Because my brain is so often huffing and puffing its way through an editing gauntlet, one of the things I look forward most to on my day off is . . . nothing. Well, no, not nothing; that would boring, and then I’d become restive, which is a fancy word for twitchy, which isn’t pretty–at all. The nothing I speak of is more of minimal something, requiring very little of me cognitively:
For Christmas last year, I wanted to give my mother-in-law something she would really love. (I’m weird about gifts, and am unable to buy things just for the sake of having a present to give.) It has to fit, you know? A well thought out gift is very much like offering someone a piece of their reflection; they see all the best parts of themselves in it, without all the blemishes and flaws normally so apparent.
Before I go into the tutorial, a bit of background. I believe I have yet to mention our living situation, yes? Well, I used to think of it as unique, but more and more it seems to become quotidian with each and every passing month our economy stays rooted in debt. My husband and I — for the time being — are living with his mother. For years we paid exorbitant rent prices, and in return had a lovely space with which to entertain. Our town-home was 1400 sq. ft. and stunning, let me tell you! We poured much time and energy into painting and decorating, and enjoyed every minute of it. However . . . it also cost over $2,000 a month. Yowsa! When I stopped working as a nanny, and decided to take this Providential moment in my life — however long it may last — to finish my first novel, we also decided that we would give up a portion of our autonomy in exchange for some much needed financial relief. Michael’s mother, Susan, graciously accepted us into her home. Susan is incredible. I love my my mother. I also love my father and step-mother; however, I know that we couldn’t live with either of them — mostly because of me. I intuit and perceive, and being the over-sensitive Mollusk Girl I am, would be worrying about every microscopic detail, fretting about becoming a bother and burden, and so on and so forth. Susan is calm. Susan is easy-going. Susan is Michael’s mom. I need these blue personalities around my red one, or else . . . I will absolutely go insane.
Whether you’re the kind of woman who enjoys rolling up her flannel sleeves and plunging her hands straight into the mulch, or the kind who prefers to don a lovely apron and whip up something delicious, or maybe a little of both, I believe one facts stands true in all cases: women love to do things with their hands. We start to display signs of creativity from a very early age and, if nurtured properly, develop a wondrous and deep appreciation for the “labor of love.”
However . . .
Reno’s can be exhausting, overwhelming, and sometimes, after all is said and done, — time, money, and energy you will never, ever see again — what you end up with is hours spent in hard labor is a valuable lesson learned. Oh, and a strange, sort-of-looks-like-the-picture restoration that you plan to immediately hide in the back of a drawer or closet because, as hideous as the thing is, you worked tremendously hard on the thing and cannot bear to put it where it really belongs. IE: the trash. I’ve been there, believe me.
Some of us are naturals in the kitchen, garden, home, etc . . . We need do nothing more than think a pretty thought and the idea descends upon us with all the alacrity of a bee to a pollen-plentiful flower. Unfortunately, not ALL of us are born with Martha Stewart’s genes, so we must improvise and cheat a little. A mishap is fine from time to time, but if we are to succeed and improve, we first need a little confidence and ripe opportunity.