Reactions Are Varied

I've had a cold all week.

Given the number of sick days my children have had in the past month for colds, flus, and more colds (not even including the days Jabin took off because of a pounding headache after his toboggan accident), I guess the only real surprise about my current state of health is that it took so long for me to succumb.

Nevertheless, I confess to feeling a little grouchy today that I've had to cancel or postpone every out-of-the-house engagement I had scheduled for this week. And that blinking feels like dragging my eyelids over sandpaper. And that my nose feels like a ten-pound sausage, and as useful for drawing air through.

There are up sides, I guess. I got my month-end paperwork done in timely fashion. All the laundry got done in a single day. And since I emerged from a three-week fiction-induced stupor on Monday (produced from pounding through approximately 2,000 pages of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series), even this cold-induced-stupor seems strangely productive, if not quite as much so as my to-do list demands.

See? I'm looking for the silver lining. (My mom will be so proud.)

Been hanging out with this stuff a lot this week.

My local fabric store has been in existence since the 70s. In that time, I am sure the owners have done nary a bit of upkeep to the building. It has gap-toothed wooden shakes coated with peeling brown paint lining the eves of the flat-roofed structure. The front door sports a sprawling spiderweb of cracks--filled in by silicon--that was a souvenir from some act of vandalism a few years ago. The inside of the building is dim--even after the owner quickly goes and flips on a bank or two of lights at a customer's entrance--and made more-so by the dark wooden shelves, ancient worn carpet, and narrow aisles between close-packed bolts of fabric. Some of the fabrics, trims, patterns, and buttons have been in the store since the seventies too. These unique, interesting, and aged textiles share retail space with modern fabrics that fly off the shelves and are replaced on a steady rotation. The whole of it is permeated by a musty stench that takes at least three washings to remove from any fabric purchased there, and clings to your clothes for the remainder of the day after visiting.

The store is run by the original owners, a senior couple with whom I am on a first-name basis. Well, I know their names--I wouldn't place bets on them remembering mine, even if they recognize my face. The store is their means of income well into years where they would have been forced into retirement from a different kind of employment. Which is also the apparent reason for the building's decay--they must re-invest very little (if any) of their income back into their business at this stage.

Every visit is a bit of an adventure, if you have the time for it. Digging through piles of bolt ends or patterns dating back to the nineties and earlier (I know, because they were on the pattern companies' "toss these" lists when I was working at Fabricland in '94) is a bit like going on an archeological dig. I could create an authentic hippie outfit completely from materials that could be purchased--well, if not exactly new, then fresh from the bolt. I could buy a brand-new pattern to make an outfit that was the height of fashion in 1989. Or I could make my kid pajamas from flannel covered with licensed "Star Wars--The Force Awakens" graphics.

This kind of treasure hunt reveals some lovely surprises at times. And at others, you walk away slightly dissatisfied over the wasted time and with nothing but the cloying pungent odour of slow decay to show for it.

Button bags - full of treasures, plain and elaborate. And sometimes just plain ugly.

There are a couple of other places to buy fabric locally (mostly quilting fabric), but none with the variety of selection, and none that are dedicated "fabric stores" closer than a 2-hour drive away. So this store continues to receive it's regular clientele, those brave enough (or naive enough) to boldly dive into it's depths. Reactions are varied.

So much like life. Every day is something new. It could be an adventure. It could leave a stench clinging. Or it could reveal unknown treasures. But you have to be willing to get out of bed every morning and plunge through the door into the unknown anyway. Because treasures will not be revealed unless you're willing to deal with a little unpleasantness in the atmosphere. Reactions may vary.

So, despite a less than stellar day, week, month, and year, I keep getting out of bed. I get dressed, ignoring the extra padding that I have allowed grief to add to my silhouette. I tackle The List and try to be thankful for the things that I complete instead of lamenting the things that I don't. I mark grieving anniversaries with sorrow (9 months today), but try to continue to function for those that still rely on me. My reactions are varied.

Today, I was grumpy, but I'm feeling a little better now. Maybe I'll find a treasure hiding in this day before the end of it, after all. Maybe this realization is my treasure for the day.

May you find hidden treasure today, too, friend. Keep an eye out for it, and you might be surprised at where it turns up.