All Irons and No Fire

We’ve all heard the expression “All hat and no cattle.” It’s a great phrase. Every time I hear it, I think of Texas and picture a little man in a giant, Arby’s-style hat. The little man looks like Ross Perot–probably just because he’s small and from Texas, since I’m sure he could have plenty of cattle if he wanted them and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him in a hat.

That particular phrase means that someone is pretending to be something they aren’t (or at least I think it does; I’m guessing, being rather short on both hats and cattle myself). Or maybe just that someone’s rocking a touch too much swagger. Y’know, like when Adam Levine sings that he’s got the moves like Jagger (no rhyme intended).

My granny liked to tell me I kept too many irons in the fire. I was always running around from one place to the next, juggling choirs and theatre and church and friends and boys. I was a busy teenager, which is when I remember my granny dispensing most of her wisdom.

I was comparatively lazy in my twenties and early thirties. Well, as lazy as a law school student, philosophy grad, realtor, and mom can be. Lately, though, I’ve found myself juggling again. This time it’s choirs and work and church and friends and boys (in the form of a son and a husband and cub scouts). I’m loving every second of it, but I’m “wore plum out” (to borrow another Grannyism) much of the time.

But that isn’t what I wanted to write about. That’s the normal stuff. Every mom is eyeballs-deep in kids’ activities and dinner plans and laundry. And if they’re smart, they’ll balance that out with selfish, grown-up stuff like frequent coffee with friends and singing in a choir (or three).

No, the irons that I’m talking about–and the lack of a fire to heat them–are in the form of my gajillion-and-one unfinished home improvement and/or otherwise domestic projects. I’m like a junkie, and Lowe’s and Hobby Lobby are where I get my fix.

Rhyan and I are currently trying to get our house organized. Now, if you know us at all and have been to our house, you know what a gargantuan (and arguably laughable) task this is. We aren’t TLC-worthy hoarders, but we have entirely too much of everything and have a tendency to leave it all lying about willy-nilly.

I’ve read that the trick is to take one room at a time, but in addition to being disorganized and in possession of an obscene amount of stuff, I am also a furniture juggler. I like to move things around, and my vision of a perfectly organized house involves a furniture plan that requires the removal and replacement of at least one piece of furniture from every room in the house. Currently, toward this end, there is a mattress in the laundry room (and on the porch), a shelf and a small chest of drawers in the middle of my bedroom floor, a dresser in the bathroom, and a whole family of desks and side tables in various places awaiting their final destination.

In addition to all of this, I have a half-demolished vanity in my bathroom; built–in bookshelves in the living room that are currently lacking actual shelves (which have yet to be stained and cut, not to mention installed); kitchen cabinets in need of crown moulding; and a closet full of flooring that will be put down whenever we can get around to ripping out the carpet in the master bedroom. Oh, and I’m knitting hats and scarves for the holidays, and planning some new sewing projects, and writing two books.  You see, it’s the planning and beginning of projects that I love; the actual follow-through not so much (with the exception of the books–I’m proud to say I’ve actually finished one of those).

I think I’m considerably beyond having too many irons in the fire. I ran out of irons a long time ago and now I’m just shoving in whatever I can get my hands on (which I told my husband could be the solution to our organization woes). No wonder I’m tired all the time.

If my granny were still alive, she would probably just shake her head at me in hopeless bewilderment. Then she’d feed me some biscuits and sweet tea and we’d watch Wheel of Fortune.

I miss my granny.


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