Last night I made Sloppy Joes from a Pioneer Woman’s recipe accompanied with my own version of macaroni and cheese (combining Velveeta with a Colby Jack and Cheddar mix). Friday I made a lunch trip to Home Goods to finally spend the gift card given to me as a house-warming from my sister-in-law back in January when I first moved in with my boyfriend. I got curtains and a curtain rod, all the time wondering why this man didn’t have them even from his first marriage. After his wife passed, he moved their combined possessions into this house he purchased. All the artwork, pillows – his wife loved throw pillows with fancy fringe work – and furnishings are there, but no curtains? Which turned out to be a great opportunity for me to claim my space and put my out of practice mark on the place.
I say out of practice because I never was very good at installing curtains, and my last apartment was a loft with not a lot of need for them. But I know the basics, and while I did get out the ol’ leveler, I ended up just winging it as I went. Which is a bad idea when you don’t want to put a lot of holes in the walls. Have I mentioned I’ve lived in apartments since I was in high school? Yeah turns out, that left a bad influence with me; uncaring how many times I missed my target and started over again with fresh new holes. By the time I would be done installing curtains, I would be hiding prior failed attempts in the form of four to six holes in the wall. I came to this realization on Friday when I was screwing in my first screw. The last thing I wanted to do was mess up his walls.
So I did the best I could, using the ottoman for purchase since the kitchen stool was too short for these high windows in the front room. Midway through I found out the new curtains I purchased with my gift card were a smidgen too short; a problem I would have avoided if I measured in inches and not feet, or even if I used the curtains to align the curtain rods to the gauge I needed to fit the window. But because I was already fully committed to not creating a pock-marked wall, I powered through consigning to the notion of purchasing longer curtains later. I also didn’t want my boyfriend to come home while I was fumbling through it all and see my clumsy attempts. The end result was what I wanted him to see and that meant I had to book it because I only had half an hour to get my poop in a group and clean up the clutter.
My longer curtains arrived Saturday and I realized I had only purchased two panels instead of four. See how out of practice I am with this whole home-making stuff? But what I AM good at is working with what I got. I decided to put a panel up on each end and kept the more sheerer, shorter panels bunched up in the middle. Turns out, the tv and its stand hide the length mistake quite well and the look of the blackout with sheer panels ended up working great together. Who knew?
With our bellies full of Sloppy Joes and mac n cheese last night, I admitted to my boyfriend that having me pay for utilities as my ‘rent’ really turned out to be a great idea. With his schedule there could be times like this week where he only has one day off; whereas I am home four of seven days – two of them working remotely and the weekends. And his eating habits are kind of kooky because when he works he only eats one meal and that is always at a restaurant. His day/s off he eats two meals and that’s by either going out or ordering in. Unless I cook; which I do to save money. That means I’m spending more energy in the house than he. Our bill skyrocketed last month because we’re in the grips of one of our hottest summers on record and also because I’m home enjoying air conditioning while cooking and working or playing while watching television. And that is why I got curtains to begin with. The front room is the hottest due to the sun constantly shining through and the blinds not a great help with keeping the heat from the rays out.
Being responsible for the bills allowed me to take command of the situation; to address a solution to help with keeping the temperature low in the front room, and reduce the cost of our electricity output.
What does any of this have to do with writing? You’ll come to find that taking over a project, be it writing, home, or work-related helps us to feel more empowered and in control of the situation. It boosts confidence in ourselves. It also allows us to recognize mistakes are going to happen whether you like it or not, but instead of us allowing them to halt our progress, we should work towards either addressing them if it’s a quick fix, or tabling it once a solution can be found, and continue to move forward.
Are my solutions with my curtains perfect? Oh goodness no. If put to the test, I fail all over the place. But the end result is I have a great looking front room because the curtains gave the dual purpose of cooling the room while also giving the place an unintentional face lift. Sometimes you just gotta go forward with your screw ups to discover the really cool things you created in the mess.