Thursday, April 29, 2010

Eating the Elephant

(I'm making scrappy blocks--i.e. blocks out of leftover scraps--fun and frugal!)

I'm back from my last trip. This time I went to Chicago for a convention. Here's the thing about spending too much time in a convention center: you will slowly lose all bearings until you can't remember where you're from, who your people are, or what your purpose in life is. You just wander around, hoping you can find a bathroom that doesn't have a line snaking out the door.

It's good to be home, but now I have no excuses. Home must be dealt with. Attics and closets must be purged, wallpaper must be peeled off, cupboards must be put back to order.

Oh, when, oh when will I be rich enough to hire other people to do these things? But that's the rub: with the exception of peeling the wallpaper, these are jobs you have to do yourself. A stranger doesn't know which books can be safely shipped off to the used book bin at the library. A stranger can't intuit how you like your pots and pans piled up.

A couple of weeks ago I read something that I really liked. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Dealing with my house is going to be like eating an elephant. A really, really big elephant who's in a very bad mood. My plan is to tackle projects in fifteen-minute increments, then break for iced tea and snacks. It's the only way I'll ever get the job done. Wish me luck.


Yesterday the Man and I attended a poetry reading at Our Fine Middle School. Jack's Language Arts class read from the poetry books they've written this spring. The poems were delightful and funny, and a few of them knocked our socks off.

The Man and I couldn't wait to hear Jack's poems, of course. What would this quiet boy tell us about himself through the lines of his verse? Well, we learned that he likes computers and computer games and reading. Oh, wait--we already knew that. But we also learned that he likes the smell of old books, which I always have, too, and that the literary figure he considers himself most like is Sherlock Holmes. We learned that Jack considers his father "funny and kind, but sometimes stern," and that I am "beautiful and pleasant, most of the time."

This, my friends, is what I want on my tombstone: She was beautiful and pleasant, most of the time.


Susan said...

Just think. The former Supreme Court law clerk gets, "She made perfect star-shaped sandwiches." You get, "She was beautiful and pleasant, most of the time." You win.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Susan, I couldn't have said it better myself!

Angela said...

Definitely - you are the winner on this one!
And the bit about the smell of old books and Sherlock Holmes is absolutely wonderful - good to know you are passing on What Really Matters!!
ps love the scrappy quilt block

Tracy said...

I made a whole quilt from scraps of a previous one....with about 3m of extra fabric that I had to buy.

When I worked 4 days/wk last semester I wanted to hire someone to wash my floors. I couldn't justify it though. I still wish I could have someone wash my floors LOL.

I'd take pleasant and beautiful even a little of the time over perfect star-shaped sandwiches!!! How touching to have your son admit such heart-warming sentiments in front of other people. Those are the moments when you happily say "Yep, that one's mine!".

Heather said...

Oh, I love what Jack said about you. How fantastic!

Pom Pom said...

Oh, that's perfect! Good luck on the house projects. Tea and snack breaks sounds brilliant.

debbie bailey said...

That would make a great epitaph.

Gumbo Lily said...

Great scrappy quilt block.

It's a good thing that Dad is sometimes stern to balance out the character of his "beautiful and pleasant most of the time" mother, otherwise your children might be ruined!

I need to eat an elephant too, but I'm not hungry right now. I do like the idea of iced tea and snacks tho.


Sara Padrusch said...

Good way to look at your house project. I used to have a gigantic list of things that I wanted to do on the house. Slowly, one bite at a time, it all got done. Your's will too!


Pom Pom said...

Frances, you are so funny. Your comment over at Gumbo Lily's cracked me up. You are such a truth-speaker.