With the girls finally back in school last week (a whole other topic in itself…let me tell ya) and Clem and I moved into our new office, I managed to grab a few moments to sit on my patio swing…finally. It’s beautiful outside and really, we’ve had a fairly decent summer, so I can’t complain about any of the rain we’ve had. I’m really looking forward to the beautiful fall days ahead, and I know they’re on their way because when Clem and I went for a walk last night, it certainly felt fall-ish.
This was Lea’s most favorite time of year, fall…orrr autumn…I like the ring of the word autumn as it reverberates off my lips…strange…I know, but I like it. For some reason, I feel like saying autumn instead of just plain fall, makes it a more momentous occasion instead of a usual and expected changing of the season. Autumn…yeah, feels good when I say it that way. Fitting for such a beautiful time of year too.
I know that my sister would always be at the end of her rope, waiting for the appropriate time to set out her fall and Halloween décor, which I’m certain she would’ve gladly left out all year round if she could. She was BIG into Halloween and punkins…cute ones (as she and my mother would say), and it wasn’t until she moved closer to me that I finally realized her flair for all things fall…especially…cute punkins. For years I thought that she was just agreeable with everyone and anyone and really didn’t have any hardcore set preferences, so it came as a surprise when one fine fall day 9 or so months after she’d moved to town, my phone became inundated with Pinterest Pins.
It all started with some cute crocheted punkins if I recall and seemed completely innocuous…at first. It began with a single Pin sent to me, followed by her asking if I’d thought they were cute. As I was busy trying to get my kids out the door for whatever sport they were into that evening, I didn’t get to reply until much later.
The instant I agreed via text, what followed was a cascade of quite a few more of these Pins with different kinds of crocheted and knitted punkins that she’d found over the hours I’d been gone. Of course, I took the time and went through each one, oohing and ahhing over the beauty of these finely crafted little (and big) punkins and shared a few ideas of what I’d add and do differently, as I’d always done with her. Well, after saying all of these things, with her replying instantly with gushes of awwing and ogling and saying how bloody cute everything was, she dropped the hammer and suddenly text me…
You can make these, right?
Sigh…what could I say? I figured she was up to no good. She had me backed into a corner by this point, and there was no way out. I’d already spilled the beans in regards to possibly being able to recreate some of the little beauties, so what’s a girl to do?
Crafting, it’s not a disease…really
I remember my thumbs hovering over the keyboard of my phone, agonizing over what I should text back. It’s not like I didn’t have a shit ton of fall crafts planned already and only a week or so to accomplish them all before Halloween hit, followed by the ensuing winter season roll out. Yeah, sometimes I leave things to the very last minute and some of my handiwork is displayed for maybe a day or 2 before it all gets packed up for the year, but at least I eventually get around to it.
Sooo….I finally text her back…
Yeah…for you…maybe. I’ll have to see what it entails though.
What can I say, I have yarn
I didn’t bother to wait for her reply. I knew she was excited and really wanted one of these things, and any time I could do something for her that she really wanted, I’d drop everything and do it. I decided to move my caboose down to the basement, where I began to rummage through my yarn hoard to see what colors I’d had. Yeah…I have a yarn hoarding problem…as Clem found out when we were packing and moving…HA, SURPRISE! And now he’s finally understanding of the frustrations I’d encountered years ago when I was looking for storage containers that would make everything all neat, tidy and organized…yeah right…not with yarn you don’t (I need a storage locker for all of my crafty shit, I swear).
Anyway, I discovered (it’s exciting to rediscover the things you’d bought and completely forgotten about, ask any craft supply hoarder) that I had a bright, pumpkin colored orange (no idea when or where or why I got it, but I had it!) and I figured that it was good enough to give the pattern a go. It was quite a bit later in the evening by the time I finally sat down and got to work, but that didn’t deter me. It didn’t take very long and before I knew it, I had finished the crocheted portion. For me and my skill level, I was surprised at how quickly it all worked up.
