Rendered Fat Content


David Allan: An Italian Footman (about 1780)
"We are each in service to our possessions …"

I should make it clear that I am not personally completing very much of our Grand Refurbishment. The Muse and I hired out almost all of the actual work. I've accepted minor roles as a peripheral workman, refinishing doors, windows, and baseboards, primarily to avoid distracting our actual paid workmen from their primary assignments. I'm stripping and polishing brass, for instance, work nobody would pay an experienced carpenter or professional painter to perform. I think of myself as more of the butler of the effort and Buttling as my primary focus. I'm the guy who sees that the garbage cans get emptied and fresh contractor bags are available. I run to the hardware or paint store when we're running out of something. I'm offering a cold beverage mid scorching afternoon. I'm the one remembering to thank the workers for their help at the end of each workday. I never forget that I'm not the one doing very much. I'm just filling in around the edges.

I suppose that I'm filling the role of servant leader on the endeavor.
A servant leader sees his role as one of service to the project rather than its owner or boss. I most often defer technical decisions to the judgement of the workmen, since they possess experience adequate to actually equip them with judgement. I don't. I'm at a distinct disadvantage in that if our workmen were unscrupulous, I'd never know by reviewing their work products because I mostly can't tell crap from masterful. Slap a fresh coat of paint on anything and it looks much better. Our workmen are teaching me what's acceptable. They lead this admitted blind man through the labyrinth. The servant leader's called to follow. Often with a broom.

It had been a while since I lived at anyone's beck and call and I sometimes find the role annoying. I'd some days prefer to have my own agenda, to get to decide for myself what I might focus upon, but between the project and our craftspersons, the project has taken on a life of its own. It has definite needs. We mostly follow its lead, with me following furthest behind because I cannot always read what the effort's demanding. We steal what we can, depending, balancing pieces against each other, but we mostly have little say in any matter. Yesterday, the sequence of events dictated that we focus all efforts on installing our new Door To Nowhere, a necessary distraction while waiting for delivery of the planking, which was the real reason we hired our carpenter. I amiably followed, taking responsibility for painting the door and keeping track of the hinges, not to mention sweeping up.

Our Grand Refurbishment's definitely Homemade in that its work occurs right here in our home, though mostly not by our own hands. It's probably properly labeled second-order Homemade since it occurs here at home and it also focuses upon the home itself. We're not canning tomatoes to be stored on a larder shelf, but improving the larder itself. The result will be a refurbished larder, not any additional Homemade anything stored on those shelves. After, the larder will become the master and I will become the liveried manservant of the shelves, shining their shoes and sweeping their floors. We are each in service to our possessions whether Homemade or boughten, Buttling our primary occupation, not manor lording.


We're done with September now, its final few days eked out over last week like the final few days of summer departed the week before. I feel further and further from familiar shores out here. I'd envisioned Spring and Summer but failed to consider the following Fall and Winter. I've been blithely continuing my summer dance without really noticing that the petunias have surrendered and leaves started falling. Before very much longer, rain might even start falling more often than every other month and we'll need to button up last season's work as well as this house. I sense a rush to conclusion coming with me just Buttling.

I began my writing week describing a final act in
LastOne. I'd come to the bottom of the pile of doors I'd been refurbishing. "I was a seasoned veteran and felt confident in my capabilities."

I next considered the importance of deception when developing a new skill with
Deceiving. "I hardly ever catch myself Deceiving myself anymore, but then I'm well experienced in producing Homemade."

I wrote about a prominent feature of the harvest season in
Plumps "We eat to excess whatever's in season and then preserve the rest in extremis."

My most popular posting of this period focused upon shoddy workmanship in Crapsmanship." … I have become a more competent craftsman from my encounters with Crapsmanship."

I noticed that many Homemade products require somebody to get down in their knees, not to pray but in order to accomplish anything in
OnMyKnees. "I've spent more time OnMyKnees than the typical penitent pilgrim crawling to some shrine."

I overheard a most unusual
SalesPitch, one in which the purveyor explained all the customer wouldn't get if they engaged in a commercial relationship. The customer didn't storm out, but thanked the sales person. Some products have no substitute. "Not everything comes out of the same spigot before they put a different label on it."

I ended my writing week ineptly
MindReading whomever designed The Villa's double hung windows. "There must be limits to Homemade artistry. Standards exist to help us coexist. We'd probably drive each other crazy without these little tacit agreements."

My writing went from last to endless this week, from deception to acceptance, from crap to masterwork, even into preservation. A typically exceptional effort, at root an act of stewardship, a bit of Buttling between us. I very deeply appreciate your presence, that you actually take time to check in and see what I'm up to and to leave a comment or an appreciation. We might all be Buttling here, in service to something beyond our humbled position, on our knees making Homemade.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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