"Stop runnin' 'round like a chicken with its head chopped off!" -- Gammy
I can't tell you how many times I heard this admonishment from my grandmother. It was one of her favorites. Gammy had a knack for making everything seem effortless. I, on the other hand, am the master of stressing out.
This past week has forced me to reconsider my goals, aspirations, and approach to life in general. Heavy rains taxed Chicago's ancient sewer system causing backup in homes across the city. Last Saturday I woke up to nearly 2 inches of sewage across half of my basement. One room had to be fully gutted due to extensive mold growth. Other walls simply look like swiss cheese with big slashes of wet, stinky drywall removed. I'm lucky. The insurance company didn't quibble. The adjuster took a look, measured the damage and wrote a check on the spot.
As I began cleaning, Gammy's words haunted me. She's right. When calamity hits, there is no point in letting it get to you. I was overwhelmed by the sheer work involved in cleaning up such a mess and until the adjuster arrived, I was worried as to how I'd pay for the repairs, but basically, I stayed calm and just got on with it.
The mess has also made me appreciate my own sense of caution. I've carried some sort of home insurance policy since I was a teenager renting my first apartment. As my work developed and sold, I added a marine policy to cover my art and equipment. It seemed like overkill, especially during times of leaner finances, but I am so glad I kept on paying. My marine policy will cover any and all damage to my art and equipment, as well as pay for me to rent a temporary studio given that I work out of my home.
I took a look at a few studios this week, but for now I'm staying put, working around the piles of this and that throughout the house. I don't want to take the time to move during a period of heavy studio production as I prepare for the fall art fairs. I now work in the dining room, living room, front porch and backyard - anywhere I can sit and feel a cool breeze. For years I've desired a studio above ground with lots of natural light, but the mess in my basement has given me a renewed appreciation for what I have.
I keep thinking of those dealing with the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico or still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and know that my little mess is just that - little. In the grand scheme of things, it's a blip of inconvenience. Instead of fussing and stressing, I'm sitting back, knitting and watching the cucumber vine take over my yard.