All I needed to find now was a 1 or so inch thick branch, my trusty glue gun, stuffing, and some natural cording to make the little segments of the crocheted piece. I knew Clem would help me find a branch and the rest was just waiting for me in my crafty hoard area of the basement. I went to bed excited and couldn’t wait to show Lea the little punkin, once I’d finished.
I have no self-control (zero, zip, zilch, nada) when it comes to surprises
The next morning, after I got the kids out the door, I managed to sneak in the final steps of my punkin making in between my usual routine, except for the branch portion. I figured just getting the damned thing put together was pretty good for being requested less than 24 hours earlier. I was happy with how it turned out…it actually looked like a pumpkin, sans stem. Hooray! (Obviously, many things don’t turn out for me)
So, a moment of brutal honesty, I have difficulty maintaining my composure when it comes to surprises. I don’t like being surprised, but I absolutely love doing the surprising. Needless to say, I had difficulty not texting Lea a photo of what I’d done the instant I’d achieved crafting greatness, and proceeded to anxiously pace my house while waiting for the right time to take it over to her. In Clem’s defense, he did try to hold me back until I’d completed it, but I told him that I was going to give Lea her punkin that evening without the stem because I was just too bloody excited…it didn’t need the freaking stem, it could wait.
That evening, I shamefully rushed everyone through their dinner, even getting to the point where I was coaching them through each bite, encouraging them to chew faster like a psychotic professional sports coach (I had a few loud drill sergeant-like outburts to get them all moving, but other than that, I didn’t do too much yelling). I know, I’m not proud. When I got sick of waiting, I pulled a Lea and began doing the dishes before anyone had finished eating…tough luck for them, we had to get going. My family wasn’t too impressed with me (the protest I witnessed was enough said), but I was successful in loading them all up into the car not even a minute after I’d finished clearing the table, that was an all time world record for us by the way.
I can only imagine what I looked like and I admit, I probably looked like a total jackass because I bolted from the car before it was even in park. Excited much, Ali? I ran up the stairs and proceeded to knock on the door with urgency…like there’s a fire burning on your roof type urgency…yeah…I know, I’m sad. When Lea got to the door, she didn’t look too impressed, but I was sure happy to see her.
I don’t have superpowers
As soon as she opened the door, I pushed my way in, babbling about having a super awesome surprise for her. I know what I looked like, an excited 2 year old, especially when I started jumping up and down, but I didn’t care. I noticed that she looked tired and perhaps a little cranky, but I continued to hop up and down like a crazed maniac while my family finally filed in behind me.
During my insane dash to the door, I hid my little surprise by stuffing it into the side pocket of my jacket, making sure that nothing was hanging out…because it was a surprise after all, and no one was supposed to see it…at all. Only thing was, this punkin wasn’t as little as I’d originally thought it would be, and it rang in at just a bit bigger than a softball. I’m going to say that I was quite surprised that I managed to get the damned thing into the pocket of my jacket while on a dead sprint because when I went to pull the bloody thing out, I noticed that it was a little snug. Yeah, I stuffed that bitch in there real good…too good actually.
As my sister stood in her front entryway with her arms crossed in front of her, with a look of pure bitchiness stretched across her face, she watched me struggle with my ill planned reveal. I tried not to cuss and flail my arms around while pulling on the stupid thing, but I’m sure I looked a little like Chris Farley in his famous SNL skit Matt Foley: Van Down By The River, as I wrestled the super cute little punkin from my pocket. Lea just stood there, waiting impatiently with her look of for fuck sakes sprawled across her face, being sure I absolutely knew that I was a huge pain in her ass. Oh man, I miss that look!
I’m normal…really, I am
I stuck my index finger up quickly to signal that I needed a second to collect myself, all while begging for a moment of patience. As I wiped the sweat from my brow, I continued to try and ease the cute little punkin from my pocket gently but to no avail. Eventually, I ended up abandoning any form of tenderness and caution, and began to add a few violent tugs to the mix, which finally caused it to pop out and fly across the small area. Heebus, I thought I was gonna have to take my jacket off and beat it over the railing just outside her front door…it was that stuck.
