Monday, March 30, 2009

easing the spring

I have slept for twelve hours solid, which feels like money in the bank, and we have moved into spring, which feels like release. It has been an accursedly hard winter, M.E.-wise and I am looking forward to a “good spell”. Never mind if I don’t get it, the looking forward feels good enough, and today – well, right at this moment, I am feeling ok.

We have recently bought two things. One is useless and the other is ugly. The useless thing is very good-looking and the ugly thing is very useful. The Signs household does not make hasty or unnecessary acquisitions, not so much because we couldn’t afford to (I mean we live modestly though not exactly on a shoestring) but mainly because we seriously cannot be bothered, I don’t have the strength for it and Mr. Signs doesn’t have the time, and it’s fine because we have more or less what we need; apart from a decent vegetable rack that has space for vegetables and doesn’t keep falling apart, but such a thing no longer seems to exist, it doesn’t materially affect our lives at a deep level and my intermittent bursts of “oh fuck, the sodding vegetable rack has collapsed again” is just part of the rhythm of life here.

The laptop tray thing seemed a perfect solution to days when I need to spend more time in bed than out but would like to do some word work – it is adjustable, has space for the mouse and is a lovely bit of wood, nicely finished and pleasing to the eye. The problem is that it has been treated with some kind of varnish or polyurethane stuff that makes me feel ill after five minutes. After ten minutes my mouth goes dry and my head begins to bang and after fifteen minutes I feel like throwing up. We have left it to air in the garden shed but it is still too toxic for me to go near. A completely desirable thing that says touch me not. We have tried ringing the manufacturers to see if it can be exchanged for an untreated one but they don’t return our calls. We also acquired an anglepoise-style lamp because the trusty white one that has been with us ever since I can remember has finally given up the ghost. The replacement, from Argos (costing less than £10), is made of grey plastic and a deeply unattractive metal they call silver but it looks like a wet day in January and makes your heart sink just to look at it. It works, though – does the job. So here it is likely to stay because the alternative is shopping around.

Our cherry tree has been cut down to allow our neighbour’s vegetable patch the light it needs. I took some of the blossoming branches and put them in a vase. I have never before put my face to the blossoms and really taken in the scent of them. It was as though they were singing the swan song, giving up the ghost of themselves. It reminded me of when I tasted the fruit, when I had the chance, before the deer got there first. A sense of something offered, sacrificed, essence of cherry tree, a communication (it felt so personal) that touched me to the core. I am grateful.


Digitalesse said...

Hey, Signs, there is nothing quite as good as a decent night's sleep to repair the body, is there? Let's hope that you are going into an episode of sleeping well and that it does indeed build up some 'interest in the bank'.

Commiserations about your laptop tray, especially as it was something that could potentially make a difference to your quality of life.

Only last night I was looking at a lamp in my living room thinking it looks so bland and boring, and how much I wanted one of those lamps that look like unruly metal flowers. Argos do some lamps in that style but I am certain that they will look cheap and nasty unlike the gorgeous (and expensive) ones I saw in John Lewis. Out of my price rang, so I'm sticking with bland. I have a couple of Ikea anglepoise lamps and they are pretty good. (You can order online from Ikea now, BTW.)

Reading the Signs said...

Digi, I will investigate the IKEA online stuff as I think this lamp is too ugly to live with.

Decent night's sleep is the best - I so wish I could rely on it.

Kahless said...

Cannot Mr Signs sand down the laptop tray???

Reading the Signs said...

Would that do the trick, Kahless? I'd be worried in case the toxic stuff had got right into the wood - and then we definitely wouldn't be able to change it.

willow said...

Boy, do I understand about the health benefits of a good night's sleep! So sorry about your cherry tree, Signs. I can relate to your problems with the laptop tray. We need to have carpets removed in bedrooms where wooden floors need to be sanded and varnished - an allergy and chemical exposure nightmare. Also need to get rid of molds. Yikes. One step at a time.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Signs

I've used an old fashioned breakfast tray table for my laptop as long as I've had one. My preferred working position is lying down in bed or on the sunlounger.

I'm so sorry you had to lose your cherry tree but very glad you got to savour the blossoms so poignantly.



Reading the Signs said...

Hi Willow - I don't usually react this badly - or perhaps I do, but it doesn't manifest so immediately.

Pants?, it was your breakfast tray table that gave me the idea. I've just been back to look at the photo and yes, it has legs. I should have got one like that, but the adjustable top seemed like (and is) such a good idea.

Kahless said...

If you cant change it, sand it down and then oil it with maybe danish oil?

Or wax it?

Reading the Signs said...

They just emailed to say they would try and replace it, Kahless. I was thinking of beeswax (will have a look at danish oil).

Collin Kelley said...

Ugly lamps are the worst. I recently got rid of one and feel so much better. Another thing to look forward to -- a new Doctor Who on Easter weekend!