Rendered Fat Content


Abraham Mignon: The Overturned Bouquet (1660-79)
Reputed to be Mignon's worst painting.

" … seeing through and not just looking."

HomeMakers possess the oddest ability to see through certain imperfections in their home. Perhaps this results from a certain love blindness, the sort that automatically excuses a grandchild's unfortunate nose or a favorite movie star's indiscretions. We see right through some faults. When we first moved into this would-be home, both the basement stairs and the half bath and hallway off the kitchen were painted in the most awful electrocuted green color with garnish green striped wallpaper highlighting. While we were moving in, that same day, I removed that wallpaper and painted over (two coats) that offense to my senses in the hallway and half bath. The basement stairway, decorated the same, remained unchanged for twenty years. Yesterday, in under two hours, I removed every miserable shred of that wallpaper and purchased the paint to cover the electrocuted green wall color. While ridding this world of that abomination, I was moved to wonder how it was that I managed to cohabitate for two decades with what I could not tolerate even until the end of the first day living here? Explaining this as a form of blindness makes sense. Its presence had apparently not been registering all those years.

I seem terribly skilled at pulling wool over my own eyes.
The Muse and I returned to this house committed to remodeling huge swaths of the place. When we first stepped inside, I felt embarrassed that we'd expected our renters to put up with so many imperfections. After three months waiting for our remodelers to appear, I no longer notice those glaring shortcomings, and most remain. I have to really stop and focus to see them now. Familiarity only sometimes breeds contempt. It often breeds an odd acceptance. What once seemed an obsession to fix turned into something more akin to acquiescence after a remarkably brief exposure. Homes'll do that to ya.

Wiser people than I counsel people to engage with a beginner's mind. The beginner's mind might well be blind to much of what experience might later teach, but it might be at least less susceptible to the Flimability blindness I speak of here. On some other hand, though, I consider this blindness a blessing in wolf's clothing, for it serves to sooth what might otherwise be a troubled spirit. If I were to attempt to hold all of this place's shortcomings in my consciousness, it or I would likely explode. I dare not remain conscious of the queue of inevitable projects that comprise my future here without abandoning my present. The few projects I'm currently attempting come close enough to overwhelming me. So I most days do not even see the yellowing caulking in the upstairs bathroom, though I'm certain that if I don't get around to cleaning up that mess, our future houseguests will notice immediately upon entering and quietly wonder whatever happened to the tidy old Amy and David who would never have tolerated that sort of mess for long. We've been unconscious and blind. Who could blame us?

It seems a miracle whenever the effort to eliminate some old eyesore actually succeeds. That part of the brain that so reliably refused to see what had formerly been a seemingly permanent abomination can finally take a vacation. No need to cloak that blemish anymore. The Muse has taken to hiring design consultants in recent years, perhaps partially in recognition of all neither of us can actually see anymore, much less imagine different. Often, I seem to hold the conviction that any long-standing shortcoming will require Herculean effort to fix, though this has not always been the case. The hardest part of removing that abominable wallpaper was just seeing it, not in the first place but after ten thousand missed opportunities to actually see it. One moment finally broke the trance and that wallpaper quickly surrendered. Somebody once suggested that you can see a lot by looking. I think they were suggesting seeing through and not just looking.


Fridays come and I catch myself praying for a certain blindness to visit. The week past, as usual, featured a certain volume of imperfections. Friday comes to relinquish them into the realm of bygones, hardly worth mentioning, incapable of haunting. Regrets, too, appear exclusively by omission. Friday wonders what next. This week saw the end of my SettlingInto Series and the beginning of my new HomeMaking one. We'll have to see what happens with this new one. This was also the week that I came out as a Quitter, though I half expect The Muse to quit me and my recent irritability before I conquer my unmentionable habit. Maybe Friday comes to insist that we all just get over it and move on into whatever's next.

I began my writing week's routine by writing about
Routining, finally noticing what SettlingInto entails. "The cats show up when it's meal time, suggestively licking their lips when I forget to call them to table."

I next chose to disclose the undisclosable, to spill the big secret that I am a quitter in
Quitting. "Let us not speak of these things again for they are no longer of any consequence."

I finished my SettlingInto Series by considering the fine and largely under-appreciated art of
SettlingUpon. "If it feels as though I live a life of little consequence, that feeling might simply be the resonance of my not treating the trivial with adequate respect. Everything matters unless it doesn't."

I began my HomeMaking Series not with a fresh start but a stale one with
StaleStart. "When I feel too much trapped in time, I find it helpful to be reminded that I'm constantly engaging with the eternal, the various forms of HomeWork, forever unfinished, insisting that I encounter infinity again and again, from StaleStarts to unfinished endings, delight, its deeper purpose."

I then commenced to
CanningWorms. "We're never through and we leave behind messes and we start new stuff before finishing the last, CanningWorms definitely never was a continuous process, merely a continual one."

What week could be complete without experiencing a computer problem? Mine this week reminded me of a terribly useful term,
BitRot. "It demands patience precisely when frustration might be peaking. It benefits from a light heart, even when the heart seems to be sinking."

I ended this writing week by introducing myself as more
Denizen than citizen. "A Denizen does what his heart insists. He gravitates toward hours and places that seem somehow special to him, as if made for him. He resonates with them. They're his."

Peering through all the no longer obvious surface imperfections, the week seems more perfect than it even intended itself to seem. For me, it seemed dreamlike, with my Quitting meds taking me out of my head for lengthy periods. I'm Quitting the Quitting medication now. I wonder what I'll try Quitting after that. May we all be blind to our surface imperfections until we're ready to deal with them. May next week see an improvement over last! Thanks for following along through SettlingInto Stories and into HomeMaking ones. May these new babies prove worthy of our attention and not just eminently see-throughable.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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