It’s Okay Not to Care Sometimes

Wanda B. Victorian raised a good point in the comments of my last post; there are times when it’s okay not to give something your best shot. In fact, I encountered just such a situation the other night.

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This is Cthulhowl.

Pook’s great grandmother sent us a package containing, among other things, a 1 1/2 inch bell. There isn’t much Pook enjoys more right now than bells; it took a pretty concentrated effort from her daddy and I to pry it away from her. She has other toys with bells, of course, but this one had a particularly nice tone and she fell in love with it instantly.

Not wanting her to cut or choke herself, I decided to make a toy for her. I didn’t go into the project with any specific plan, I just grabbed things as it occurred to me to use them and put them together in more or less a toy shape. His wings are different sizes and he has an ugly red scar above his tail from where I sewed him shut, but you know what? Pook couldn’t care less. All she cares about is that it jingles when she shakes it and crinkles when she chews on it. All I care about, after her happiness, is that there aren’t any sharp bits that could hurt her and that it doesn’t fly apart under her less-than-gentle care.

I’m no superwoman; I won’t pretend that every task I face will or should be given my very best effort. What I’m trying to address before I pass it along to another generation is my (and my mother’s, and her mother’s) propensity for caring deeply about something and then doing little to nothing about it. So much panic and heartache comes of this way of life, and I’d like to spare my daughter that feeling.

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Distinguishing Imperfection from Half-Assery

I think I should probably clarify something before I get much further in this: there’s a difference between doing something imperfectly and doing something in a half-assed way.

Half-assery can look really good from a distance and is often characterised by the best of intentions. However, half-assery can generally be distinguished from imperfection by the amount of panic involved.

Making pizza for dinner is a useful example. There’s not a thing wrong with taking advantage of modern conveniences to get dinner on the table for your family: pre-made dough, sliced toppings, canned sauce, *all* of these are fine in the philosophy I’m attempting to embrace. In this context, half-assery would be deciding that you want to make the dough from scratch, then not doing anything until everyone is already hungry and frantically proofing the dough in the microwave while someone runs to the store for cheese. The pizza will probably look fine and be entirely edible, but the quality of the dough will suffer from not being able to develop properly.

In such a circumstance, I would have difficulty enjoying the meal; I would be frazzled from panicking and the sense that I could have done better would hover at the back of my mind. My guilt over sending someone to the store at the last second would flavor each bite, and I’m sure it would be on their mind as well.

I’m not sure I’ve completely identified what distinguishes a half-assed job from an imperfect job, but I do think the level of panic involved is an important factor. I suppose the lesson I should learn here is to know my limitations and to either work within them or to plan adequately so that they can be expanded or circumvented.

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Task Completed: Make An Apron

So I finished something! Isn’t it pretty?

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This isn’t my sister’s present, though work continues on that. This is a terribly inaccurate but very personally satisfying take on this 19th century apron completed as Challenge #0 of the Historical Sew Fortnightly at The Dreamstress.

I did most of the work during several of Pook’s naps; so long as I keep the speed on the machine fairly low and don’t stab myself too often, she seems to find the white noise of sewing soothing. Over all, it took me about three hours of actual work, but there was an agonizing stretch of four hours between when I got the first button on and when I finally had a chance to attach the second.

Three hours! I’ll admit I was slightly appalled at first that something simple took me so long. The thing is, I did it right; the seams are straight, the pockets are symmetrical and reinforced at the corners, and I pressed *everything*. I could have made a slapdash version in half the time, but this will last for years. Is it perfect? Not at all! Is it functional and a joy to wear? Absolutely. The sense of accomplishment when I tied it around my waist to make New Years’ Eve brinner was overwhelming.

Just the facts, Ma’am:

The Challenge: #0 – Starting Simple.

Fabric: 1 yard-ish cotton twill, $1.99.

Pattern: Eyeballed based on this.

Year: “19th century”.

Notions: Two buttons, $0.20/each, and thread. Also three plastic-headed pins died in the process.

How historically accurate is it? Er, more “historically inspired”.

Hours to complete: 3

First worn: I couldn’t even wait until I had the second button on.

Total cost: $2.50

I’m cautiously optimistic.

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Rocky Start

Day one got off to a pretty rocky start; I missed the bus and had to drag my long-suffering husband and remarkably-cheerful-first-thing-in-the-morning daughter out of bed to get me there on time. But! Progress has been made on my sister’s birthday present, and very soon I’ll be posting the first installment of my attempt at following the Historical Sew Fortnightly. I have no delusions that I’ll complete all 27 challenges, but if I can get 6 done I’ll be happy.

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Here we go!

I’m really, really good at half-assing things. As a matter of fact, I very strongly considered just posting “we’re here, more tomorrow”, but then that’s the point of this blog, isn’t it?

With this blog, I hope to document the process of growing from a chronic procrastinator– certainly a self-starter, but rarely a finisher– to someone who Gets Stuff Done. I’ll be figuring it out as I go along; I’m not currently reading, nor am I particularly interested in reading, any self-help books on the subject. “Stuff” in this context includes the everyday things I never seem to have time for until it’s a catastrophe (changing sheets, keeping the fridge stocked and rotated, etc.) as well as special projects that fizzled a third of the way through, leaving an even bigger mess than before. Cardboard boxes are going to be opened that haven’t seen the light of day in a decade: I might even Throw Things Away.

I won’t promise that this will be updated daily, or even weekly. What I will promise is to share small victories as I achieve them, whether that’s noticing and defeating a pattern of half-assitude or seeing a task through to completion. I promise to admit it when I fall short, which if history is any indication will be far more often than not. I also promise to occasionally post pictures of a phenomenally cute kid, the inspiration for this whole “do it now!” thing. (But only occasionally; this isn’t a baby blog, or even really a mom blog. I’m not sure right now what it is, except that it’s neither of those.)

Haha! Two solid paragraphs. Take that, urge-to-Wiki-the-history-of-pepper-instead-of-doing-anything-constructive!

I’m going to go work on my sister’s birthday present.

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