Taking Charge of Wasteful Habits That are Excuses
I look at myself in the mirror, and I really don’t like myself anymore. I have everything I could ever need, yet the chores are never completed. We live in a swanky 3,500 sq ft apartment in Manhattan, overlooking the verdant Central park. Our spanking new apartment, just 10 months old, is not much better than a pigsty! In addition, I’ve gained 10 kilos, mostly around my middle. I look pale, with an unhealthy pallor, my hair a straggly mess. And my husband seems to be travelling more and more. Our 5 yr old daughter will soon be starting school, and she seems weepy and unsociable. This is what has finally given me a jolt! My baby is not fit to go to school!
I was born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka. My Parents, sold their holdings in Chicago many moons ago and settled in Colombo, eventually becoming Sri Lankan citizens. Having lived on tea estates all my life, I was used to the pampered existence of an estate brat, a retinue of servants to meet my every need, and indulgent parents giving in to my every whim and fancy! I met Chad while reading law at the University of Leeds in England. Two years my senior, he apprenticed with a local law firm there while I finished my studies as we’d decided to tie the knot the minute I received my degree. Always making it clear that he would head back to the States to work at his father’s esteemed law firm, I’d agreed to settle in the States once we were married. After the whirlwind of an American wedding in Colombo, and honeymoon sailing among the Mediterranean Islands, I fell back to earth with a massive thud! Living in New York had seemed exciting, and as I’d gotten pregnant not too far after we were married, I’d never bothered to apprentice at a law firm, having partially made up my mind to be a lady of leisure like my mother was. In the meantime, Chad had to prove his mettle, and was burning both ends of the candle, and he’d hardly had the time to notice my angst, my loneliness, which I hid by becoming a couch potato, watching TV till all hours, occasionally venturing out for maternity clothes and baby shopping. And so the story went! Soon, little Chelsea arrived, and I was a mass of nerves more often than not, no help to look after her, as I was. And that became my excuse. Life was too tough. I had no help. My husband was never home. I barely had friends. Poor, poor me! I noticed that my mother was spending more time with me than ever before, flying in to spend months at a time with us. It never struck me that she was slowly taking charge of Chelsea, taking her back with her to Sri Lanka every now and again.
To cut a long story short, I decided to get off my fat butt and take charge of my life, if for nothing else but for my daughter’s sake. The steel that saw me through college, allowing me to be top of my class reinstated itself. Recognizing that I couldn’t do it all alone, I hired help, an elderly lady who came in for two hours every week day to help with the cleaning, and at weekends, she’d help me cook up a storm. It costed Chad a pretty penny, but I told him not to crib too much if he wanted his life back in shape. With Maria picking up the slack, I paid attention to being a mother. That was the first priority. I would wake Chelsea with her favourite music in the background, gently got her into the routine of a morning bath, allowing her to splash in the tub while she drank her morning glass of chocolate milk out of a straw.
It soon came to me that while our home indeed did look neater, it looked unloved. And though we had expansive French doors all along our wrap-around balcony, only our bedroom doors were adorned with some crazy looking drapes. Ugh! A grungy looking brown! How did they ever get there? I realized then that Chad had had a neighbour come in and hang them just before we moved in, in the interest of marital privacy, not that anyone could actually look in – we were on the 12th floor, overlooking Central Park, for heaven’s sake! And now I reminded myself of the tragic girl from the Judith Krantz novel, “I’ll Take Manhattan”. Isn’t that a joke!
I decided I didn’t like the chrome and leather look – I grew up in the estates, remember? It was wood, cane and fabric upholstery for me. And one weekend, when Chad was in town, we shopped till we dropped and had all the furniture replaced, and again, I won’t bore you with the details, but we invested in some elegant Swiss furniture from Miles & May, whose philosophy of reconstruction we both admired, transforming the apartment to such an extent that I was now ready for my daughter to make friends she could have over, aside from the fact that chad too would need to entertain at home. With Maria at my side, I was all set. Chad and I decided we need to shade our French doors. Having left the research to me, he was happy with the solutions I came back with!
Window Shading For Elegant Apartments
Though I grew up with them, now that I have a home of my own, I realize I’m not much of a drapes person. I’d much rather have those neatly finished elegant shades I’d been noticing on windows of neighboring apartments. The swags and voluminous drapes just didn’t go with my newly charged persona, and Chad not really bothered by the intricacies of interiors, would be happy with whatever I came up with. I was pleasantly surprised with the range of choices at hand – at once confusing and exciting, I’d give it my undivided attention once little Chelsea was tucked away for the night, and I arrived at a fantastic option.
Even though the Day Night cellular Shades looked elegant and endlessly served in functionality, I wanted a fairly unobstructed view of the lush park and the Manhattan skyline, so for our living, dining, and kitchen, I decided on the Dual LightWeaves Roller Solar Shades from Graber that offered the versatility of light filtering and room darkening on one head rail, masked by wood-wrapped valances that would blend in with the newly appointed furniture. The LightWeaves Solar Shades in a 10% weave could be deployed over the doors during the day, allowing a fabulous view of the Manhattan while blocking the UV rays and glare by 90%. The different percentages in the weave determines the amount of filtered light coming through, and the darker the color of the fabric (woven from polyester, cellulose and fiberglass blends for strength and durability) the better the view, and in winter, warmth from the sun would be efficiently absorbed. The second fabric, the room darkening non-solar fabric could be deployed if privacy was an issue. For the study and bedrooms, we opted for blackout non-solar roller fabrics in a white and brown swirly blend in the interests of uninterrupted sleep-in’s over weekends, and especially for Chelsea who sleeps early, and the sun goes down way past her bedtime in summer.
We were pleased with the makeover the apartment had received, reflecting, finally, our personalities that we’d slowly come into. And last but not the least, I decided that I would work out for an hour in the morning once Chelsea left for school, and I would start apprenticing part-time with a law firm specializing in pro bono cases. Here’s hoping for a better future, devoid of unhealthy excuses to shut life out. Alexander Pope wisely said, “An excuse is worse than a lie, for an excuse is a lie, guarded.” No more was my life going to be a travesty, thanks to the confidence the apartment makeover has given me.