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Fiction Friendship Funny

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

My one and only New Year's resolution was to clear out the guest room and turn it into a space for me. A studio to write, paint, and craft in.  It would also serve as a place to gather my recently-feral wits.

 I began early morning on New Year's Day, and it went well at first, as these things usually do. The room is small, 8'x10', with a chest of drawers, a bedside table, a floor lamp, and a wing-backed chair. The chair is also laundry limbo. I'm sure most of us have one; a laundry pile that isn't dirty enough to wash because you only wore it once and might be worn one more time before washing, but not clean enough to put back in the drawers or closet with the truly clean items. The chair and pile was the most challenging part, and ended up at the foot of our bed. So Himself had to squeeze past it to get in and back out again.

Everything was out, with just me and a book on the trundle bed for one whole week. There was no clutter, no other furniture with stuff on it, no piles of books, chair-clothes. It was Heaven.

Then the washer died after thirty years of loyal service, and the broken-hearted dryer soon after. These two resided in our basement, and the stairs were becoming a problem as my knees and hips began to wear out as well. Himself and I decided to replace them. (The washer/dryer, not the knees just yet) 

I felt like a stranger in a strange land at the appliance store. All of our previous appliances were hand-me-downs or purchased decades before. Then, (cue angelic music) I saw a stacking washer/dryer set, and I thought how great it would be to put one upstairs! Would they fit into the hall closet? We compared measurements and the stack fit!

I was thrilled to be able to just cross the hall and toss in a load of laundry! However, this meant I had to find a place for the extra pillows, blankets, sheets, towels, comforters, and whatever else had drifted into the hall closet over the years. So, yep, you guessed it. The new Studio closet, filled with paint, craft supplies, and projects I'd gathered from all over the house, had to go somewhere else to make space for all the linens.

I had way more linens than the average person needed because our daughter, husband, and five children lived out of state. However, they visited us for two weeks every summer. So I kept a plethora of extra pillows, towels, sheets, and air mattresses, and Lord knows what else for them. But the grandkids grew older and played baseball, soccer, tennis, and other activities that took over their lives. There was never a week that all of them had free at the same time. So those visits ended.

 I know that a normal person would have gotten rid of the extra six pillows, twelve sheets, twenty-four pillowcases, fourteen towels, etc. But they were used just a few times, at most. And what if they all were able to visit again? So, I kept it all. My Studio closet was now nearly exploding with the stuff.

The carpeting in that room goes back to the Clinton administration, so I purchased a lovely bohemian wool rug to cover it. But, of course, paint and glue, and crafting would ruin this expensive beauty, so I rolled it up and leaned it in the corner of the room. The roll was much larger than I'd imagined, so there went about a few square feet of space.

But I still had the roomy open area, so I settled for a large metal shelving unit for my paint, craft supplies, and projects, and, of course, that took up more of the room. Still, It was finally starting to look like a studio.

Then, my best friend Shirley called and needed a place to stay for a short time. Her landlord sold her home out from under her, and I couldn't refuse her since I did have a spare room. She also had a cat named Peetee. I should have seen that one coming. I unrolled the rug and made a space for Peetee's litter box next to the shelving unit.

Now my so-called Studio had a closet full of linens, a trundle bed, a shelving unit where I relocated the paint, crafts, and projects, and a litter box. My dream was again pushed into the future.

Shirley arrived with several suitcases, a small bedside table, an antique floor lamp, and Peetee. I again moved the paint, crafts, and projects into the basement, and Shirey used the shelves for her stuff.  Peetee loved sitting on the edge of the top shelf, then jumping at the window when birds landed on the branches outside. I can't tell you how many heart attacks that sound nearly gave me. 'Launch, thud, YEOWWL!!!" repeat. We rearranged the room and to save Peetee, the window, and the birds but made it nigh impossible to get in and out of.

It was nearly August, but I still had plenty of time to fulfill my resolution.  

We learned that Peetee was a female when she gave birth to six kittens in the middle of the trundle bed. I rolled up the rug again. Kittens are adorable but prone to activities that are not good for wool rugs. But now we had to put the rolled-up carpet in our room.

Shirley, Peetee, and the kittens (which would make a great band name) moved out just in time to save our friendship. My room was mine again. I moved my paint, craft supplies, and projects back upstairs, put it all on the shelving unit, and returned the rolled rug to its corner.  I had to move the wing-backed chair back in because Himself kept stubbing his toe, and other body parts, on it.

