Interruptions, Distractions, Basement Projects, and a Dog Named Lucy

So, I finished my MFA thesis in February. I will officially receive my diploma in May. I suddenly have all this time to write whatever I want to, read whatever I want to, and post on this blog as often as I want to. And guess what I’ve done with that time? Well, obviously, I have not posted on this blog… until now.

Instead, I’ve been organizing the house. I’ve been attempting lots of items on my to-do list (all the things I put off while I was in school). For instance, my husband and I are attempting a basement project: painting and putting down a new floor. It’s going slowly, very slowly. We’re on month four of trying to finish the painting. Don’t laugh. We’re new to this thing called home improvement, and honestly, we’re easily distracted. Here’s a picture of the “before” of the basement. It doesn’t look drastically different yet (but it does have paint on the walls!).


We pushed everything to the center of the basement for easy access to painting the walls.

I find that the basement project is just one of many projects in my life where I have the greatest of intentions to finish something or reach a new level of something or transform something in some way, but then reality sets in. Interruptions happen. Other things get my attention because my desire to paint is just not that strong. With the basement, I dream of a beautifully painted room with a lovely new floor when we’re done, but as I set about doing the work, I realize that I don’t actually know that much about painting and flooring. I’m too much of a perfectionist to even like the painting job when I do it. Did I miss a spot? Is the wall too lumpy? Did I splatter paint in the wrong place?

And the learning curve is steep (and embarrassing). For instance, I didn’t realize you had to clean the area before painting or tape around the areas you didn’t want to paint or stir the paint before you started (luckily, my husband knew all of that). And the floor? I have no idea where to even start. I’m learning, and I enjoy mastering things that I had no idea about when I started. But truthfully, I’m far better with words than with my hands. I’m far better at dreaming of what could be and then getting distracted by all the things that take me away from the basement project: climbing trips with my husband, dinners with friends, nights spent with my favorite TV-show characters, good books I didn’t read while I was reading other books for school, and the list could go on and on.

Side note: I’m sitting on my porch on a beautiful spring evening to type this post, and every few minutes, my adorable dog interrupts my train of thought to get me to throw her fetching toy. My lovable pup, Lucy, is a fetching machine, and I adore her. And not to draw too corny a comparison, but as I think about it, maybe Lucy is not really a side note at all. Maybe she’s the whole point of this post. Well, not her, specifically, but her interruptions. We have goals (finishing this blog post, for instance), but we keep getting interrupted or derailed (Lucy requesting me to throw her kong for her, for instance). I will get my blog post finished. Lucy will get the attention she desires, but it will happen at a different pace than I (or she) might prefer.

And that’s probably what will happen with the basement, too. And all of my other projects. If it’s important, it will get done. If I really want paint and a new floor in that basement, I will find a way to make it happen. But I may have to be patient with myself (and my husband) as we learn and get distracted and figure out how to reach our goals. After all, the distractions are sometimes really excellent, especially when they come as an adorable dog, bouncing around and tossing a red kong at you in anticipation.

Now if only I could teach Lucy to pick up a paint brush or put down a basement floor.


The lovely Lucy, holding her red kong in her mouth and waiting as patiently as possible for someone to throw it for her.



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