Thursday, March 31, 2016

31: Taking risks...

Yesterday, I wrote about the day trip I took with my dad to one of our favorite antique auction destinations.  You can read about it here.

Since I'm on Spring Break, and have some spare time, and have a little who likes to watch "Fixer-Upper" with me, and have an upstairs bedroom to turn into a big-boy bedroom for the smaller little, it seemed appropriate to purchase a 'project' piece or two at the auction yesterday.  So, when this metal patio chair came up for bids, I could almost see it in one of Joanna Gaines' bedrooms.  

I bought it, post-haste, for $17.  I could just see it, a better version of its current self, inside the new big-boy bedroom.

So, I brought it home and placed it in the left corner at the end of the bed.  I'm not used to decorating in greys, and together, the light walls with the light chair were a bit too much.  Or, too little, depending on your perspective.  I'd label it "under-whelming."

"Just use the spray paint," my brother-in-law said, "it's so much easier than using a brush." That may be true; he's a painter.  I, on the other hand, have no experience with resurrecting metal patio furniture and little experience with spray paint.  In search of more color and maybe even a titch more depth, I found this product at the local hardware store...

This afternoon, I researched the steps I should take to transform the chair.  I spread a tattered white sheet across the driveway and anchored it with paint cans from past projects.  I sanded the metal chair with high-grit paper and wiped away the residue with tack cloth.  I shook the paint can for over a minute, just to be sure it was well-mixed, and sprayed with patient, fluid strokes as directed. I let the first coat dry between naptime and dinnertime and then added the second coat.

As the sun set, I stepped back to admire the slight shimmer of the {almost} finished product before moving it into the garage for the night.  I felt proud.

Proud that I had a vision for the milquetoast metal chair.
Proud that I honored that vision and bought the chair.
Proud that I did the research and the work to bring the vision to fruition.
Proud that I took a risk to try something new.

And then, I started to connect my garage work to my writing work this month. Because, as hard as it is to believe, it's Day 31.  Day 31 offers the opportunity to reflect.  And grow.

I'm not sure I started many pieces with vision of particular craft moves I'd like to try or mentor texts I'd like to emulate.  On Day 31, I wish I would've been more intentional.

I'm not sure I honored the letter and spirit of the challenge by harnessing the power of other writers in the community as a source of inspiration.  On Day 31, I wish I would've been more of a collector.

I'm not sure I put the time into writing this month that I would've liked.  I wrote mainly to preserve family stories and growing up stories.  I wrote late at night.  On Day 31, I wish I would've been more of a perfectionist.

I'm not sure I tried anything new.  I wrote a lot of poetry, which is how most of my writing just seems to shape itself right now.  On Day 31, I wish I would've been more of a risk-taker.

So, on Day 31, I feel a little like the light grey chair against the light grey walls...

Albeit, I hold this challenge -- and the chair -- in my heart, both as learning experiences, both as 'before and after' experiences, both as 'what is' and 'what could be' experiences.

I should take the risk next time...


Congratulations, Slicers, on a well-written March challenge!

Write on,

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

30: Auction day...

We walk in through the far-right door for guests; my anticipation is palpable.  


While Dad checks in and picks up our bidder numbers, I case out the nearest booths. See the distressed teal trunk?  Yep.  I did, too.  It goes on my mental watch list as the crowds meander through the rows of furniture, antiques, and collectibles.  

At 9:00, the opening bell (hanging from the building's center) rings and before it even stops, a gaggle of auctioneers (each working a section) begin brokering deals. We stop at the booth below to preview the salvaged windows that will come up for sale.  I notice the retired road signs behind the auctioneer -- they also join my watch list.  For a couple of littles I know....

I also notice a wooden bell-shaped object at the booth next door.

My adrenaline rushes because the auctioneer and clerk are almost ready to sell it. The current owner shows it off, adds a disclaimer to honor the sizeable crack on the reverse.  The auctioneer throws out a price.  I wait for it to dip lower.  No one bites. It dips lower still.  $10.  I raise my hand half-way, even though inside, my stomach jumps into my heart.  "10. 10.  Who'll give me 12-and-a-half?"  