So there I am, covered in sweat, with my 2 year old excitement and babbling replaced with utter pissiness that I finally polished off and ended with a string of sailor like cussing that eventually trailed into awkward silence. I was pissed. All I had left to show for my exertion, was a crocheted piece that now looked like a squished and deformed clementine.
The yarn I’d used was a thick one that if pulled apart, looked like tufts of pulled fur, which as you can imagine, got caught up in the VELCRO patch that secured the fabric cover over my pocket. It pulled the delicate yarn apart, making frizzy patches all over my pumpkin’s round-ish surface. My little clementine looked quite frazzled, especially the segments, which converged in 2 places because the natural cording managed to migrate around it, making it look more like a round set of ass cheeks than an orange. I wanted to cry.
Disappointment and glee
As I stood in the doorway, staring down at what was left of my beautifully crafted pumpkin…let’s just call it what it really looked like, an orange, deranged, matted, fur covered, asymmetrical double set of ass…all I could think was…well shit, that fucking sucks. Lea, however, went from pure bitchiness to uncontrollable glee as she laughed about how ridiculous I looked while trying to free my ass…-es. Seize the day I guess.
I had a good laugh after telling her how proud I was of my creation because it had turned out beautifully…until I fucked it all up. She, of course, asked where the stem was, and I told her that I didn’t have one because I was too excited to show her and couldn’t wait. I said that I was sure she’d find one she could use when she went out for a walk, but she kind of huffed and said she probably wouldn’t have a stem then…man was she huffy about the stupid stick. I did eventually get some of the damned things, but man was she ever princess-y about me having to glue the stupid thing on…grrr.
I was happy it didn’t have the bloody stick because who would’ve known what that might’ve done to my jacket. Stupid pocket. Well, maybe it’s more stupid me. Whatever, at least she got her punkin…err, or whatever the hell that was.
Bad projects and joy, an unlikely match
She put it behind a few of her other pretty things, high up on one of her shelves and thanked me for making it for her. I believe she enjoyed the moment of reveal, more than the actual object itself. Yes, I have my moments, and in my defense, she’d had hers. What a fiasco.
It’s days like this, when I have time to sit and reminisce, that I realize how much her absence affects my life. I wish she was still here sometimes, but then again, would I really want her here in the state that she had been living? Would I really want her to be trying to navigate life the way things are right now? The answer…nope.
I could really use another bad project to laugh about though, especially right now…I really could. This week has been exceptionally trying for me and having that release, would serve me well right now. Clem tries, he really does, but I think it was the nature of Lea’s infectious joy of the little things that’s what’s truly missing in my life at this moment. Yes, it really is all about the little things.
Falling into joy
It’s funny to think about what’s really important to me at this stage in my life, and realizing the roots of where much of it originated, especially after losing that source over 2 years ago now. There are so many things that I finally see and it’s sad that I didn’t realize them or fully appreciate them while she was still here. That would’ve been double the joy I think.
Without her here, it still feels like nothing is right…it’s definitely different, and maybe a little off if you know what I mean. The seasons, the holidays, and life in general, all trigger the memories, the feelings, and now, the understanding and awareness she’s left behind for us to adopt and incorporate into our lives. These are some of the most important things I’ve learned in my life thus far, which keep her alive in my heart, and make me pay attention and take note of actively implementing her wisdom wherever and whenever necessary.
Fall may not be the same for me anymore, but I’m going to keep moving forward and find ways to indulge in the joy, it’s a shame if I don’t. I’ll continue to appreciate the little things each day, no matter what life throws at me because the joyous moments are usually separate from the shitty things anyway, so why spoil them? If I’ve learned anything at all from my sister, it’s that even though she knew that she had limited time, she always allowed herself to enjoy the very smallest of moments, especially the ones that included cute little fucked up clementine punkin asses gone awry. So today, I’m going to take a page from her book, and go find my fall décor box amid the disaster in the basement, and take joy in ushering in the beauty of the season we call fall…or autumn…whatever floats your punkin.