If Steve were to extol my many virtues, patience would not be one of them. Let’s just say that when I get a bee in my bonnet I tend to run flailing off the path until I get it out. The upside of this flaw is that I tend to get a lot done in life (in spurts), and devise new strategies to do so, as necessity (desperation) becomes the mother of my invention (work-around). But then the downside of that upside is that I tend to measure my days too much by productivity and sometimes forget to enjoy more important things. Another downside (picture a 3-dimensional ski slope where you ride the lift up one side, but can ski down all the others. My impatience ratio is about 1:4 in upsides to downsides) is that I sometimes jump into the pot without careful planning and end up getting myself pickled. Steve then is surprised to come home from work to a wife in a pickle, and has to drop everything and get me out. Sometimes he’s saved by friends who find me first.
Some results of this tendency of mine:
1. Downside: When I was pregnant with Ruby, who was born at the end of August, we had just bought a house in Colorado. It was one of the hottest Denver summers in recent memory, and we had no air conditioning. Our bedroom, the only comfortable place to rest, was especially sweltering. Steve and I had bought a ceiling fan but had not yet installed it. One afternoon, in desperation and seven months pregnant, I decided to stand on the bed and install it myself. It was heavy. It was hard. I was not in a position to climb up into the ceiling and anchor it, yet I had it partially installed and so could not leave it hanging. I was dripping with sweat and exhausted by the time I was ready to give up. Only problem was, I couldn’t get it down and couldn’t stand and hold it in place all day. So, I lifted a small dresser and other various pieces of furniture onto the bed until I had a tower tall enough to reach the fan and support its weight. When Steve got home, he discovered a Dr Suess-esque tower of furniture with a fan on top that had to be installed before he could sleep in his bed that night. (You are probably reading this and wondering, ‘how does he put up with her?’ The answer? I don’t know, but I think it’s that I let him buy that old convertible.)
2. Upside: I have learned that if you buy houses with wood floors and suddenly want to move very heavy furniture while you’re home alone, all you have to do is lift each corner and put a soft towel under it. Then you can slide anything anywhere! (If you do accidentally scratch the floor, then you know right where to put that new rug.)
3. Downside: Just over a year ago, a few days before Halloween, I decided I could no longer stand my mustard-yellow kitchen. We were hosting a huge Halloween party, so I decided that would be my motivation to paint. I spent the next few days trying every different color and finding nothing that worked. I’ve painted every place we’ve ever lived in and never had a problem with color, but this one wasn't working. Orange seemed to be the only good option because of a pre-existing backsplash, but I wasn’t sure if even I was brave enough for an orange kitchen. By the day before Halloween, there were different colors of paint all over the wall. In desperation, I called a designer friend of my mom’s for help. She came down that evening and verified that, yes, orange was the only option besides white (boring), and chose the right shade of orange for us. Steve and I then painted into the night, and I did a second coat Halloween morning. My friend came over to help me take the tape off, and voila—we were ready for 100 people that night. I was sorry I let my lack of patience become a crisis which Steve, my friend, and the designer had to bail me out of. (But I really like my kitchen now.)
4. Definite Downside: In my impatience to leave for a party on Christmas Eve night, I was trying to hurry and catch up on stuff on my phone while I took a quick potty-break (you know, reading ‘ala commode’—thanks, bigbahamamama). But the kids yelled at me and surprised me and I dropped the iphone in the toilet. Can you believe it doesn’t work anymore?? Don’t they design it for such contingencies? I mean, my sister dropped hers in the toilet at the U2 concert. It seems to me this is a common problem for which Apple should have been prepared. Sure, there’s a moisture button inside, but what good does it do? The geniuses at the Genius Bar could only say, “Yep. Moisture button is red. It’s ruined.” Good thing I still had my old iphone to fall back on. It’s screen may be cracked from all those times I dropped it in my impatience, but at least it still works. By the way, I have told Steve and the kids that the blame for the murder of my new (4-month-old) iphone falls squarely on their shoulders. First, the Kids at the Bathroom Door with the Screaming. Don’t yell at people during their potty break! Second, the Husband in the Bathroom without the Magazine Rack. I asked him to install it weeks ago, so I could set my phone (and magazines) on it during said potty breaks! My dad, who is a lawyer (not a loiyer), says these arguments will likely not hold up in court.
5. TBD: In the past two months I have re-arranged the kids’ bedrooms three times—twice in the last 10 days, including just now. Jasper had been complaining about having girls in his room all the time and we’d decided to move him into his own room after Christmas. But then his bed broke. I couldn’t stand it! So, amidst a million other things I should have been doing on the day before Christmas Eve, I decided to move the bedrooms around. I took apart all the beds, and moved Jasper into Saffron and Willa’s room, and moved their beds into the other room with Ruby. Luckily, I got this one all done before Steve got home without getting into any pickles. But a week later, Patient Steve was able to work his way through the furniture store’s hoops so we could return Jasper’s new-but-broken bed, and instead buy a bed with a trundle for the girls’ room so we don’t have to have three beds in there. The bed is coming Saturday, so that would be the logical day to prepare the room. I KNOW. BUT, I didn’t like the idea that I was cleaning it up today only to have to move everything Saturday. So, I just took apart the third bed and re-arranged the room again. Steve, good thing you’re not reading this.
Hmm. . . . When I began this post, I had a point in mind to which these thoughts on impatience and its perils were only the preamble. Alas, it’s gone from my mind. Maybe it was just that Willa says her new bed on the floor that I just created after dismantling her old bed is “yucky.” A year ago she’d never slept on anything but the floor. But now, so American, she looks at me with disdain each time I re-arrange her “algabet” (bedroom). But hey, she fell asleep anyway so I could write this profound preamble to a post.
This post is dedicated to my good neighbor, J, who died suddenly yesterday. She had a great sense of humor and, though in her 70's, enough 'impatience' and pizzazz to call us right at midnight on New Year's Eve. J, we'll miss you, your Christmas village, and your tomatoes.