The wastepaper basket in the corner of the room was overflowing. All around the basket lay crumpled sheets of paper that had missed their target. Darling Wife sat at her small desk and crumpled another sheet of paper and tossed it underhanded toward the basket. It hit the top and bounced off to land on the floor.
"Writing something?" I asked as she bent back over a pad of paper and began writing again.
"I'm trying to make a list of New Year's resolutions."
"To improve the quality of your life?"
"About quilting", she said.
"You're having a hard time making a list?" I asked as I picked up one of the crumpled pieces of paper. I opened it. On it she had written, "I will buy less fabric."
"It's hard to make a good list of resolutions," she said.
"This one is good," I said as I gave it to her. She read it. "Why did you crumple the paper and throw it away?" I asked.
"No quilter can keep a resolution like that," she said.
"So you're not going to limit yourself next year?" I asked. She hadn't limited herself one scrap of fabric since she had begun quilting. After watching her carefully for two years, I truly believe she has no way to even think about limiting herself.
"I thought about it. I wrote it down. I thought about it some more. I can't promise something like that," she said.
As she spoke I picked up and flattened another sheet of paper. "I will not fill the spare bedroom with batting from every manufacturer in every size," she had written. I handed it to her.
"The spare bedroom is full," she said. Of course it was. It was my office. Even so, under my desk and behind a filing cabinet, she had put several rolls of twin-size cotton batting.
"It's going to stay full," I said. "Are all your resolutions like these?"
"They're all rotten resolutions," she said.
"Why are they rotten?" I asked. I liked the first two. Maybe she had more of the same. I could foresee the year 2000 where at least my office would be a "quilt-free" zone.
"They're rotten because all the resolutions are negative. Everybody in the world makes negative resolutions. People are always resolving not to smoke, not to overeat, not to sit around watching TV all day. I started that way. I kept writing down things that made me give up something. Then I decided not to do any more negative nots."
"Negative nots?" was that a new way of basting quilts?
"I'm going to write positive resolutions. 'Yes!' resolutions. Quilters should only do 'Yes!' resolutions."
I snapped at her bait. "What is a "Yes! resolution?" There was no use wondering if the exclamation point was actually there. When she said, "Yes!" she exclaimed it. Everything having to do with quilting had an exclamation point.
"I'm making a list of things I will do next year, not a list of things I won't do."
"So you're not going to give up anything?"
"No resolutions about cutting back?"
"No!!" That had a double exclamation.
"So the year 2000 will be just like 1999?"
"No, I'm going to make it a more positive year.
"All right. Read me what you have written so far," I said. Maybe a Y2K problem was really possible. If so, it would start in her sewing room.
"I only have a few things written down so far," she said.
"Go on," I said.
"I still may change a few, alter them, modify them. I might take a little off or add a little on...."
"Go ahead! Read me the list!" I added my own exclamation points.
"All right. Here's my list so far," she began. And then she read me her list.
"I will quilt or think about quilting every day," she began. I stopped her there.
"That's what you do now," I said. "You don't need that resolution for next year."
"I don't want to forget," she said. "Do you want number two?"
"Number two," I said.
"I will read about quilting every day."
"That's not different either," I said.
"No comments until I'm finished," she said.
"Number three. I will make sure I have enough quilting magazines, books, and catalogues so I have something to read about quilting every day."
"No interrupting," she said. I nodded my head in agreement. "Four. I will buy fabric that I like even though I may not need it for anything I have planned to quilt then or sometime in the future or ever."
I was going to say something like, "Sounds reasonable," but she glared at me with a don't-you-dare-interrupt-again" look.
"Resolution five. I will always buy more fabric for a project than I need because I might need it for something else another time. If I need a fat quarter, I will always buy three yards."
I didn't interrupt, but I could think of a resolution I might make about closing down our bank account.
"I will have enough quilting notions on hand never to run out again."
"You just bought ten white marking pencils," I said. All right, I was interrupting. How can a normal husband of a quilting wife gone wild not say anything.
"Resolution six," she said, cutting off any possibility of my continuing. "I will buy out Wal-Mart's complete stock of fusible and non-fusible webbing."
"A busy spider doesn't need that much webbing," I said.
She no longer heard me. Somewhere back in resolution three or four she had forgotten I was in the room. She went on reading her list, smiling a lot.
"Eight. I will keep the four basting tables that are now set up in the living room kept set up forever. I will keep two sewing machines and the serger set up so I can use them instantly when I need to. I will put in true-color lighting everywhere in the house so I can see the true colors of all the fabric I use and all the quilts that are hung on every wall in the house. I will have my own express delivery account with UPS, Fed-Ex, and the United States Postal Service so that my quilting supply deliveries are never late."
I wanted to say that was more than one positive resolution, but I realized she wasn't reading her list anymore. She was making up resolutions as she stood there.
I left her alone, new resolutions coming from her quilting brain every few seconds. I left in a daze, dizzy, wondering if I needed a list of resolutions, but I knew I needed only one: "I resolve to help her break all her quilting resolutions." It's for her own good, isn't it?
Copyright 1999 by A.B. Silver
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