"One-fifty-two," she said. She was clearing a space on the refrigerator door, pushing aside family photos. She had just pushed photos of our four grandchildren off to the left.
I didn't answer her. I had no idea what she was saying, and any response I gave might get me into more trouble than I wanted late that morning. We had just returned from a trip forty miles away to visit two new quilt shops. I waited and worked on the sandwich I was creating for my lunch.
"What about two-twelve?" she asked. I smeared mustard on both slices of my 42-Grain bread.
"Sound fine," I said. I put the sliced turkey over the mustard. I had no idea what she was asking this time either.
"If we find a good stencil, I can work on the quilt border."
"Sure," I said. I put in the lettuce and tomato and red onion.
"Or do you think I should read the chapter on mitering the binding?"
"Sounds good," I agreed. I looked away from the slices of bell pepper I had just cut to see what she was doing now. She had put a piece of paper onto the space she had cleared on the refrigerator, and she stood there with a red felt pen in her hand, the point of the pen inches away from the paper. On the paper were several notations, but from where I stood I couldn't see well enough to read them.
"Or do you think I should finish reading the new quilt magazine? Maybe before dinner."
"I thought you finished reading before you went to your quilting class at the Bobbin Spinner Wednesday." I put the slices of bread together, held them down, and cut the sandwich in half.
"I bought six more magazines."
"I have to learn how to do everything. And the magazines help me learn."
"What about all the quilting books you bought?"
"I have to read them too," she said. She wrote something on the paper.
"Now what are you writing?"
"What time to go to Strawberry Patches tomorrow."
"You're going shopping again?" I asked.
"We have to get some binding clips," she said.
"WE have to get some binding clips?"
"Do you trust me to go alone? You remember what happened last time, don't you?"
I did remember the twelve yards of muslin she would certainly need to have in the house in case every muslin manufacturer went out of business the next day. "What time?" I asked. She had already committed most of MY free time to surfing the Internet for quilting sites.
"Two-forty-six," she said.
"I have that time slot free," I said. I wondered why not two-forty-five or two-forty-seven. I carried the sandwich over to the refrigerator and looked at what she was writing down in bold red ink.
"Shopping list?" I asked.
"Schedule," she said.
"What kind of schedule?"
"Sewing schedule," she said. "I have a lot of things to sew."
"So you need a schedule?"
"I keep forgetting what I'm supposed to do. Yesterday I forgot to cut the batting.
This morning I was supposed to practice my free-motion quilting."
"We went to the new quilt shops this morning."
"See. I already forgot that. Where did I put the fabric I bought? I have to serge up the edges and wash it. I keep forgetting what I'm doing."
"Maybe you're doing too much," I suggested. Rather, I should have washed my mouth out with Plumber's Helper.
"There's never too much. I just have to remember it all."
"I thought you wrote down all your projects?" I asked, remembering her long list of sewing things to do.
"I have my list. I just don't know when I'm supposed to do everything."
"You don't know when to do the sewing and the quilting and the doll making and the embroidery?"
"That reminds me," she said without answering. "I need to buy some embroidery thread."
"WE," I reminded her, "are going to Strawberry Patches tomorrow."
"Are we?" she said. I nodded. I really wanted to sit down and eat my sandwich. "See, I forgot about that."
"You know what," I began, interrupting myself so at least I could smell the sandwich, "maybe you should make some kind of plan to do all the things you have to do."
"I'm trying to do that, but you keep interrupting me," she said as she pushed me aside. She made some more marks on her paper. "Can't you see I'm trying to make a schedule?"
"Am I going to be on your schedule?"
"You?" she looked at me. She looked at the schedule. She made a red splotch on her schedule, some kind of Rorschach Sewing Test for me, no doubt.
"How about eight-fifty-seven next Sunday night?"
Copyright A.B. Silver 1998
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