Today was so full of things that it is hard to recognize the morning now that it is evening. We started the day with a trip to the doctors and punctuated it with errands, baking bread for friends, putting together a dog potty and fussing with my ball gown. Somewhere in there I struggled to understand the difference between white and red oak for the 1100 square feet of 3 1/4 unfinished oak flooring we need for the new house.
One of the strange but interesting things that has come from living a new life in a new place while we try to reconstruct our old life that was burned by the fire is that we do things we would never have done had we not been pushed into this situation.
I would have had bowls to make bread in but I would not have had a ball gown.
This evening, after putting away the cares of the day I spent time thinking about our upcoming cruise and how to pack efficiently. This will be our fourth cruise and I don’t think I have hit my stride in what is too little and what it too much. I hate to drag a bunch of luggage around if for no other reason than it makes you look stupid. Thankfully we don’t have a little fluff dog in a rhinestone collar standing on top of the luggage cart surveying her terrain looking for more shoes, dresses and dog biscuits.
I was never a girly girl although we did not have that term when I was coming along. I was not a tom boy. I was just too busy to notice much of either. As a young woman I held multiple jobs that were rarely held by women. I did not think about that much because I was too busy to pay attention to the gossip about it. Now,as I grow older, I notice. I notice even more because of the fire.
Since there is nothing, everything is worthy of notice. There are no windows in our house so all windows are interesting.There are no walls to put the windows in so they too are interesting. Dish towels are interesting, toilet paper is interesting, dirty clothes are interesting, caked on mud is interesting, everything is interesting. With almost no clothes in the closet, all clothes were interesting. I realized one day that there was no rule that said you had to invest in only practical clothes when your clothes burned. You could have frivolous too.
Frivolity is new to me. I found it in the ashes of the fire. I used to think it was like the little fluff dog, not worthy of my attention. I was wrong. Frivolity, and probably the fluff dog, is useful.
The fire brings out seriousness. It is serious business and it is seriously hard to deal with from an emotional and a functional level. I am not talking about the initial shock or the early days. I am talking about what could almost be thought of as the business case for residential fire. It is hard business and recovery is just that, business. We have to make decisions worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars at the drop of a hat. We negotiate with our mortgage holders, the building inspector, the contractor and on it goes. We face serious decisions that we have to make in hours or days that without the fire we would have taken months or even years to make. Certainly we would not have tried to make several of those decisions at one time.
So, frivolity is good. It is the antonym to what defines our lives: gravity, seriousness, soberness, solemnity. Frivolity is kin with flightiness, levity, light-mindedness, lightness, and silliness. Frivolity is an an antidote to the daily business of recovering from a fire.
So tonight, after the doctor was seen, the groceries were put up, the bread baked, the dog potty constructed, the dinner served, the dog walked, the evening housekeeping chores accomplished, and the email cleaned up, I was frivolous. I spent time trying to decide how to pack a ball gown. If you have a ball gown you must have the trimmings. It takes more than a pat of powder and swath of lipstick to do a ball gown justice. I spent frivolous time trying to figure out what make-up I had that was appropriate for the frivolity of wearing a ball gown. I thought about how to wear my hair. I checked on my dress to make sure it was still there and it was still a ball gown, albeit a tailored one. I looked at the picture on ebay of my satin shoes that should be here soon that cost a frivolous $20. I stood in the closet and pondered how to pack light with a ball gown.
I decided that I would be frivolous and just take more stuff. I won’t get a fluff dog to ride on top like a figure head on a ship but I will take my hot-pink patent leather makeup box that was a frivolous gift soon after the fire. It was intended to make me feel light-minded and it did. It will go into a suit case with my ball gown and my satin shoes and I will spin out the frivolity of that evening in my ball gown for the antidote of the coming months of seriousness in my fire-recovery life.