Last-minute Lucy

I am my mother’s daughter. An almost embarrassing amount. But instead of inheriting my mother’s good qualities, I think I’ve only managed to garner her quirks. Seasonal allergies year-round. Awkward feet. And bizarre compulsion to overhaul my house hours before company arrives.

Here’s a quick story from my childhood. (You want a minute to grab some popcorn? No? Ok, moving on…) My grandmother had given my mom fabric for curtains. I don’t really know why. Apparently my mom asked for it or my grandmother had just given them to her. It doesn’t really matter. The point is, my grandmother gave my mom the fabric.

Months went by, and our guest room remained curtain-less. MONTHS. To the tune of almost a year.

Then, one day, grandma and grandpa were coming to visit. The NIGHT before, my mom was slaving over her sewing machine, because she would be damned if grandma knew she had put it off that long.

(There’s a very good chance I’m telling this story incorrectly…I was like, nine when it happened. And I didn’t care that much about decor at the time. The but the gist is correct. I’m sure my mother will leave a comment clarifying, so be sure to check back.)

Another example? My mother once painted an entire room at 3 a.m. the night (morning?) before guests were supposed to arrive. (Actually, I think the guests were grandpa and grandma again…)

But come on. PAINTED. A. ROOM. Do you know what goes into painting? Drop cloths have to be laid down. Things have to be carefully outlined in tape, and then the tape has to be removed. And this room had fairly high ceilings, meaning a ladder was involved. AT THREE IN THE MORNING.

It sounds crazy, right? Well, watch your tongue, because I’m apparently the same way.

So you know how I had been on this mission to get my apartment properly decorated before my cousins arrived? (I’m not calling it “re-decorated” because this is the first time the decor is fully thought out.)

Well, my cousins were due to arrive at midnight on Thursday. My plan had been to finish all the decor in the dining room Wednesday night (all I had to do was hang some pictures on that blank wall). But when I went to hang one of my giant pictures, the hooks on the back broke and the whole thing came crashing down, breaking one corner of the frame.

Cue my second decor-induced temper tantrum.

I swear, I’m not a giant baby. I just hate when things don’t do their jobs. It’s just like when people don’t do their jobs. Except no matter how much you yell at a picture frame incapable of hanging on a wall, it never says it’s sorry. Blerg.

Which meant I had exactly 24 hours to solve my problem. And I had to work on Thursday. Which meant…you guessed it…a lunch-hour run to HomeGoods.

So I came home with a French print I wasn’t sure I liked and a mirror I liked but wasn’t sure would work on the wall. Spoiler alert: I ended up not using either of these items.

In the end, I gave up on getting things perfect before my cousins arrived. My saner-than-I-am husband finally sat me down and convinced me it was ok that things were not perfect and that I could run out Friday morning to the craft store and buy a new frame for the original poster I wanted to hang. Things would still be ready for the party.

Basically, I needed to relax. Guess what I’m really not good at.

The point is, in the end I did what he said. I’m returning the French print, but keeping the mirror to later be incorporated into…I don’t know, somewhere. Maybe our bedroom. I just like it. The posters were hung on the wall (with a much more supportive wire that the craft store lady assured me would hold the weight). And when everyone finally arrived for the party, the apartment was as close to perfect as I could have gotten it, even if everything had gone according to plan.

So what lessons do we learn here?

1. Don’t put things off. Please, please, please, don’t put things off…self. But remember, I’m fighting my genetics on that one.

2. Stop freaking out. Again, this is a battle against my very DNA.

3. No one really cares as much as I do. My cousins do not care if only one frame is hanging on the wall when they arrive. My guests would not have cared if the whole wall was blank. Only I care. I know this. It is not enough to make me chill out.

So spill: What’s the project you put off until the last minute and ended up driving yourself bonkers over? A final paper? Buying a present for an event? Hanging gigantic frames on your dining room wall? I need to hear ’em so I feel like less of a freak.