It's Friday and much to my delight, it feels like fall. I love fall. (Please note that I very much want to capitalize "fall." I think this season deserves it. But per trusty Mr. Wiki, seasons should only be capitalized when they are paired with another word such as "Fall wardrobe.") Anyway, I adore this season. It's my absolute favorite. I love the crisp air and the leather jackets and the pumpkins (candy and real). I love the leaves. I love how they change and then when they're ready, they fall.
Fall or no, it's Friday and that means I owe you an update on the Happy Headache (a.k.a. the untimely-given-this-recession gut reno of our new place). For various uninteresting reasons, I have missed the past several construction meetings. So when I waltzed into yesterday's meeting (sans Starbucks mind you), I felt a bit out of the proverbial loop. I was late and the meeting was already in progress. Very quickly, this meeting felt different. There was a palpable lack of energy and it occurred to me that maybe I wasn't the only one who missed her morning jolt. Eye contact was scarce and questions were asked about architectural drawings and invoices and schedules. And these questions floated about the raw space. There was a lot of "I'll look into that," "We'll get that to you soon," "We will follow up with that." The only concrete thing I learned in this meeting was that the German factory which housed all of our future master bathroom fixtures burned down. Cheerio.
I sat there internally debating whether I was projecting my own lethargy onto others, whether I was seeing things through my own hazy lens. And then I spoke up. Ever diplomatically, I said, "Is this level of uncertainty customary at this point in the project?" A chorus of lackluster nods. And then our site manager, a wonderful and talented man, looked me straight in the eye and said three words. Three simple words that would probably not satisfy 99% of clients. But these three words struck something in me. Because they apply to everything, not just sluggish stages of construction.
Those three words: Things come up.
Hardly revolutionary. Vexingly vague. And yet genius. This is what makes life interesting and frustrating and utterly impossible to lasso and pin down. This is what makes control a fiction. We cannot control things because things change. Constantly. In ways we could never predict. Contingency abounds. Uncertainty reigns supreme. Things come up.
Suddenly, I'm thankful for my bizarrely philosophical way of looking at the world. I could be sitting here getting wrinkles about the perceived lull in our home renovation. But instead I am seeing that lull as prime evidence of the way the world works and the way it doesn't. I might be singing a different tune this spring (poor tiny s) if things still appear to be stalled, but for now I'm feeling surprisingly forgiving about the ebbs and flows of progress.
Things come up.
I realized the truth of these words just this morning. Toddler and I ran to the corner to catch the bus to Preschool. The bus pulled up. Toddler beamed. She loves the bus. In her fringe boots and Diego Rescue back and tiny leather jacket, she was an itty-bitty portrait of cool. Of Fall freshness. We waited our turn and climbed the steps on to the bus. I clutched her hand and slid my Metrocard into the slot. She wrestled aggressively with the little pocket on her bag. There were people behind us and I urged her forward. But she resisted me with all her tiny might. I picked her up and carried her to a seat. And, with this, her darling face crumpled. The tears fell hard and fast.
Confused, I cuddled her. She calmed down enough to explain. She opened that small pocket and pulled out one of Husband's business cards. She held it up to me. "Mommy, you didn't let me use my card! I want to stick my card in too." I started to explain the difference between our cards, but then stopped. I told her she could use her card next time, that everything would be okay. And my little creature nuzzled her nose into my chest for the duration of the ride. The ride I foolishly assumed would be smooth.
But life and construction projects and bus rides are never perfectly smooth. And we shouldn't expect them to be.
Things come up.
Off to (1) take Baby to gym class; (2) have an early birthday lunch with Mom and C; (3) sniff out a fierce Fall wardrobe (Flat boots! Ruffled cardigans! Riding pants! Fringe jackets!); (4) buy my big girl her very first Metrocard.
Thoughts on contingency? On the capitalization of seasons? On items I should seek out for my fabled Fall wardrobe?