Forging an Alliance

chairafghanReinventing myself is highly unlikely at this stage of the game. To be honest, I don’t know that even if the possibility for large-scale change existed, I’d be all that willing to embrace it. I kind of like who I’ve become — with the possible exception of the “stressed-out” me. She’s kind of a bitch. She needs a “chill pill”.

What I’ve come to realize is that I’m at my most content when I am in the process of creating something — sometimes that “something” is as simple as dinner, other times it’s more complicated, but certainly not Herculean, like a piece of writing. Sure, these are often small accomplishments, but they are accomplishments just the same. Something is almost always better than nothing.

Creating order out of chaos, which has taken shape in what I’ve come to call “the hovel purge”, has been full of lessons — not to mention trash bags, paint, and umpteen trips to the home improvement store! I’m happy to report that it’s going well — there have been some fits and starts, some successes and failures, some scaling down, and some compromises along the way, but all in all, I’d say that this reorganization project is well on its way to being an achievement that I can be proud of.

Who would have thought that through the simple act of decluttering, I’d learn something new, something that could be applied to more than things. Mostly I’ve learned that tossing what doesn’t work or doesn’t matter while keeping the things that do is about much more than just things — it’s about everything.

Picking up a paintbrush, sorting through a drawer, making a curtain — these are all activities that I have engaged in following stressful shifts at work — I have found myself looking forward to leaving behind the physical and mental strain that comes with a day of working in a restaurant and taking up the physical and mental strain that comes with a night of painting — of recreating — a wall or a bench or a bunch of towel hooks.

It’s helped my marriage , too. While I certainly have a good number of friends and acquaintances and a job that requires advanced social skills, what I really am, underneath it all, is a loner — possibly even more so than my quieter and more reserved husband. I live very much inside my own head. Allowing my husband to board the redecorating train wasn’t easy at first, but now I sometimes even allow him to act as the conductor. In doing so, we have forged an alliance — mostly against my daughter, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Disorganization”. As alliances go, it’s working out rather well.

For years we argued about furnishings — he’s more the “I want something comfortable and don’t care if there’s an afghan covering the ripped cushion on my favorite chair” kind of guy. I’m somewhat less willing to live like that. Mostly, though, I had just given up. I simply refused to argue about the ripped chair. And then it dawned on me that, together, we could probably find some middle ground. And we did. While I would one day love to have a beautiful velvet settee, for now I’ve settled for the slipcovered Ikea stuff — the stuff that I can toss in the wash. And I’m happy with it. More importantly, so is he.

If only I could get my kid to stop leaving a trail of shin guards, hockey sticks, turf-encrusted sneakers, and backpacks from the front door to her bedroom, we’d be all set.

Related posts: The Hovel Purge posts

photo credit: chair

7 thoughts on “Forging an Alliance

  1. ksbeth says:

    i am happiest when creating as well, as let some of the other less important stuff slide.


    • javaj240 says:

      Yeah, screw that “less important stuff”, like laundry and dishes! Who needs clean clothes or plates. We’ll just go naked and eat off paper!

      Seriously, though, I know exactly what you mean 🙂


      • ksbeth says:

        i had a family invite me to dinner at their house one night, (one of my student’s), and i love what mom said upon my walking in. ‘you’ll see throws tossed on all of the furniture and crayon marks on the table. i decided a long time ago not to worry about marks and stains. i want them to just live life and not get in trouble all the time and i can get new furniture when they are old and gone.’ no stress, no apology, no hassle. happy house. i loved that.


  2. Cooking as a satisfying expereince? Yep, with you there. I hate housework. I hate changing furniture. I hate decorating. But i do like a good big DIY project, or i did when i was fit enough to do them. Forge alliance? Seems to me like learning to play to each others strengths, and accept the weaknesses.
    The Kid has to get her own place. Seriously.


  3. haralee says:

    Cleaning out a drawer or closet is liberating in a small personal way. The next day or week it is there showing a real physical accomplishment.


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