A Buck or Two

Did the entry "Wind" look like a poem to anyone else? I cannot write poetry, so don't be confused, that was not a late night attempt to pen a Robert Frost imitation.

Ryan has been known to tell me, “You should embrace the talents you have and remember the many talents you don't have.” Poetry is one of those talents I don’t have. This phrase of his always cracks me up because it is usually said at just the perfect moment in reference to my botched attempts at making lame arts and crafts projects. Once I have given up, reverted to tears and Hobby Lobby, and pondered aloud for an hour or so from my pouting spot on the couch at why I cannot be more like Martha Stewart, Ryan reminds me that maybe crafts aren’t my strong suit.

He is right. Still, something deep inside of me wants to make homemade cards, Christmas ornaments, picture frames, and other works of art, but the truth is, most third graders do a better job, a way better job. I think Ryan's deepest fear is not only that I will make these things, but then being the sleazy entrepreneur that I am, I will try to sell them to people and make a buck or two.
He knows me well.

Growing up I made more pictures and drawings than any kid alive. I made them for my grandparents and neighbors and people at church, I put people's names on the pictures and told the person that I had created this piece of art especially for them. The flower. The bald man. The family of five. The picture of the cat with one eye. They would ooh and ahh and tell me how much they loved the picture I had made for them, and I would say, "Thank you, it's only fifty cents." Or, "Thanks, I spent a really long time on that one so I am charging a dollar for it."

A bit taken back, maybe amused, and definitely trapped since the picture was personalized, they all usually paid up, and I banked. My sisters who were total suckers only made things for others to be nice, but I knew at a young age that to get anywhere in this world, I would have to charge money. So I did.

This began a lifelong vicious cycle of sno-cone stands, garage sales, leaf and lawn services by “Jen”, a real live babysitters club, a few restaurants and personalized menus that would open up to my family and friends in the kitchen on special weekends at a fixed rate of only $5 a meal, and my low point, trying to sign up to sell candy bars under my own made up organization so that I could keep all the profit for “Jenny’s Kids”.

All that to say, if I were Ryan, I would be scared too. I would rent the living room out to the Toastmasters or a homeless person if it meant making a few extra bucks, maybe even sell the first born into diaper commercials if we needed it, and Ryan knows that.

So he gently reminds me that we are in no dire financial crisis and that God has given me lots of things that I am good at…and maybe that just isn’t arts and crafts.

I agree with him and give it a break for a while. Then, when he’s not watching, I go back to my closet and see what else I can make and how much I can possibly sell it for.