No one else counters.  She points to me after what felt like more-than-sufficient wait time.  "Sold.  $10."

I smile.  "Thank you."  

I always wonder what I am missing if I'm the only bidder...  This time, however, I cradle the roughed-up item in my arms and celebrate the uncontested deal.  After all, that is the land and milk and honey for an auction-goer.

Minutes pass and it is almost as if the steady cadence of the auctioneers' din takes a backseat to the mental balancing of my wish list.  I make it back in time to bid on the swivel old-school desk chair that reminds me of its Pottery Barn replica.  It's built like a brick house.  I jump in, place a couple bids.  "27.50.  27.50.  Who'll give me $30?"

No once else counters.  She points to me with more speed this time.  "Sold.  $27.50."

I smile again.  "Thank you."

Once overflowing booths empty. Winnings move toward the building's perimeter as bidders prepare to check out and pack up.

We end up on top for a few other items -- like a grey chair to paint for the smaller little's new big boy room, a repurposed book 'tool box', a crate for my friend, and a rectangular side table (still with the original tags) made in my hometown by furniture manufacturer Dunbar many years ago.

We walk back out through the far-right door for guests.  Dad backs up the truck. With satisfaction, we wrap, bundle, load, and bungee the pieces into the back before jumping into the front to recount the day's details on the way home.  

We talk about the next trip and what we might find then...

Write on,

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

29: Brother, sister...

Before it was across the dinner table
and across the hall
at home...growing up
and then it was across states
and across phases
at college...first job
and now it is across spare moments without littles
and across seconds where it feels like
it is just us
He listens, I think aloud, wonder, ask
I listen, he explains, theorizes, estimates
I see his process, heart, dreams
He sees my process, heart, dreams
Time passes, kids grow
Change stirs
We stay

Talking and listening
Brother and sister

Write on,

Monday, March 28, 2016

28: Tomorrow...

His tiny white toddler bed
is tucked in next to our dresser tonight
He sleeps
inside his cocoon
for the last time
Tomorrow there will be a
big boy bed
inside a newly painted
just down the hall
from where 

Write on,

Sunday, March 27, 2016

27: To pick a topic...

I sit in the same place I always do
to write tonight
the five-arm chandelier lights the way
as I scroll through my writer's notebook idea page
my phone's photo album
to pick a topic I can knead and share

There is the picture of a notebook
with the elder little's name on the back
yesterday the smaller little picked it up
flipped it over and handed it back to him
"Reid!  Here is your notebook!"
I marveled...
When did he learn to read?

There is the picture of a diminutive blue Jeep
with the smaller little in the driver's seat
my husband bent over to rescue the triangle
stuck beneath the front all-terrain wheels
I guessed...
That's not what the company meant by all-terrain.  Not tricycles.  
He'll learn to drive safely; first time out season.

Or maybe...

There is the picture of two little guys
roaming around the south side of the house
the elder coached the smaller little 
at his self-sponsored Easter egg hunt
"You're getting clooooooose.  Just look up."
I beamed...
They're getting it.  They are.
Someday they will be friends.

I sit in the same place I always do
to write tonight
the five-arm chandelier lights the way
as I scroll through my writer's notebook idea page -- 
my photo album -- 
to pick a topic I can knead and share

"I write to hold what I find in my life in my hands and declare it a treasure..."
Lucy Calkins

Write on,

Saturday, March 26, 2016

26: He's growing...

He sits by my left elbow at the dinner table
piles of food come and go
stories do
teeth do, too
He smiles, it stays
longer with each passing time
as if to threaten the fits into
He sits by my left elbow at the dinner table

I saved the last bite for you.  
Want it, Mommy?  It's a good one...
Or, maybe, Grant wants it.
Want it, Grant?  It's a good bite.  The best onnnnnnne.

Thank you for making dinner tonight, Mommy...

Write on,

Friday, March 25, 2016

25: Friday night...

I'm sitting on the living room floor
legs criss-cross-applesauce in grey flannel drawstring pants
laptop open
ideas spinning
I'm a traitor to my state and its storied sports history
as I hear the din of a certain sweet-sixteen
basketball game in the background
One thought keeps pushing its way to the front


Write on,