Here’s something I know about myself: I don’t like to do things that are good for me. It’s not fun. It has been proven that flossing your teeth adds at least 6 years to your life. I like living and I want to keep doing it. Yet, every single night I have to trick myself into flossing my teeth. I have to sit on the toilet (cover closed) and hold open a book with my elbow jammed up against one knee and distract myself while I floss my teeth, flicking spit and other things here and there. (If you care about others, don’t do it with a library book.)
I know that making things is good for me. I think it’s probably good for everybody, but who am I to be queen of the world and tell you what to do? But, for me, it’s important that my ungodly long to-do list include at least a few minutes of screwing around that ends in something my brain finds pleasing.
That’s where the challenge comes in. This lampshade project ended up taking about 4 1/2 hours. How did I have time for that? Great question. I’m not really sure. I started the whole thing right before dinner while everyone was reading books. I took a 1″ hole punch and grabbed three pieces of scrapbook paper that had black backgrounds with flowers on it. Not my first choice, but I wasn’t up to another Michaels run because I couldn’t really even picture what I wanted and it was 5:30. Have you ever been to Michaels at 5:30? It’s like some little devil releases forty people with the direction, “Pull at least six things off the shelf and drop them near the woodburning tools, leave your cart in the middle of the aisle and put your half empty Frappucino inside a basket. GO!”
Two hours later, I had at least 200 incredibly pleasing circles. These are some of them. Then I started hot gluing them onto the lampshade. I felt shaky about the whole thing because I had no plan. The circles were too dark. I was ruining the lampshade. What was I, made out of money? Already, the whole thing felt like a mistake. Then my kid walked up and said, “Mommy, that’s cool! So, are you just going to go all the way around and then come up with triangles and stuff?”
She wasn’t worried for a minute. She was excited about what was going to happen next. I was the one who became instantly despondent just when the thing was supposed to start getting fun. Seriously, there was no reason to worry about ruining the lampshade. I don’t even really like the lamp. I got it as part of a set of three lamps for $99 at a hardware store two years ago because I wanted more mood lighting. As I was buying it I remember thinking, “Geez, I don’t even like these, but I can do some business and make them my own thing!” So, of course, when I get it in gear a full twenty four months later, it would be only natural that my heart rate would shoot up while my self esteem dropped just because I hot -glued a piece of scrapbook paper to a lamp.
My brain is exhausting. I can’t believe that I actually have people that stick around through all of this.
Two podcasts and four burns later, I got a decent lamp. This morning when I woke up, I thought the thing actually looked cool, like something that a guy with a short beard and skinny jeans might buy at a vintage store. And if that isn’t the mark of a job well done, I don’t know what is.