Dad’s Coat

“I don’t understand,” I said, “Nothing has changed, except we now know.”

“Yeah, “Mum said, “It’s like we’ve put on an extra coat.”

 

We have. It’s cumbersome and lacks warmth. It’s a weight of knowledge

We’ve slipped into this coat as it was handed to us and we can’t take off.

 

We have many coats.

We all do.

Some make us lighter, some warmer.

Some we grow into. Some we grow out of.

Some are in storage.

Some we didn’t know we had.

The coats we love wear thin.

 

We all have this coat. The coat of mortality – the knowledge that life is finite.

The longer you live, the more you wear it.

It’s not a coat we like to air.

 

We put on the fighting coat.

 

And we have love.

We have now.

This coat fits best.

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Love and Hugs

After a long, complicated day at work, my husband opened up his arms for a hug and suggested I change into my pyjamas and get cosy.

The hug was well received. And somewhat muffled by his jacket I asked a question that led to this conversation:

Me: If you could do any job and make a living off it, what would you do?

Husband: Hug you.

Me: You’d make a killing! Except I’d have to pay you which would be counter-productive.

Husband: Be a good job.

Me: Seriously though, what job would you do?

Husband: Hug you.

Me: I think I need to rephrase the question.

Nothing to Write About

Husband: Write about the cat eating his chicken wing.

Me: That’s really dull.

H: Introduce a narrative, make it interesting. How he was meant to eat it on his mat but didn’t so I had to wash the floor.

M: Wow. That is dull. I’d do better to talk about the time you punched yourself in the face.

H: And I was completely sober.

M: And you were allowed to operate machinery

H: A pulley isn’t ‘machinery’

M: It is.

H: That’s proper English?

M: It’s machine-ish.

H: See. There’s a blog post, right there.

M: You still punched yourself in the face though.

H: Shut up.

M: Just sayin’

 

 

 

 

 

Overthinking: Case Study #01

My first thought is always the worst one. And if it’s not, then I quickly find it from there.

Like that fire we saw on our early morning walk. We could see black smoke billowing in the distance and wondered aloud to my husband if we should call the fire brigade. His first thought is like the exact opposite of mine, which borders on guileless denial.

H: Someone’s just burning off.

Me: Now? It’s barely dawn!

H: It’s very still. Maybe conditions are optimal.

Me: I think we should call someone-

As soon as I’d said it, we could hear sirens. Then we started to hear the odd bang as combustibles caught alight.

Me: Oh! I think it’s a house.

H: You can’t possibly know that from here.

Me: But what if it is? What if it was arson? What if the person who started the fire had driven past us and our conversation had prevented us from noticing them and then they went on to commit another crime?

Not that I said that last bit aloud. He would have given me that face.

Meanwhile. I’m memorising car plates.

 

Thoughts on Decluttering: KonMari

This might be a strange thing for a hoarder to admit, but I like the idea of decluttering.

I can even see the benefits of minimalism. I mean, who doesn’t want to dance around the house without the fear of knocking something over?

So. Why do I collect stuff?

It sparks joy.

Using the KonMari method of decluttering, this means I get to keep everything!

This isn’t a review – I have not read Marie Kondo’s books. I’m certain this is an over-simplified assessment of her philosophy just as I’m a fool to think (even in jest) that everything I have brings me joy.

The ‘does it spark joy?’ mantra doesn’t help me declutter because the question doesn’t address why I hoard.

My hoarding feels misunderstood.

I’m organised. Like really organised. It’s as close as I get to a superpower. I know where everything is. I don’t have a ‘junk’ drawer. I don’t hide things randomly in whatever free space I can find until one day I die under a mound of stuff  while trying to access the spare room. Even the stuff hidden in storage is well sorted. I must admit that sometimes my decision to  keep something is reinforced by the fact I have space for it. I also vertically fold my clothes.  I open a drawer and I can see everything I have. I’ve done this since I’ve had my own home. This is normal, right?

It might be useful. Not just that, but I want it to be useful. I have wrapping paper saved from when I was a child. Fabric off-cuts. Ribbon. I’ve saved white paper scraps for the day I try my hand at paper making. We live in a world where we throw everything away and I don’t want that to be me. I want to be the person who makes good with what they have when possible. I recycle/reuse/repurpose as much as I can, and when I use something I’ve had for ten years, I’m all ‘HA! My hoarding is validated!’ It’s happened like, three times so far. When it happens again, I. Am. So. Ready.

Time. This seems ridiculous, but sometimes rather than hoarding stuff, I hoard the time it took to make and create it. Like university notes and assignments. Those plant specimens I collected with my dad for a university course. Clothes I’ve sewn, A tiny vase I potted in kindergarten. I might have moved on from these moments or things but discarding them feels like throwing away time and calling that time ‘wasted’.

Guilt LOVE. The spirit in which something is given is stronger than the gift itself. Always. Knowing someone put love and thought into a present instantly makes the present precious. I’m hoarding gifts which no-longer spark joy except for the love and thought they contain. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to reconcile that. Love always wins.

Sentiment. Obviously.

Memory. I have a good memory for detail. Sometimes this is a really handy skill but it also makes me emotionally connect with objects. I remember who gave me what and when or I remember that I bought that thing on a really happy day when I was with Mum. You get the gist.

Emotional connections. This sounds a lot like ‘ sentiment’, but that is for things connected to my own family – I actually collect sentiment that isn’t even my own.  I’ve found people’s lives on the inside cover of books. I’ve held things that were loved by people 150 years ago. I bought a tapestry from a woman who cried. Not because she couldn’t keep all of her mother’s tapestries but because I cared her mother had made it and I loved it too. It thrills me the way objects move through time. I feel that whole-heartedly.

