October 19, 2008
When I was a kid, I remembered my mom me telling that she did all her housework in her head as she was lying in bed waiting to fall asleep.
I don’t mean making a list of the things she needed to do. I mean doing every task mentally first, every detail, one chore after another.
The result was that she woke up in the morning already tired from a night of imaginary housework…and had a day full of the real thing ahead of her anyway.
I always thought the habit was sort of self-defeating, actually, but I was just a kid, and the habits and customs of adults mystified me.
They still do, in fact, even though I have taken up some of them myself.
For example, yesterday, Sue and I worked steadily for several hours bringing the plants in off the deck and stowing them in sunny windows in the house for the winter. Obviously, it’s an annual ritual, one that leaves our bedroom looking like a jungle with a bed in it.
The cats love it. They find favorite hiding spots deep among the begonias and ficus and remember being tigers.
Anyway, some of the plants get trimmed back for the winter, and it gives us a chance to decide which ones will need to be re-potted in the spring. I wired up some lamps to give them extra light so they don’t get too leggy after all those short days.
As we worked, I looked at the chaise-longue on the deck and said I thought we ought to drag it into the workshop over the winter, sand it and repaint it.
“Just like we did the table,” I said, looking around for it. I meant the old iron table base and set of chairs that sits just off the deck along a stone wall. The one with the square tabletop cut from plywood and tiled by hand in the aforementioned workshop. The one I’ve sanded and painted and assembled and tiled in my head at least a dozen times.
The one that is still sitting, un-sanded, un-painted, etc., down in the workshop, where it has sat in that state for at least two years because other things got done instead.
That’s the table I meant.
I’ve gone over the doing of the thing so often by now that it feels done. It’s beautiful afternoon. I want to go sit at the table with a mug of coffee and a good book and watch the cats plotting small murders in the garden.
I guess one of these days I’m actually going to have to build the damned thing, even though I’m already tired from all the times I’ve already done it.
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