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Andrea del Verrocchio: Baptism of Christ (1475) -- with an angel painted by Leonardo on the left
"Satisfied HomeMaking sometimes means Dabbling along behind."

I dabble in my duties as a HomeMaker. HomeMaking seems to be one of those occupations that do not quite qualify as an occupation and so cannot be properly considered a profession, and therefore cannot be mastered. No Master HomeMaker Designation could exist, if only because it would demand mastery of far too many elements. My first wife's mother held a master's degree in home economics, and not even she could take on every thing necessary to make a home, let alone to keep it humming. For wiring, she'd hire an electrician. She even retained the services of a professional housekeeper. A HomeMaker might be most properly characterized as a sort of chief contractor who coordinates the efforts without mastering many him/her self, except, perhaps, mastering the fine art of managing masters, though I suspect few ever approach even that level of skill. It's most likely, usually, amateurs attempting to coordinate the efforts of Journeymen, Masters, and other Rank Amateurs. Mastering that mess might be most of HomeMaking.

HomeMaking mostly involves Dabbling in a little off this and a little more of that other thing,
most explicitly not in ever actually mastering anything. I might, on my better days, approach the skill of a journeyman painter, never quite a master. I could, I have no doubt, improve my skill with more practice, but I hold other interests, or perhaps they hold me in my over-arching HomeMaking role. I can't go exclusively focusing upon any one aspect of my HomeMaking portfolio without short shrifting some other part. I'm always juggling, attempting to maintain some semblance of balance, mostly by means of feeling continually unbalanced myself. Some things I just will not do.

The Muse bought a new ceiling fan and I told her that I would not help her install it. I've been down that rat hole before. Ceiling fan installation demands a truly esoteric mix of skills, and might require the services of a half-dozen professionals to properly complete. Amateurs hardly stand half a chance. A short time later, The Muse was scouring The Home Despot trying to find a square Allen wrench, most commonly employed in sewer cover fasteners, but also apparently the chosen tool of ceiling fan designers. Oh, the ceiling electrical box is much smaller than the standard size and the fan seems to rely upon a standard size box. Us dabblers tend to stymie ourselves when we overreach, and overreaching's very easy. Maintaining a portfolio of what we will not dabble in might prove most important, certainly more important than attempting to master every esoteric skill. Much seems just better left undone than to leave a trail of partially done Dabblings behind.

I found I needed the services of a blacksmith. Who would have suspected? With synchronicity working like it does, I'd seen a blacksmith demonstrating his work at the Farmers' Market each Saturday. I paid closer attention the next week and asked for his card. Yes, he replied, he had fabricated porch stair railings. His website offered a few examples. Ben presents as if he's straight out of 1879. He wears long sleeved flannel shirts and a broad brimmed leather hat in every season. He speaks with a forced formality, as if concerned that he might be perceived as inappropriately informal. He liberally employes both sir and mam. He's a serious student of his craft, and tends to veer off into history lessons as he measures. He promises a sketch and an estimate, but he won't promise a completion date. Perhaps by the beginning of Fall, he concedes. That horizon's good enough for me. Depending upon the bid, I'll be rid of one more code violating shortcoming, properly consigned to a master. Satisfied HomeMaking sometimes means Dabbling along behind.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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