Photo: Two science teachers taught me how to quilt with my sewing machine. Here I am a lifetime later, same sewing machine, just as weirded out by the process as I was that first time. But I’m grateful for the lessons because those two taught me a lot. I could see the Boston apartment, hear their voices, remember their patient lessons. That’s what happens with craft, I think. Each project has a ghost. Maybe not, but I’m grateful this one has one. The quilt is quilted, thanks be to God. I now need to bind it. I think I’m going to hand quilt a few more embellishments now that I have the luxury of time. (Bwahahahahaaaaaa! I must be crazy, talkin’ ’bout time like I gots it or somethin’! Silly me!)
This morning, I walked down to the basement to check on the oil tank. When I walk down the stairs to the basement, I usually go right to get to the laundry area or the second fridge. If I want something utilitarian, I go left, to The Husband’s side of the basement. This morning, to access the boiler and the oil tank, I went left. How I managed to make it through to the boiler and oil tank without incident is now a bit of a wonder. I’ll get to that in a moment.
The oil tank still has a quarter of a tank of oil left in it. That’s a miracle. Seriously. With the weather the way it is, that might mean another 2ish weeks of oil. Maybe even 3. If we get some warm days and keep the nights relatively mild, we could conceivably get to December without an oil delivery. That would be the first time ever in the history of living in this house that such a thing would happen. Anyway, that’s the good news.
The bad news? Water on the floor from the boiler. Hot water. The boiler is leaking… and it’s leaking more than it was before. The Husband wants so badly for this thing to last us the entire winter. Lord if I’m not praying for it too, but it’s just not going to happen. My house is warm tonight and I believe I have many more nights of warmth ahead. But a winter’s worth? A whole winter’s worth? Probably not. And here’s the thing, when this thing dies, paying for it is going to be traumatic. Another loan? We’re still paying for the roof. Once again, we’re broke as a joke and not getting ahead. It sucks. Blarg.
So, heavy with these thoughts as I returned to the stairs, I went back the way I came. The basement is open. I could have gone by way of the laundry… Anyway, I went back the way I came and discovered my husband’s booby trap via a prick of my foot. Seems all the trim and wood paneling and whatever removed from the downstairs bathroom renovation made it to the basement. On the floor.
That’s right, I started my Monday by stepping on a 100 year-old rusty nail in my wet basement.
Modern Millennial that I am, I logged into my medical web portal and went to see if I could find my vaccinations. Surely I’ve had a tetanus shot lately. Right? Welp. No… not recently. 7 years ago. On the day of Ursa Major’s birth. Awesome. I sent my primary care physician an email: “Hey girl, so… funny story… I stepped on a rusty nail in my basement. Yes, seriously. So, I don’t need to come down to Cambridge for a tetanus shot, right?”
A nurse called my back within 30 minutes. “Why don’t you come on down here for a tetanus booster? Just in case, you know?”
2 hours of my life, Dear Reader. Two whole American hours. Got down there, got two shots (TDaP without the P and also the Flu shot because why not?), and got the puncture cleaned and dressed. I told the nurse I couldn’t wait to punch my husband. She laughed uncomfortably. I told her I wasn’t really going to do it. “Oh, I know,” she said in a voice that let me know she wasn’t so sure.
Anyway, those hours really mattered to me. I have so much to do. Tomorrow is my first class at Grub Street and I’m feeling nervous and unprepared. Our first assignment was to write a 1000 word piece in the style of Carmen Maria Machado’s Inventory. I have something. I just don’t like it. I’m assuming I’m going to have to read it tomorrow and I am not delighted by it. Here comes the imposter syndrome. Here come the feelings of inadequacy. Here comes the overwhelming desire to run away screaming. How easy it would be to simply not show up for this class tomorrow.
I am going to finish the blog post, dig down deep, add a bit of layer and depth to what I’ve written, then I’m going to forgive myself (the hardest thing of all to do) and I’m going to go to bed. I’m going to class tomorrow. I’m going to take my critique and grow. Between now and then, I will remind myself no less than 10 times: critique will not kill you. You will not die from this.
Can I tell you something cool, Dear Reader?
25 people showed up for yesterday’s NaNoWriMo kick-off party. 25 people. I can’t even believe it.
I’m serving as a Municipal Liaison with another woman in the area. She’s absolutely wonderful and even harder working than I am. Together, we planned this event and, honestly, I thought maybe we’d be lucky if 10 people showed up. I can’t even believe 25 people came out yesterday. A lot of people bought books at the independent bookstore that hosted the event, which is just extra super bonus points for the whole thing. I wrote on Friday about solid wins. This is one of them. I’m excited that our hard work paid off and that our region is becoming revitalized.
Acknowledge the victories, Dear Reader. They matter. They’ll get you through the silly things, like stepping on rusty nails on a Monday morning. I’m grateful for the victory. I’m so looking forward to seeing what else my work will do.
I will conclude this by acknowledging that a few of you might be disappointed that I did not address the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in this post. I am simply so heartbroken by the carnage of last week and especially on Saturday that it’s hard to face it all. Truth be told, there are greater thinkers than I who are writing beautifully about all of it: about how to combat hate and fear, how to resist the temptation to despair, how to resist the temptation to seek revenge, and how to resist the forces of evil that seem to be at work and in power in this world. In many ways, I’m seeking wisdom and letting the wise speak powerfully and widely. I am listening to the words of those who speak with the voice of pain, wisdom, history and soul.
I know of at least two Dear Readers who live in Pennsylvania. I know that there are many more of you who are members of Jewish congregations and communities in the States and in Canada. Please know that I pray for you. My heart aches for you. I wrap my arms around you and your communities. It has been a horrifying stretch of time. I can only hope that our collective pleas for change are heard.
It’s Monday. You are here, you are loved, and you are able. Reach out, work hard, and make a difference this week, Dear Reader. The world that we want requires work. I’m marching right alongside you. Onward, to victory.
Until Wednesday, take care.