The Shade story

Sometimes one must celebrate life’s little victories. This shade (and another one in an adjoining room) has been broken for going on two years. It was one of those nagging things, looking at it induced anxiety from knowing it had to be fixed. But the thought of fixing it lingered like a boil. This one had come out of the track and was hanging vertically like a piece of wrinkled wax paper. My friend Domenico and his wife Luitgard slept in the daybed beneath this broken shade. Sunburn before breakfast was not in their travel plans. The other shade came only partially out of the track, and formed an interesting semi-circle that I took a picture of one night, and it ended up winning the Project 365 Abstract Challenge. I knew something good would come from the procrastination but would be lying to say such pleasantry was part of a plan. Today was one of reckoning. I installed the two new shades, and of course they were assembled backwards in the factory, so I had to install them in reverse. The handle had to be moved from the sky side to the room side, and alas I lost one of the tiny screws to secure it. One of these days I will go to the hardware store to get a replacement screw, but I’ll wait on that. Maybe the original will turn up some day.


I spent another half hour looking for the screw. I found it, nestled between the cracks in our ancient wood floors, near some popcorn seeds from the prior inhabitants. They ate lots of popcorn and left lots of un-popped kernels that nestled away in the cracks. When the floors were redone, the kernels got a fresh coat of varnish too and are embedded in the cracks. I popped a few out for shits and giggles. An old house is “creaky” by its nature, but it gets hot in the front room on the third floor, and maybe some of the creaks I hear are kernels popping?

When I was messing around with boats, I would always toss a nut and bolt in the water before starting a project just to get it over with.

To finish up on the shade thing, I think the person who assembled the shades was a sadist. Aside from assembling them backwards in the factory (this is a leap of faith on my part since I have a sinking feeling I installed them backwards) the thin strings that raise and lower the shade were tied into neat loops set up for undoing by normal people. Being in a complete state of hysteria, I gave the assembage a yank and it seized up into minute knots that I wrestled with for at least a half hour. I had to sit down twice to calm myself. I started to cry. Exasperated I asked daughter Emily to help and she gave my gnarly ball of chaos one tug and it came undone. “Don’t you have a doctorate?”, she asked…. I was too exhausted to answer…..

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