Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Learning From Your Mistakes

Some things you have to learn the hard way. I found this out, funnily enough, the hard way last night. Anyone following me on twitter would have noticed my little breakdown when everything seemed to go wrong at once.

As deadlines approach (and go flying past, not even stopping to say hello), I tend to start working on things late at night, because it's time I'm usually awake anyway and I find the hours between 11pm and 2am to be particularly productive, if not occasionally dangerous. I attempted to learn that lesson after I tried taking off my left thumb with a stanley knife a few weeks ago. I told myself that I wasn't going to be doing anything stupid like that again. So it only makes sense that last night I decided it would be a good idea to try and finish the papier mache on The Gardener. Because everyone else in this house seems to sleep (freaks), I had to do it in my room. No big deal. Spread out a few plastic sheets on the carpeted area I was working over, thought everything would be fine. And it was, for the most part.

Then I decided I should lean the thing against my desk while I go get a drink. I don't know why I thought this was a good idea. The Gardener is incredibly heavy. He's got two pieces of rather thick timber making up the cross, and in order to get it to stand up but still be portable, he's got a steel pipe hidden up the back of his cross, so I can just shove a metal rod in the ground and shove him on it. Of course, however brilliant that sort of forward thinking may be, it's pretty useless when you're carting the thing around indoors and looking for things to lean it against. You can't lie him on his front because you'll crush his ribcage. Can't lie him on his back because of the vines and the metal pole. So I'd taken to leaving him leant at oblique angles against things, with only the very top touching the wall, and something bracing the bottom. It had been working so far.

Then it fell. Must've slid to the side, then completely lost balance. I came back to my room to find him, still attached to his cross, thankfully, but lying half on the floor, half on the bed. Minus a hand. There was much cursing because I knew it was only a matter of time before one of the hands were broken, they stick out just a bit beyond the cross-beam and have a habit of getting hit on walls and door ways.Walk around your house with your arms stretched out, the same way kids do when they're trying to be airplanes and you'll understand what I mean. Still muttering and just generally pissed off, I take the injured party and move him to a better position. And then I see it.

My container full of my super-secret mache mix (and by super-secret I mean glue + water + hand sanitiser). Empty, a dark patch emanating from the lid, soaking my bed. When I had grabbed the container, I chose it because it used to be full of some sort of fruit in liquid. I assumed it would, therefore, be watertight. Wrong. I spent quite some time trying to soak up all the mix from my various bed things, and then I was stuck with the problem of having no mache mix left, no glue to make more, vines to finish and a hand to reattach.
The best solution seemed to be screaming and/or crying. But I didn't. I cleaned up the mess the best I could, then I made some flour + water mache mix. And I fixed it.

But here's some things I learned:
  • Top heavy things will fall over, especially if balanced precariously.
  • Just because you think it's water-tight, doesn't mean it is.
  • Using flour glue makes you smell like you've been baking.
  • Tape fixes everything.
  • Your time spent over the last holidays playing Professor Layton and the Curious Village wasn't wasted.

"Critical thinking is the key to success." 

(Okay so I didn't really do anything puzzle like. But at the time, remembering I could make glue out of flour and water made me feel like a genius. Shush.)

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