I spent a lot of time with my father-in-law after my mother-in-law died. He talked easily and openly about his feelings, as did my dad when he lost my mother. I was grateful for their candid conversation and their heartfelt expressions of love and loss, and their hope for reunion. I felt as if they were preparing me for my own experience yet to come. You never stop learning.
I had a lot of fun making up ads and slogans. Perhaps I would have done that for real had I remained in commercial art and advertising. Names of cereals, beauty products and cleaning agents were fun to dream up, and now and then I’d laugh out loud when I inked the drawings. Interestingly, some of the real ads for real products today, often sound like satire. Maybe there are too many products and not enough names to go around!
So many personal truths were told in the strip. As I reread everything, I see just how close to the bone some of my stories were.
This was the truth. It seemed that no expense was spared on things outside the house….but, the kitchen, where so much of my life was spent, didn’t need improvements.
Once I had decided I needed a new kitchen, however, I realized the whole dining area needed to be remodeled, as well.
My husband was certainly capable of remodeling the kitchen, but it might have taken years. In order to keep the marriage stable, we decided to get help. The dismantling, however, we did ourselves.
The trouble with design books is…they all seem to think you live in a tidy environment. They seem to overlook the fact that a space has to be lived in, and living means junk and clutter. I needed storage. Lots of it!
I recently found a birthday card I’d made for my mother. She’d saved it in a photo album, something I hadn’t opened for years. I had forgotten about the card. It said, "When you’re very mad at me, you’re awful for a mother, But even if I had a choice, I wouldn’t want another." I think I was 8 when I made the card. She and I didn’t get along well and I wondered why she’d kept it. I think I was trying to rewrite history here. The strip often had a sweetness to it that wasn’t part of my own childhood experience.
At the time of our kitchen renovation, we managed to dine in the hallway with the use of a borrowed hot plate and a microwave. This was fun…for a while.
Here’s where Annie’s husband, Steve, had a small role. Until now, he had just been a shadowy figure. I’d alluded to his infidelity, but had never gone into that story. It was a rather daunting one, and I wasn’t ready. I did, however, see him as a bit of a hoarder, so when the Pattersons did their renovation, he was there to salvage their cast-off materials. At the time, I could see Annie and Steve’s garage crammed with stuff and all of the ensuing family squabbles it might cause. I imagined all of the interesting side stories this would generate…but in the end, I had only one statement a day to work with and my readers spent less than 30 seconds reading it! I never developed the "hoarder" side of next-door neighbour, Steve. There wasn’t time.
My first husband used to watch all kinds of sports on TV. It didn’t matter what else was going on or what time it was, if there was a game on TV, he’d be lying on the couch watching it. I once suggested screwing legs onto him and turning him into a couch–that way he’d be useful. He didn’t respond. He was too busy watching television.
Yes, I realized as we were dismantling the kitchen that this would be the perfect time to remodel the dining room, too. This meant removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room to create an "open concept." Open, much like my husband’s mouth when I made the suggestion.
Your taste buds wear off because you eat stuff like over boiled weenies and un- touched spuds.