It was November when I realized how little time I had left to fulfill my resolution. I bought some plastic bins and put the clothing overflow into one, but it had to stay in my Studio if I wanted our bedroom to be safe and livable. So the Studio was again mine, just not as I'd first imagined.

Our daughter called in early December and said how nice it would be if we had a family gathering for Christmas, as all seven of them had that week free. Would we like them to visit?

At eleven-thirty on New Year's Eve, I sat in the room that never made it as a studio but had loads of great memories. And there is always next year.

January 04, 2023 07:05

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16 comments

Helen A Smith
14:49 Jan 13, 2023

Unfortunately, I can totally relate to the laundry situation and keeping things on piles that ought to be put away neatly. It’s funny how we hold on to thing just in case…. The in case rarely seems to happen. In an ideal life, I’d buy new linen every week. At least with all her children and grandchildren, the MC had more of an excuse. There’s such a great feel to this story. It was original and I enjoyed reading it.

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16:36 Jan 13, 2023

I've been fighting 'the pile' for years - one of these days I'll just take it all to a thrift shop without look at any of it! Thank you so much for your feedback - I'm kind of new here so truly appreciate your feedback and kind words.

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Helen A Smith
17:59 Jan 13, 2023

It sounds like a plan!! I’ve been on holiday this week and only slightly reduced the ‘pile.’ I have replaced a shower curtain and done a bit of cleaning. If you’re interested in reading about a charity shop (thrift shop), you might like to give a couple of my stories a read. “There’s always Monopoly” and “Never Say Never.”

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Mary Lehnert
16:09 Jan 09, 2023

You are a Good Samaritan with a good sense of humor. Loved the carpet that went back to Clinton era. Light, funny and rings true. A perfect short story recipe, Shirley. Well done.

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17:54 Jan 09, 2023

Thank you so much! It's mostly true . . . Himself is putting up shelf brackets as I type this. I started this project about three years ago! I'm so happy you enjoyed it.

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Lily Finch
21:53 Jan 08, 2023

Such a uniquely written story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was nice and all-American. Well done. I noticed one suggestion. about a few square - maybe remove about in this sentence? Thanks for the read. LF6

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Viga Boland
17:26 Jan 07, 2023

I’m green with envy: my long-term writing goal was to become the next Erma Bombeck. Instead, I wrote a chilling memoir. I’m still trying to find my funny bones. I know they’re in there somewhere. And then you write something like this. I’m inspired and deflated all at once 😂 Just kidding! love your humor, ERMA! 🤪👌

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19:06 Jan 07, 2023

Thank you so much! This story was inspired by Shirley Jackson (Haunting of Hill House) who also wrote 2 books about her family life - and they're funny. LOVE Erma - and she inspires me too - need to find some of her books (around here). All my other stories here aren't funny at all - I have to be in the 'mood'. I'm So happy that you like this! xo

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Viga Boland
22:19 Jan 07, 2023

Sure did! Looking forward to reading more of your humorous pieces. One of the hardest genres to write well. 🤭

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00:43 Jan 08, 2023

Thank you!

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AnneMarie Miles
21:42 Jan 05, 2023

This is so relatable, Patricia! And what an ambitious new year's resolution! A whole room to yourself? And for creative outlet! Ugh, what a dream! I appreciated the comedic one-liners and how you weaved them in like it was nothing: how they found out Peetee was female, how Shirley moved out just in time to save their friendship. Really smooth read that made me smile. :) Happy New Year!

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21:57 Jan 05, 2023

Thank you so much! I was afraid it was too goofy. xo

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Delbert Griffith
13:06 Jan 05, 2023

Funny and heartwarming at the same time, Patricia. Laura Ingalls Wilder would love your stories! Nicely done.

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15:37 Jan 05, 2023

Thank you so much! It was inspired by a Shirley Jackson piece. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote humor? Didn't know that!

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Wendy Kaminski
02:46 Jan 05, 2023

This was really cute, Patricia! I laughed myself silly at "'Launch, thud, YEOWWL!!!" repeat." Fun story, thanks for sharing it!

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15:38 Jan 05, 2023

Thank you! So glad you got a laugh. xo

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