But for now, we’ll just have fun…

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365 Project – Day 275 – Start Digging

Okay, I know I have already posted several pictures of my daughter digging or playing in the dirt in other blog posts, but I just can’t help myself. Every time I see her plop her butt down in a pile of dirt to play, I can’t help but imagine myself as a child, doing the exact same thing.

See, I had quite an obsession with digging when I was a kid too. I fancied myself a Goonie, and just knew there there was some hidden treasure out there just waiting for me to uncover it. After exploring every nook and cranny of the houses my family lived in and not finding anything that resembled an old treasure map or one of One-Eyed Willie’s Spanish doubloons, my adventure seeking often led me to the next logical place where the rich stuff could be hiding–under ground.

Armed with a shovel and a hoe from Dad’s garage, I would begin my excavation. Once I even conned one of my friends into joining my cause, and by the time Mom got home from work, the backyard of our rental house was beginning to resemble the outskirts of Camp Green Lake from the movie Holes.

Yeah, that one got me grounded. And it definitely wasn’t as fun filling those holes back in again.

Alas, I never did find the rich stuff, but I can’t say I didn’t give it a good try. In the end, the thrill of the hunt was probably a whole lot more fun anyway, because I got to create, and I got to imagine, and I got to dream. And never once in all that time did I complain that I was bored. If doing a few extra loads of dirty laundry means that my daughter is being an active participant in life and exercising her imagination, then I would say the trade off is worth it, because there are few things that drive me crazier than people complaining that they are bored.

Bored? Really? Who are you? And what do you do to have so many extra hours in your day that you can actually be bored? And if you truly are, please feel free to drop by my house, because I have about 167 things for you to do that could rid you of that boredom real quick.

If you’re still bored after crossing every item off the list, then it’s time to head out there and start searching for some buried treasure because, if you ask me, boredom is just a side effect of a broken imagination, and what can be worse than that?

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to living a boredom-free life, with an active body and an active mind. Otherwise, isn’t life is just a colassal waste of time? So, get out there friends, and start digging.

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