Monday, 1 September 2008

Do-It-Meself

It came to my notice recently what a consistent approach I have to all creative projects - consistently mad, bad and stressful, with incredible highs and lows and a basic fingers-in-my-ears Lalalalala attitude to anyone daft enough to offer guidance along the way.


The thought struck me as I wrestled (almost literally) with a chest of drawers I'd picked up cheap on ebay for the children's bedroom (their clothes having been stored in those enormous blue IKEA bags ever since we emigrated). My intention was to pay next to nothing for them and, somehow - despite a glaring lack of D.I.Y skills - turn them into a work of art. I had a vision: I would transform them into, not just an ordinary chest of drawers, but OUTER SPACE. Outer Space with clothes inside - the picture in my head swayed between foggy and slippery but I believed in it.

As I conveyed my vision to The Australian, the look on his face told me that he was a non-believer and I determined to block him out completely - he just wanted to spoil my fun with his 'you're going to have to strip it first' mentality. As I toiled away in the garden, with the drawers placed on an old sheet, my sleeves rolled up and my energy for the project so high there was a slight buzzing noise in my ears, The Australian observed from behind the safety glass / French windows, screwing up his face as I grappled with spray-paint, mini-rollers and masking tape. I could tell what he was thinking: 'You haven't thought this through'. Lalalalala!

Three weeks later, the damn drawers were still on the damn sheet in the damn garden. Owing to a small oversight - which could also be seen as incredible attention to detail *ahem* - the drawers would no longer slide into the chest and the whole thing had to be re-done. I was horrified. Zapped of all enthusiasm. My vision was slipping away - the joy of chasing it was nearly gone. There was paint everywhere, and did it look like Outer Space? Not even if I squinted.

So I kicked it a bit, swore at it a lot, and decided to leave it there until it magically fixed all its own problems.

A further fortnight later I caved and went to The Australian with despair in my eyes and some sob-story about how I had only wanted to make something nice for the children and how it was so unfair that no one had told me that painting the sides of each drawer (so they'd look nice when you pulled them out...) with three coats was a really, really bad idea. The drawers were now covered in garden debris; I'd used so much paint that my ebay bargain was turning into a costly nightmare. So I finally took my fingers out of my ears and took his advice, mumbling 'yeah yeah, whatever' to his charitable 'well done' when the drawers were finished and carried to the bedroom. 

The scary part of this is that I still don't think I'd do it any other way, even with hindsight. That initial rush, that joy, the chasing of that slippery but irresistible vision, makes up for the wrestling and the hard toil that inevitably follows if you are allergic to planning. Chests of drawers, novels, umm, life in general - I guess I'm a buy-now-pay-later kind of woman.

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6 comments:

The Mock Duckling said...

Ooo I admire you for doing it at all. I have difficulty enough with my ongoing project not to live in a rubbish heap. (A project that lies in tatters - amongst a load of smelly socks and scrumpled newspapers -at my feet.) I bet it looks good though. Are you going to post a picture?

Luisa said...

Oh, I can *so* relate to this.

I'm right there with you, sis-tah.

Ross said...

I probably would have painted the sides of the drawers as well...

Mum'sTheWord said...

Mockster - I may possibly post a photo if the last addition to the drawers works out...

Luisa - it helps to know I"m not alone.

Ross - awww bless ya, we should definitely not set up a handyman business then.

Anonymous said...

I can completely relate to this too! Unfortunately, I have no The Handy Australian. My equivalent is just as useless as me and we both hyper ventilate at anything requiring common sense and DIY skills. Best to get A Man in, I say!

Mum'sTheWord said...

The Australian is not a born DIY'er but has become fabulous by stealth...I think while I was mastering the art of looking after babies (aka not paying attention to anything else / sleep deprived to a torturous degree), he was mastering the art of handymanship, because I don't remember how or when the transition took place.