Saturday, March 31, 2007

Admiring the decor

I have a lot of work, a big contract, to deal with over the coming weeks, so I'm off to a fine start in my procrastinating, oddly enough doing things other than blogging.

The next time I decide to refurbish a set of drawers, somebody, please, just kick me.

Helena hates her bedroom, or hates sleeping in it, or possibly simply prefers sleeping with us, although she's fairly articulate about what she likes in our bedroom — the colours, the bookshelves, the coziness — that I give credence to her disliking her room. I don't much like it either, but with its configuration and the furniture passed on to us from a relative, and our budget, there seemed little to do. Painting the walls was an option, is still an option, but the logistics of it are daunting. And I've always hated that furniture, white, with brass hardware and icky floral motif. So, in a flash of inspiration, we bought her a new bed around Christmas, and made plans, figuring some paint and sleek hardware would spruce up the drawers; we'll install a bookcase in the next couple weeks.

What seemed like a quick and easy way to bring life to Helena's bedroom, has cost a few bucks, about 6000 hours of labour, and endless grief. I have concluded that television decorating shows are fixed. It is beyond me how anyone could sand, clean, paint, and seal to an acceptable standard a couple apparently simple pieces of furniture but with weird nooks and crannies in an afternoon, let alone redo entire rooms. Not worst is Helena's insistence on helping, to which I stupidly respond, "OK," and which entails extra hours of fixing and cleaning up after when she's not looking. I have learned also that, although the sun is shining, it really isn't nearly warm enough to do any of this outside or even inside with the patio doors and windows open. So I'm cold, cranky, tired.

But it's almost done now, and I feel a little bit of pride in it, seeing a deep purple chest and night table with bright red rectangles of drawers in them, and seeing Helena take pride in her contribution to the project.


I am dying to finish A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter M Miller Jr). I've been meaning to read it for some dozen years, so when I was offered a review copy of its reissue I accepted. I'm within spitting distance of the end now. I've been bringing it to bed with me every night this week, but I keep falling off to sleep a sleep of exhaustion.

I am not dying to finish reading Infinite Jest. I am, however, dying to fulfill my commitment to reading it. I just need to read something else first.

I have started The Color of a Dog Running Away, by Richard Gwyn — another review copy I couldn't pass up based on its description. The epigram for Part One is from Milan Kundera: "We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives or perfect it in our lives to come." I read that and hear Daniel Day Lewis confirming, "There is no dress rehearsal for life." I have no idea what that means in the context of a novel about roof dwellers and religious cults, only what it means in the context of my own life. But it means something.

Other books I'm eying, which arrived this week after finally putting Christmas gift certificates to use:

The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas. The paperback arrived with the cover creased, slightly mangled, and while this niggles at me a little, I think I've finally grown to the point where I'm past caring enough to do anything about it beyond this little griping here and now. (Seriously, I think I've come to love books in a better way these last few years.) I know it will show lots of wear by the time I'm done with it.

The Messiah of Stockholm, Cynthia Ozick, acquisition of which was inspired by my recent introduction to Bruno Schulz via The Street of Crocodiles. Its story tracks Schulz's lost manuscript.

Doctor Who Files: Rose. Which isn't really for me. It seemed a good idea that Helena should have a memento of her hero. And it also seems a good idea that Helena should have something new to entertain her during the 7-hour car ride we'll be enduring Easter weekend. I've yet to review it for "appropriateness," but I was surprised and delighted to discover a plethora of Doctor Who books and other merchandising material geared toward young fans.

But, oh, yeah, I've got work to do.


rachel said...

Ah, A Canticle for Liebowitz! One of my all-time favourites. You'll love the ending, at least I hope so. I haven't read that book in 20 years, and I still remember it, perfectly clearly.

patricia said...

Canticle is one of those books that I know I must get to eventually. The hubby has raved about it over and over again over the years. So I just went and asked him about it, and he found it on one of the bookshelves in our living room, so at least I know where it is!

And yeah, those decorating shows are SO fixed. Gawd I hate 'em. I'd love to see a decorating show where the host gets really pissed off at how her project is progressing and then blows off the job so that she can get sloshed on some good wine. Wait. That would be me.