I said "no" to two parties.
And I really like parties. But last Monday when I mysteriously and serendipitously got the day off, I stared the long list; the big list straight in the eye, and I took it on. I painted the back porch- the mud room- the reception area for my daily entourage of little guests. It had been painted a brown-with-tinge-of-terra- cotta around six years ago and it wasn't at all pretty. (I don't even like terra cotta) This was all confirmed recently when one of my wee ones carried on about how my house was like a "cabin" and "Joycie- what is that hole in your wall? Does a mouse live in there?" I was properly chastised and "Paint the porch" made an official entry on my long list of dreaded things. Right below: "call the physiotherapist, your daughter isn't able to move" and "call the wart lady, your other kid can't walk".
So, Monday I took on the porch and transformed it from terra cotta awful to what I thought would be "steel grey mysteriously classy". It came out more like "Old country blue are we still in the 80's" but I"m choosing to live with denial. I'm calling it grey and calling it painted, and taking it off of the list. Besides, the mouse hole and the long chiseled channel that happened somehow last Friday when I wasn't looking got mudded in and painted over, so that's got to count for something, right?
Well, when the boy came home from school, he said he liked that color and that's what his room should become.
We've done this massive shuffle, you see. With the long awaited basement reno came the new love nest for Brian and me. Which led Jane to claim and repaint our old upstairs bedroom. Which meant that Micah could move into Jane's room which had been painted nine years ago in soft pinks and greens and flower stencils. Fussy boy felt this this should be changed. Jane had also hung so many LP's, posters, mementos, etc onto her wall that it had become more of an eyelet piece than an actual partition. It was ever so overwhelming. But Monday's porch success empowered me and I promised Micah that on Thursday evening (my first available five minutes) we would begin.
By Saturday morning, we'd pretty much patched and painted and were ready to take a look at the floor. Which was a disaster, I might add. So, after swimming lessons, I steered the rust bucket towards the Steinbach thrifty store with the pretense of looking for a piece of carpet. First I sniffed my way through several other departments, landing cowboy boots..... not floral but still awesome... not on sale for $75.00 but regular priced for $2.00! Then piling up on vintage fabrics ranging in price from ten cents to three dollars. In my jubilation I nearly forgot all about flooring, but in the furniture department glancing around for a book shelf for Jane's new room my eye landed upon a roll of carpet. Grey. Just the color my son had his hopes hung on. Perfectly clean, large enough, and beautifully priced at $40.00.
I really like paying for a stack of fabric, a roll of carpet, and a pair of boots for less than what the boots at the mall that made me sleepless for a week had cost. It validates my existence.
Upon our return home, armed with an exacto knife, a gin and tonic, and a $40.00 carpet, I set straight to work. Hence the refusal of party #1. Which I know was awesome, and that I would have enjoyed a great deal. Sometimes though, its for the greater good to just keep going, looking neither left nor right. By the end of the night I had the carpet laid, the last of the painting done, the bed and dresser moved, and the boy happily hanging his Zelda poster.
It felt like a party.
I went to bed early, exhausted, reading a book about the holocaust called "Children of the Flames" that I may have also bought at my favorite store for about a dollar. I slept like a freaking brick.
Sunday morning, and another party (of sorts). The first Christmas event- the Martens family gathering. My mother is a Martens, the last of her crew. The event was to begin at one in the afternoon, so my sister and I were enlisted to arrive at 11:00 AM to set up. I didn't have the heart to break it to anyone that it doesn't actually take two hours to unfold some chairs and start up the coffee perk. They're all kind of old and I didn't think it was nice to mess with their heart medication. So, I took the opportunity to do very little, slowly, and with precision. It makes my mother happy.
Once I got used to that rhythm, I found that I had very little desire to go home. Home was that place that went to hell in a hand basket while I was upstairs carpeting. So, thinking of the pit of despair that I was avoiding by making coffee very slowly and methodically at a family gathering prompted me to say "no" to party #2. A very fun costume, dress-up party with friends who I really enjoy and want to enjoy more often. But the thought of Monday being just one sleep away, my boys upstairs going through nine years of toys, discarding and donating, five loads on laundry on the bathroom floor, carpet scraps strewn on the back deck, the spoils of swimming lessons, painting days, etc all over the porch, the kitchen up to my ass in alligators, and hopes to make time for the Etsy shop looking bleak, I felt that a cancellation was in order. Besides. I hadn't had five minutes to dream up a costume. Which you need for a successful costume party.
It's Sunday night now; 9:15. My work day begins in 10 short hours.
My boys are in their rooms upstairs, happily busy in their newly acquired, tidied, painted and carpeted bedrooms.
Brian is happily watching a documentary in his new bedroom.
The porch is tidy; ready for an early morning invasion.
The kitchen is clean.
The laundry has been laundered, dried, sorted, dispersed.
And I still have some time. To snuggle under the covers with my book, to get enough rest, and to not dread Monday because I'm all caught up and ready for the madness.
Until next weekend.