Saturday, March 21, 2015

Wading In

I've said this before. I'm a very consistent and disciplined person. I wrote a blog post about it called I'm Consistent. I also wrote another blog post related to consistency and sameness called Every Day, No Matter What.

This quality is a good thing when you want to accomplish things, establish a routine and get stuff done. There is a flip side to it. Sometimes all of this discipline can start to weigh on you. It can feel more rigid than what is called for. I've noticed this and I am working on it.

Recently, my family and I embarked on a major renovation of our apartment. It isn’t completely finished. It's a process.

That said, the major elements are behind us. The paint job is done. Most of the furniture is in place. Everyone has their own bedroom.

An apartment renovation takes a lot of planning. During the research, design and early packing phases, I kept on blogging. I kept on blogging while collecting estimates, getting people's insurance certificates in order, talking to re-finishers, taking trips to the Salvation Army and going to our new storage unit facility. I kept on blogging when our apartment got emptier and emptier as we packed, gave away, threw away or re-purposed most of our belongings. Sometimes I blogged about these activities.

There is a time to push through and stay the course. There is a time to change course. I recognized when it was time to change course with my blogging. When things shifted from spending some time most days packing to almost all time every day packing, I started to post my blog once a week rather than the usual twice.  When it was time for our family to vacate our apartment and the paint job to start I began blogging zero times a week.

Initially, I thought I'd start blogging again once our family got settled in at my sister in law's house. But once that happened, I realized that all of my mental energy was taken up. This is understandable. I was unusually tired. I would check in with the painters while they were working. Watching them scrape, prime, plaster and paint brought on a fatigue that was hard to negotiate with. You would think I was doing the work myself.

There were other things going on too numerous to mention now. There was a lot of adjusting. There was unprecedented novelty and surprise. Most of it was good novelty and surprise. But I still needed to process it. This turned out to be quite the big job.

I put my blog on hiatus.

For a while, things were so busy, variable and utterly out of the ordinary that blogging did not come up as an option. Whenever I thought about it, it would sound like this. I'll start writing when I feel more settled. I'll start writing after I feel more like myself. I'll start writing after the furniture comes back from the re-finishers. I'll start writing once I know what my bed will look like.

On Tuesday, the newly beautified and restored dining table and desk came back to a radically different home than they left from. On Wednesday, I established a reasonable prediction of what my bed will look like after ordering linens, shams and throw pillows online and on sale.

I wrote this on Thursday. The re-finishers have indeed finished. The bed is planned. I feel nominally more settled, but still feel like I'm getting used to things in a basic way. I feel like myself, but somehow altered. My life has changed more than I anticipated.

Having met half of my criteria for blogging again, I am blogging again. Two of the four criteria are rather concrete. Two of the four are not. This unsettled and altered feeling is something without a clear ending and may in fact be something I learn to live with. I decided it was not something to be checked off as much as it is something to be accommodated.

I planned to blog. That is what I am doing.

I’m not doing a cannonball and jumping into the lake. I'm putting in one toe.

I am tentative. I did not expect to feel tentative about working on my blog. I didn't feel tentative about it before the renovation. Now that the renovation has happened everything is both more orderly and also more askew. Instead of waiting until I felt less tentative and on firmer ground, I just went ahead.

So what if I'm tentative? It's not the end of the world. Just like there are much bigger stressors than home renovation, there are much bigger challenges to writing and being creative than feeling a bit tentative. Home renovation is a bigger challenge to writing and being creative than feeling tentative.

My apartment and neighborhood are the same. My family and children are the same. When I wake up in the morning I'm in a different room than I used to be with different things to look at. My life hasn't really changed but the landscape of it has. Things that used to be lying around on tables and desks have designated spots. Suddenly there's room for music and books.

Today, I make my collage at my daughter's desk while she is in school. Last time I did this it was at the dining room table. I put a large book under my work to protect the desk from glue and marks. The scotch tape is still packed so I use tiny pieces of masking tape to gently flatten my finished collage. Previously, I photographed my finished pieces on top of the base of our treadmill. There's no room in our current layout for it, so we reluctantly got rid of it. It was the right choice.

I bring this new collage to my bed, which is next to a bank of windows. I move it this way and that to take advantage of the ample natural light while eliminating unsightly shadows. Satisfied, I take the picture. It really is a lovely spot.

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