 


 

If you have actually read Marie Kondo’s book/s, I would love to hear your insight.

A Note To My Younger Self

There’s a television programme in Australia called Home Delivery. The host takes a celebrity guest on a journey back into their past. They visit the house they grew up in, their old school and they reflect upon the life they had growing up.

The host always ends the show with this question:

“If you could say something to your twelve-year-old self – what would you say?”

It’s a heavier question than it first appears. By addressing it you’re forced to think about what you could change. What you might regret. What you feared. How you struggled.

Could you have done better?

My friend and fellow blogger, Sinéad, answered this question herself which again got me thinking.

What would I say to my younger self?

For me, it is this:

You’re doing okay.

Give yourself permission to fail and keep trying.

Your worries are smaller than they feel.

You’re more in control than you think.

What would you say?

It’s All About Me

These questions did the rounds, like ages ago. It’s been stuck in drafts as I’ve been slow getting the images together. So I just posted it sans images.

I stole borrowed these questions from Shameful Sheep and then I saw them again at Quixie’s, which inspired me to do something about answering them. Check out their answers, go on, I’ll wait.

As a bit of time has elapsed and some of the questions are moment specific, I better clarify, those answers were correct the day I wrote them.

Who are you named after?

Wally is difficult to explain, it’s a nickname and a name I love and the best explanation is perhaps here.

Kate is simply a name my parents liked. My middle name is derived from my grandmother’s.

Do you like your handwriting?

Sometimes. I have good writing days.

Handwriting was always important to me for some reason, I actually used to practice my handwriting outside of school and I took elements I liked of other people’s handwriting and made them my own. I evolved my Rs to copy my pen pal from Lithuania – it fascinated me that they were seemingly back-to-front. My interest in lettering and font has continued on.

What is your favourite lunch meat?

Lunch meat? Is that an Americanism? I don’t think I’ve ever reflected upon this or the term ‘lunch meat’ before. I don’t eat a lot of meat anyway.  I occasionally might have a ham cheese and pineapple toasted sandwich. Sometimes I have chicken. No favourites really.

Longest relationship?

My husband! We’ve been a couple for 17 years and married for 13 years. He is my best friend.

Do you still have your tonsils?

Yes. Underwhelmingly, yes. I’ve never had tonsillitis. I did have an eye operation when I was a child though and duly noted that children who had their tonsils out got ice cream.

Would you bungee jump?

Would or could? I could, I just don’t want to. An adrenalin rush for me a little too close to a panic attack. Also, apparently some people’s eyes are vulnerable to the pressure and your retina can detach. I’ll pass, thanks.

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

Yes. Otherwise, I can’t get my foot out. I don’t have a large foot so I obviously tie my laces with some ferocity.

Favourite ice cream?

It’s easier to list your least favourites, surely?  The favourite that springs to mind is caramel with honey and macadamia.

What is the first thing you notice about people?

Their manner. I’m not good at looking at people. My husband’s like, ‘Wow, her eyebrows!’ and I’m all ‘What?’ and he’s frowning at me because he can’t believe I didn’t notice they were missing. If you dye your hair, unless it’s from blond to black, I’ll probably be oblivious.  If we meet briefly, I might recognise you so long as you’re wearing the same clothes in the same context, on the same day. Maybe.

Football or baseball?

Sport. Meh.

Neither.

Sometimes, I watch the Olympics.

What color pants are you wearing?

Today, my red skinny jeans.

Last thing you ate?

Mashed hard-boiled egg sandwich. I had a picnic lunch with some friends and it was the quickest thing I could prepare.

If you were a crayon what color would you be?

I picked my colour from this list. My go-to colours have always been green and dark, deep blues. Midnight-blue would usually be my colour but today, I’m thinking Asparagus.

Favourite smell?

When Hermione Grainger listed freshly cut grass and parchment as her favourite scents, I wanted to hug her.

Also. I love the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil. I love the smell of book shops and coffee so if the book shop has a coffee shop attached, it’s a double win. Then there’s the smell of cake in the oven and cinnamon. I love my husband’s scent  and the smell of  lily-of-the-valley.

Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

Mum. I rarely call anyone else, I don’t have a big family or many friends. I usually text.

Hair colour?

Dark brown with a faint reddish tinge in sunlight, these days with hints of grey.

Eye colour?

Blue-grey.

Favourite foods to eat?

My dad’s chicken roast. Dad’s pizza. Fish. My mother-in-law’s lemon delicious pudding. And cake. And chocolate. And desserts generally.

Scary movies or happy endings?

Happy endings. Near always. As someone who suffers from anxiety disorder, I find it’s better for me to stick with films that don’t trigger an anxiety attack. Though, admittedly, the trigger is more likely to be from a realistic depressing drama than a scary movie.

Last movie you watched?

I re-watched The Princess Bride.

Favourite holiday?

Is this favourite holiday, like Christmas or my favourite holiday I’ve taken? When is a holiday not a favourite? Most holidays I’ve taken in my life have been short and close to home and I don’t wish to diminish the value of those but our holiday overseas to the UK and Ireland was A-MAZ-ING.

Beer or wine?

Wine. My least favourite are sweet wines.

Night owl or early bird?

This is a weird one. Once, I definitely would have said night-owl. I’ve kind of trained myself over the last few years to get up early, but I don’t think I could call myself a morning person.

*husband nods in background*

Favourite day of the week?

I work part-time and any day I don’t work is my favourite. Probably and especially Friday because I still have the weekend ahead of me.

Which three of your favourite bloggers do you want to know more about? 

YOU! You there! Yes you. I’d love to learn more about you either in the comments or your own blog. No pressure.