Monday, November 30, 2015
Artistic Boundaries & War without Bloodshed
TAO's official studio space is where normal folks would have a living room and one guest bedroom is his office. There's a large separate building on the property that is stuffed with paintings, books, magazines and every phone, computer, fax machine and printer that has ever ceased working whilst in our care. I call that space "The Hoard". I have been known to mumble about us needing a good, cleansing fire.
The week leading up to Thanksgiving was very stressful at work and we had been bickering with one another about clients and completion dates etc. When you carpool with your spouse and disagree about work, the drive home seems even longer than the hour or so it usually takes.
Problem solving is what I do best. Once I saw that my best big salad bowl was being used as an overflow receptacle; containing crumpled, rejected drawings, a hammer and screw driver and my wooden dresser had a big scratch across it, from the metal clips under TAO's briefcase, I had to come up with a plan.
Dumping everything on the floor, in the middle of "His Space" is something I might have considered when we both were younger. My old Artist can't bend down to pick anything up and probably wouldn't have, even if he could. That would have been a call to battle and we've had a few of those in our power struggle of a marriage.
Call it Diplomacy or Deviousness, I hatched a plan. We have a folding table that's about 8ft long. It has been leaning against the wall of the covered patio since I lent it to my neighbors for a party they were hosting. I know they wiped it down and they were very good about bringing it back right away. It's been on my radar as something that needed a scrub. Residual black marks from the loaner party and then accumulated dust from the weekly mow and blow gardener who pushes as much debris and dirt onto the patio as off, with his nasty leaf blower.
I was awake early on Thanksgiving Day. We've been having a run of bright sunshine, blue skies and chilly temps that have actually skirted freezing point. It's been exciting to have an excuse to wear a real sweater, with long sleeves. I started by topping up the humming bird feeder with a warm water and sugar mixture and added extra sunflower seed mix to the songbird buffet. The squirrels gather the dropped grains and collect the acorns that are all over the driveway.
I scrubbed the table with bleach and left it on its side to dry in the slanted sunbeams then went inside to make room in the studio. I hauled the heavy double-decker glass shelving unit into the middle of the room and pushed the armchair closer to the door, leaving just enough space for the table to be placed right in front of the floor to ceiling windows, with a view out into the garden. I had found a plaid table cloth to make it look warm and homey, as well as disguising the inevitable and predictable stains. Next I transported each individual pile from my dining room table to a similar placement on the new studio table.
My poor naked dining table had accumulated some dark ink-spots. I had a little dark furniture oil left and spread that around to even out the finish. I also used it to hide the scratches on the dresser. Shabby Chic, with an emphasis on shabby.
One more thing to add to the list of complaints about the afforementioned state of encroachment was seeing our poor kitty struggle to find a spot to lie down on the dining table. The dining table is underneath a heater vent, catches the morning sun and has a perfect view of the bird feeders.It's cat heaven. I gave up on preventing the cat from being on the table when I started fostering dogs. Fair's fair. Slinkie deserves a safe zone.
I've never owned, or used a table runner before but the whole picture came together in my head when I saw this one. The orchids won't make water marks on my table and Slinkie will have an attractive mat to sit on. Win, Win!
TAO awoke to live the dream. If he believes I did all that for him, rather than for myself and the cat, so be it. He feels loved by the work I put in on his behalf and has revelled in his own sunbeams all weekend. I smile to myself at the perfect tranquility of my dining table and the sense of achievment it awards me.