Close To Perfect

In a veritable firestorm of no-nonsense, gitterdone action I set out to use this fine and temperate day to bring all manner of domestic projects to a close. My son has now been gone for five weeks, making this the longest period of time we have ever been apart from each other in his nine years on the planet. He comes home tomorrow, so if it aint done by tomorrow, it aint gonna get done for a while yet. So the closing bell’s coming real soon. Hustle, hustle…

For several years there have been a certain two light fixtures just laying about, in need of being properly installed on the house. I know it’s not a terribly hard job, but I couldn’t seem to summon the focus to get em up. Til today. Up went the outside back door light. Just took a few minutes, really. Not a big deal. And wouldn’t ya know? It looks simply charming. I stand back for a look and I am about as proud of my simple improvement as if I’d laid a whole roof myself. Yup, I’m proud. Looks good.  A hell of a lot better than the 1970s stock fixture which was twisted in its housing, hanging upside down by its own wires and swathed in spider webs. Yeeps. That was part of our trash house look. “Welcome! We don’t have enough motivation to change out this light, but you’ll ignore it, won’t you? We know you like us for who we are, and this skanky, cobweb-covered light fixture doesn’t change the way you feel about us, does it? We really do appreciate your just ignoring it… We know we need to get to that sometime soon, but there’s just sooo much to do around here. Who has time?”

So then I “install” the second fixture, a very modest, average sort of ceiling lamp which I’ve been meaning to get to for now, well, (could it really be??) four years. (????) Ok. Where’s the ladder. Let’s just knock this puppy out. But then wait minute, I can’t find a screw long enough. Man, looks like I’m gonna need two. And I can’t even find one. And geez, if I actually can manage to get one of these screws into the hole then into the frame to hold it in place – I have to do it all over again with another screw on the other side of the plate. Damn. I can’t find a second one long enough. So. Looks like the fixture will be held on by one very important screw. Oh, and I’m well aware it’s the wrong kind – it’s got a point on it (what is that like for wood??) but what the hell – the fixture is on the ceiling nice and tight. Yup. Wires are good, ground is good. It’s holding. New bulb in. Flip breaker, then switch. Hooray! I can do this silly sort of thing!

I’m so very happy that I go on to vacuum the whole house and then light every last candle in the screen porch for no good reason at all. Then I sit there, alone, the voices of HGTV keeping me company from the other room. My home looks good. For the first time since, well, since I was probably in third grade I actually know where ALL my stuff is. ALL of my school work, artwork, recordings, dresses, taxes, medical info, love letters, floor plans – ALL of it! And so THIS, this – it is a moment of perfection. For this moment, I know where everything is. And it’s all looking good. All of it’s in good working order. I have, for now reached a moment of completion. I have arrived.

I even find some time to sit at the piano and make music. My living room is aglow, my porch is aglow, I am playing my beloved piano and all is right with the world. Woo hoo. What a moment, thank you universe. Thank you everyone. Thank you life. Mm. Tonite it’s good.

Then I blow out the candles and leave my darkened porch so I can go and have another quick, satisfied peek at the back hall light before I turn in for the night.. I flick the switch and POOF. The bulb explodes. Well, ok. That’s ok. But then I try the wall switch, and notice that nothing’s coming on. Not even the lights at the bottom of the cellar stairs. That means something shorted out the circuit. Bless the breaker, it did its job and flipped over, shutting down my obviously sketchy installation job. Poopie is all I think. Elihu’s coming home tomorrow and I’d wanted everything perfect. I’d wanted things working as they should, looking top of the line clean and polished. Now this. Poopie. All I can say really. Kinda disappointing, but whatever. Aint nothin but a thing.

Earlier today I’d worked several hours at a friends house, the final stages of a cleaning process that’s dragged out for years, really. But today, this was it. The sky was wide and clear, bright blue with huge, sailing clouds… impressive, inspirational. It was on my mind as I bagged up dust and broken things, my eyes on the prize of a clean home. My spirit was filled with the feeling of the day and just working itself was a joy. I was able to be in my task, to enjoy my day, to enjoy being in the middle of a process not yet completed.

I remembered that feeling again. Which helped to remind me tonite when the wall switch went blooey, that it’s still ok. I’m still in the middle of the process of fixing it. And it’s not a big deal. Elihu won’t care. Even if we have to use flashlights to go downstairs for a while  – that’s fine too. Whatever disappointment I might feel from this small hiccup in my day will only remain thus if I choose to let it be. So I turn my attention elsewhere. Today has been a wonderful, wind-swept, sunshiney, big-cloud-moving sort of day. A real beaut of an end-of-summer day. I so enjoyed living in it. I didn’t quite complete my list, but who cares. Instead, I was treated to a surprise visit by neighbor Zac and his teeny daughter Annabelle, I saw both of my parents, and my goose let me smooch him.

And of course, my son comes home tomorrow. Which makes everything just perfect.

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