The key to maintaining sanity and an air of civility about the house is perspective. I am trying to learn the trick of keeping the distant goal in my peripheral vision while paying attention to, and even enjoying, the tiny task at hand. We’ve become quite good at taking pleasure in the small steps. So long as one of us remains optimistic, we can usually cajole the other back from the brink of despair. If that fails, we can run to the single completed room in our house, the tiny, controlled environment wine cellar, take a deep breath of redwood, and return ready to face the chaos. I admit I have been known to dramatize the situation and roll my eyes skyward while sighing deeply when unwary people ask how things are going, but the truth is, I’m enjoying the process.
Sometimes, something happens that seems to bode well for the future of a room. This week, this landed in our living room:
I should be thrilled about the thing inside the crate, but like a cat at a birthday party, I’m more excited about the packaging. Every time I look at this handmade crate, so different from the reinforced cardboard boxes most large items come packed in these days, I am whisked to the moment in the movie A Christmas Story when the much anticipated major award arrives at the front door in the giant wooden crate and the father sounds out the stenciled word fragile: "fra|GEE|lay". I can’t help it, I’m overcome.
What’s inside? Wouldn’t you like to know.