Thursday, September 18, 2008

At some point late last spring, an old photo spontaneously fell off the dining room wall. I was resting on the couch in the living room at the time, and I heard it just slide down behind a cabinet, snapping the glass on the baseboard as it hit. There was a still moment and an empty mark on the wall where it hung, begging for some kind of metaphor to reflect the times. And since it fell in a place out of sight, with no broken glass out in the open, I just left it for when I had time to do the repair and the rehanging. But there has been no time, and I've been gazing at that mark on the wall at every dinner, all season. And the metaphor grows.

Eventually, this happens:

I know.

(Here's the part where you go, "...but he has time for this?")

In my defense, I had all the tools already out and I was trying to get some woodworking done in the Little Ditchman's new room. Also, I've been cleaning out the garage one problem item at a time ever since the Big Garage Sale, and here I had my old photoboard and a big bag of corks and I thought, you know, if I just got around to making my corkboard and hanging it in the hallway upstairs, that's two more items I can get out of the garage! About an hour into it, I realized the error of my ways and knew I would be mocked accordingly, so I played defense by announcing early on to my wife that I had started a new project. I think she thought I was joking, but I was really bracing for the shock and eye-roll I was going to get later when she went out to the garage to do the laundry.

The real problem with my wine cork corkboard is that I don't drink enough wine! When we got married five or so years ago, I began to save the things. I wasn't sure why at the time, but I figured I'd come across a project. When I couldn't get the damn tacks into the oriented side board that I had used on the photowall, I began to look into some cork sheeting and discovered how rocking expensive the stuff is, so I figured it would be a nice display of all the wine we've enjoyed over the years (that is, uh, hidden behind the treasured family photos, of course.) I kept tossing the used corks into a grocery bag in the garage and, mind you, I was diligent about it. When the grocery bag was near full and the thing started to get heavy, (they're corks!) it was time. But look! Not enough corks! (And I refuse to buy "new" ones from World Market or Michael's or some such cheat zone.)

So... dammit. For the information of counsel, and in an effort to distract, there are over five hundred corks on the board currently. That's roughly two bottles of wine per week since we got married -so, yes, that's about right. The board is only halfway done. I need another 500 corks. Cost of the average bottle of wine (in this house): $11. That's $5500.00! So when this board is done, it will be worth over $10,000. Make me an offer on my half-finished corkboard and I may be willing to sell it to you for a couple grand (cheap!)

Pathetic? There are more pathetic things in my life, I assure you. I found myself overwhelmed last weekend. We were in the midst of a Home Show and the kid was taking a nap and I had 2 hours to get something done, but she was sleeping in the room that needed to be painted -so that was out- and all the parts I needed for home repair I hadn't purchased yet, and here I couldn't leave the house... But I was at home for once, surrounded by dead plants on the landscape and a garage steeped high in old aluminum. I felt burdened with unanswered emails, unreturned phone calls, unwashed laundry, a sink full of dishes, no plans for dinner -so I started gluing corks. There was no way I could screw it up! (Except that I didn't have enough corks.)

When I get loaded high with the demands of life, hard-pressed on all sides, knees shaky under the weight of serious responsibility, I do something totally distracting and creative. I go in a different direction. I exercise that tiny part of my brain that embraces "newness" and I consider it a godly act. It helps me slough off all that old, boring familiar sameness that I moil through from day to day (oh, the drudgery.) I may not finish the project right away, but I'll get back to it all and finish it some day, Mrs. Ditchman will vouch for me on that one, and anyway it's better than an empty, lifeless house, with nothing ventured, nothing gained, nothing bold, and nothing new. To me, well, that wouldn't be living at all. Creativity is God's most defining trait. In the beginning, God created... the Bible begins. It was breathed into all of us way back when and if we don't breathe deep, we enter into a sort of spiritual suffocation that we spend the rest of our lives trying to comprehend.

I'm not saying we all have to be Rembrandt. And if you don't think making wine-cork-photo-boards is creative, well, you don't know how I meticulously arranged the corks!

In the meantime, send me your corks. If you don't have any, well, I need about $5000 worth of wine. (Preferred.)