Sometimes in writing these stories, I might take exaggeration a little too far and need to reign in my storytelling to not stray too far from the real-life inspiration.
My artist wife often acts as this check on my immense imagination that often takes the most modest and trivial detail and blows it completely out of proportion for entertainment purposes.
I might be tempted to call this reality check a “buzzkill” but I prefer to sleep in my bed and not on the couch.
It was an early spring morning. The sun had risen two hours earlier. The birds were chirping in the 10-foot conifer outside our bedroom window. And the sky was crystal clear over our lazy crescent in our western Canadian Prairie suburb.
I was peacefully lying awake in bed, enjoying its body-hugging comfort early that morning. Our son was playing video games in the basement family room while our daughter was at the kitchen table creating yet another pencil drawing to add to my growing collection of “daughter art.”
It never stood a chance.
We recently renovated our kitchen and the last piece was the kitchen table.
The old kitchen table was a giant, dark brown behemoth that served us well.
Many family meals were enjoyed there. Christmas breakfasts, Easter dinners, and birthday cakes came and went.
“Hey, can you come down to the studio for a minute, I want to ask what you think about something?” my artist wife said after popping her head around the corner into our living room.
Looking around to see who she was talking to, I realized I was the only one sitting there.
And then, after looking around again for anyone else I could pin this activity on, I realized I was entirely alone. The kids weren’t around and there wasn’t even anyone walking past on the sidewalk through our picture window.
Growing up, my parents were really good at sharing tips and advice.
One memorable piece of advice was: “Get that spaghetti out from between your toes.”
But, by far, the most common was: “Turn off the lights!”
Like ants swarming a cake at a picnic, the tiles were everywhere.
These 4-inch by 4-inch tiles covered our kitchen. Normally, the prospect of renovating our kitchen would excite me, but these tiles showed up years before our current kitchen renovation was even a twinkle in my eye.
No, these tiles were very much a thorn. They were for a large project my artist wife was fortunate to be working on with dozens of other artists alongside residents of communities across Canada.