This evening, the three-year-old, who has been acting extremely three lately, swung on the curtains in a fit of exuberance (wound up by the next two siblings up) and pulled the rod right out of the wall.
The story of the living room curtains is a years-long saga of waiting to afford the right thing to fit the old house, and having a rod custom-bent to fit the bay, and having a real curtain shop sew up the curtains to spec to fit our non-standard windows above the non-standard radiator. So you can imagine Mother's dismay at seeing a very large angled iron curtain rod on the floor in a pool of brocade fabric, and you can imagine that three children were spanked and put to bed at a very early hour. The two older ones, 8 and 6, were quite sobered and understood the justice of the situation; the three-year-old wailed in shock and had to be tucked into the crib which still takes up a corner of the parental bedroom.
|Beautiful curtains, with bonus shot of beautiful daughter as Sybil Trelawney. If you never put an end table on the radiator to hold a box fan, well, then, you don't live in an old house, is all.|
We had to stand in the living room and ponder a bit after the dust settled upstairs (after replacing light bulbs, since only one of the three bulbs we can use in the old five-socket fixture was working). The original screwholes for the brackets were stripped and unusable, but there's only so much room to put up the rod without it bumping the bay ceiling or having the curtains hang too close to the radiator. But when we took a closer look at the situation, it wasn't hopeless. Despite having wondered why we'd spent money on curtainy things while the kids were still young, it turns out that an iron rod doesn't warp out of shape, pricey custom sewing and heavy fabric pays off in strong seams that don't rip, and old plaster and lath doesn't crumble to pieces like drywall. Darwin measured and moved each bracket up an inch, while I went upstairs and read to the penitent children in their bedroom. The three-year-old had conked out and lay snoozing beatifically in his crib, snuggled with a teddy bear and a stuffed duck. The two big girls who were home, faultless in this situation, nevertheless started in on doing the dishes without being asked because they knew the parental units were frazzled. Their pleasant chatter reached me upstairs, and it was good.
Not long afterwards, I had to bring home the 13yo from ballet. She had to hear the the story and exclaim over the whole business, but her mind was elsewhere. Lately she's been thinking about career and college options, and she's decided that she'd like to get cosmetology training before going for a degree in something theatrical (see photo of Sibyl Trelawney, above), with an emphasis on acting, singing, costume design, and makeup. (She wants to make money in college and for college by cutting and styling hair.) An older girl in her ballet class had been telling her about the vocational arm of the local high school, which offers a cosmetology track for juniors and seniors. At home, we all squeezed on the couch and looked at the website for the career center and read the cosmetology description, but then she was off to finish making costume pieces for the drama club's show. It's crunch time, see, since the play is three weeks off. I heard the sewing machine whirring upstairs, and then giggling in the kitchen, and three silly sisters came in to display a Carmen Miranda hat loaded with fake fruit, and two Civil War caps. The curtains were drawn, and the children snug upstairs in their beds, and Darwin was sitting down to start work on his novel earlier than he does most nights. And baby, not one to miss his piece of the action, gave me a few swift kicks. Curtains, children, husband, baby, house, happiness: all nice things, if we can keep them.