“How was your day?”
This question my husband asks is the most everyday part of my everyday. With it, he invites me to punctuate the hours with a label. Good or bad. Busy or lazy. Sometimes with an exclamation point or two.
But last Monday, rather than responding with the usual ‘good’ and almost always, ‘busy,’ I allowed frustration to have its say. For surely it was frustration and a series of sleepless nights which made me respond that I was frittering my life away. You know, a little time here. A little there. With nothing much to show for it.
Because everything inches along in my everyday life, in stacks of varying states of “to do,” without anything ever getting done.
First, the garden. Never ending. As I like it.
Then, my home improvement du jour. Never ending. As I like it.
Ta-da, my work on Dad’s story. Never ending. Not at all as I like it.
In truth, I am overwhelmed by that story of my father’s growing up years. And as much as I wish to work on it, — or wish to wish — I fear it’s too much. And I wonder if Dad’s story isn’t the biggest time-fritter of all — what with research and re-reading of notes and just THINKING about all those stories floating around without a timeline and gleaning perspectives from others. It’s exhausting without being exhaustive. Black holes. Galore. My ghostly subjects move all across the map like they are running from the law. Or from me.
Of course, sometimes they did. Run from the law, that is. At least, my grandfather did. It was part of his ‘get rich-quick-and-easy scheme’ that didn’t pan out. You know that phrase — crime doesn’t pay — well, it could have been coined by all of my grandfather’s hard-working Greek cousins and uncles who got rich the hardworking way — when talking about my grandfather behind his back.
Have I mentioned — somewhere along the way — that my grandfather did a little moonlighting for the Mafia in the twenties and thirties? Probably not. It doesn’t come up too often in conversation.
Anyway, since last Monday, I’ve put Dad’s story on the back burner — to get a few things done. I guess I had need to point to a few dead and done bodies. I began by laying my first ever flagstone path … which I’ve thought about all the warm winter long — and found it to be much like putting together puzzle pieces of a different kind.
Then, I got my hands dirty in my new herb garden that once, not so long ago, was the concrete pad of the previous owner’s jacuzzi. Then, since I’m a gambling gardener —
rather than one who plays in the dirt safe — I planted five tomato plants three weeks before the official planting date — my shy way of living on the edge. I think they’ll be okay. Especially since my sister said that our mother said that Granny always said that the danger of frost is over once the Elm trees leaf out — which mine did earlier this week. (Sis shared this bit of gardening wisdom with me while we were painting her bedroom a lovely Carribean blue yesterday and today.)
So here’s the crazy thing. Six years ago, I would never have imagined that I could have done any of these things I did so handily this week. Flagstone paths? Garden designs that required the breaking out of a six inch concrete pad? Painting crisp, clean lines free-hand at the request of others?
So maybe, if I keep frittering away at Daddy’s story… a little time here, a little there, with a whole lot of living on the edge, it will all come together. Somehow. Someday. So help me God.
Yep. It could happen.