A lesson for today: Living, crafting and creating do not occur in a vacuum.
Intellectually, I've always known that — but there have been times when not having a clean enough work space has kept me from feeling inspired, and I know I'm not the only one who has that problem. But something must be different right now.
Today, I noticed the craft room smelled a little odd. Thinking about it, I realized it had the day before, too, but I had chalked it up to the changing smells that naturally invade rooms right by a kitchen, and by a bathroom that serves both humans and kitties. Some rather unappealing smells occasionally seep into the room, but even the strongest usually go away after a day or two, and they don't stick to my crafting things, so I don't worry about it too much. So I left the door open to air out the room.
Later, I noticed a little damp spot on the knee of my pants. I'd climbed on the kitchen counter earlier to get a bowl from a top shelf ... but the counter wasn't wet. I'd also knelt on the floor of the craft room earlier to take a photo of some new spinning batts. And yes, indeed. The craft room carpet was damp. Had the cats gotten in? No; the room smelled odd, but it would have been more obvious if the kitties had left me a note.
Then I remembered that the bath tub has a leak. Two days ago, the boyfriend had thought it was only leaking into the area between the tub and the wall, but I'd noticed it leaking out the side of the tub.
And the bath tub is on the other side of the craft room closet.
...And yes, indeed. The craft room carpet was damp all the way from the closet to the front of the sewing table.
Now, this isn't the newest condo. It's had problems before. We're currently borrowing someone's backup air conditioning floor unit because our central air stopped cooling anything in October, and while it was repairable as of then, supposedly it won't be for much longer because the parts are getting hard to find. Since we don't have several thousand dollars to replace both the inside and the outside unit, we were air-conditioning-less until B's father rescued us with his borrowed floor unit. (For reference, this is all happening in the amazingly humid and hot land of Florida, home of happy mold spores and ants that ignore traps.)
Another example: Last year, the closet shelves tried to fall on me one morning before work because the upstairs condo had a leaky bath tub. Their leak meant our drywall had gotten not so dry, and when that happens, drywall screws don't like to continue supporting heavy shelving. So we ripped out and replaced the drywall in the closet AND the bathroom and, in fact, we still need to re-tile that shower.
So. This condo has had its share of quirks. Another one isn't unexpected. But at times, fixing this sort of quirk has absorbed all my creative energy, leaving me wholly focused on cleaning up at the expense of creating.
This time, though, I checked to make sure nothing was visibly falling down, cracked the closet door to make sure the humidity could escape, made a mental note not to take any more baths until we fix the leak, and continued thinking about spinning yarn. I even took a photograph of some batts I've had stashed for a while, that I was considering resurrecting:
And even though there were five (@#$*!) ants in the kitchen today, after several (extremely welcome) weeks without any, I didn't get discouraged. I just moved one of the magical liquid ant baits that we discovered the ants don't ignore, and went back to putting together the EtsyFEST catalog index.
This seems to part of my brain to verge perilously on apathy about running a shoddy ship, but on reflection, it's a relief not to feel like I need a sterile environment in order to create. Because really, there's no such thing as an utterly sterile living environment. (Some people's houses come off as sterile, but that's a different monster.) There will always be crumbs. There will always be bugs. There will always be dust. I can live in denial about it, and freak out when I get proved wrong ... or I can remember that I'm part of a larger ecosystem, and that nothing I buy, no matter how tightly sealed its plastic wrapping, was created, inspected and delivered by spotless, germ-free robots directly to the point where I encountered and acquired it.
Things are dirty. Things are germy. Things will get dirty. Things will need cleaning.
And the aim isn't to fixate on completely avoiding the dirt. The aim is to minimize the negative impact of life-generated dirt on creating beautiful things — including memories — and to be able to efficiently clean up a mess when it inevitably happens, without letting it keep me from doing things that make me happy.
In celebration of living with and through the mess, I present this lovely photodump of things I have created, and things I have bought from other creative people, since my last blog post here. Ta-da!