Thursday, September 27, 2007

Day 3.4: Nuts!*

I am a squirrel (though not nearly as cute as the little guy above). There's no getting around it. In fact, there's almost no getting around this room as the shelves empty and boxes slowly pile in the only spot without furniture. Yes. The doorway.

This room has too many activities crammed into it. We know that. But one of the most important, to me, is my scrapbooking. I am reluctant to even discuss such a middle-class, suburban housewife past-time in such erudite company, but other than painting furniture and decorating, (which, honestly, happens hardly at all) it is my creative outlet.

And, to be frank, it hardly happens, either. I am way too compulsive in my habits. Scrapping is just like The Cure. I get busy and the family goes hungry, children are left ignorant and ignored. So, I haven't done it in a while. A long while. It's beside the point, really, except to say I've been longing to get back at it for a couple of months now. The only way I can do it is to have everything handy, here in the dining room. If it were down in the basement, I'm afraid I'd forget what my children looked like. And so, everything waits for me to establish the habit of moderation, here in the dining room. But scrapping not only eats time, it eats space. It is not a hobby for those with space issues. The amount of stuff you need to "keep handy" is unbelievable.

My husband and I bought the Expedit to house it all. It was the subject of at least two arguments. We even took it back (I thought to leave it there) when I had doubts about having purchased the dark one and wanted to exchange it for the light one. (We wound up getting the white one.) I don't dare NOT put it up in the dining room. But it will overwhelm the space. It will. And I'm second guessing my decision to paint the wall behind it blue. It will, as Wende says, STAND OUT.

All this and bristol board squirreled away behind the shelving units. (Will I be able to stash it back there when the unit goes up? It doesn't have a back. Probably not.) What about my collection of long rulers? Where does one put those? I have a really tall book, a legal sized clipboard, and two 24" cutting mats now homeless too. There are two little drawers in my storage units--scissors and sewing stuff cozy up in one, math manipulatives bed down in the other. They, too, will be homeless. (Have you seen what the drawer inserts for the Expedit cost? You need at least two for balance. They're on my Christmas list.) Yet, what little matters in the scheme of the whole wide world.

But in my little world right now, we can't have dinner at the kitchen table because I'm still painting two chairs. The Expedit, still in its three boxes, lies in our narrow entryway. I finally removed the two little "drop leafs" of the little round table on the dining room table to the basement, while at the end of it, two chairs prop up the disaster that is the centre. I'm sanding off the work of the last week because the brush screwed up the final coat of varnish. (There's a whole story behind this little table, but telling it to you will make you wonder about the stability of my marriage (or why I keep risking it for furniture) and this post is depressing enough.) I now have packing tape, scissors, newspapers and one lone box left for packing up the China cabinet and the walls of books and the scrapbook stuff.

I find myself fearful, packing up. We moved a lot as a kid. Lots of things were always given away when we moved, sometimes accidentally (like the time we moved from Ottawa, Ontario to Yellowknife, NWT and found ourselves with a bag of garbage but without all our skiing stuff) and sometimes on purpose, but always without my consent. I'm afraid I'll never be able to find this stuff I'm packing. Again.

I feel like I'm moving backwards. A lot of this stuff, like my china and wine glasses used to be kept in boxes. I'd schlep it up from the basement and unpack it when we needed it. It'll all be packed away for Thanksgiving this year. And I won't be doing any schlepping.

I'm worried the colours won't work together. I'm worried my design for the shelving will look dorky. I'm worried about how we're going to function while the nerve centre of our home is dismantled and in disarray.
But there's nothing for it but to keep on. I'm going to "officially" cancel school for the next two weeks. We haven't been doing it anyway and I already miss the Spring days we will have to work through to make up for it. It would be ironic if we finished painting on Thanksgiving Monday. (Oct 8). But that's all right. I like irony.

*It's what General McAuliffe of the 101st Airborne said to Germany's invitation to surrender after they had the Americans surrounded and cut off at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944. The Germans and their translators were a wee bit baffled.


drwende said...

I can't decide whether you're more in need of a hug or a large quantity of chocolate.

The Cure week that leads to futzing with the craft supplies is always the one where I can't decide between tears and rage. It's the one area of life where holding onto things because you might need them later is in fact the sensible and logical thing to do. So we don't really get any support at Cure time, and we get a lot of guilt laid on us (guilt never laid on the people who have hundreds of DVDs and spend most of their home time parked in front of the TV).

If you really, really feel you've gone down the wrong path with the Expedit, back out! Husbands get over these things. As long as the house is still standing, there's nothing you can't change your mind about.

(Also, make sure you're getting enough rest -- you've been driving yourself really hard.)

Mella DelPantano said...

Ditto, rest, medicinal chocolate... and perhaps a scrapping-based homeschool curriculum?

Seriously, you're clearly thinking about a whole lot of things at once. Consider doing something fun and not house-related tomorrow. :)

Alana in Canada said...

Funny you both mentioned chocolate. Went out and got a whole whack of boxes and a LARGE bar of Burnt Almond. (And I didn't even share it.)

I'm also greatly cheered by having just got out of the house for an hour or so.

(We are sharing the car and the husband worked late(as usual)).

I'll think more on the Expedit. I've wanted it for so long, it's difficult to process the sudden urge to scrap everything and just live with a towel and a book.

drwende said...

Oh, THAT urge!

I know THAT urge.

Speaking from experience, there's no way to tell in advance if it's a stunning insight that you truly don't need certain things, or if it's the animal urge to gnaw your own leg off to get out of the trap of organizing things that you really do want to keep long-term but can't cope with right now. I've had it go both ways.

Alana in Canada said...

Scary metaphor. Point duly noted.

Goose said...

Ah, the great overwhelm.

I can so so so relate.

I just keep telling myself that there is a light at the end of this tunnel vision.

I join the chorus and say sleep on it.

Alana in Canada said...

Thanks Goose.

Jessica said...

Alana, it will all be ok...

I think many of us understand pining away at something, only to get it and realize it's not right...

I love the expedit, but I think you should take it back. If it doesn't serve its purpose (ie no proper place for your supplies) then look for something that better suits your and your husband will be happier in the end with something that really works...

Alana in Canada said...

Thanks Jessica. I appreciate the thought. Really I do. If I were just a little further over the edge of the fence, your thoughts might have been enough to topple me over.

But, sometimes, in the dynamic of a relationship, you just can't say that something you fought hard for and won "isn't going to work." I'll have to make it work. There's just a few things it won't house...and I'll either find other homes for them or give them away.

And I was in a serious funk about life, the universe and the Expedit yesterday, but today is better. Much better.

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