Mother had a very inflated opinion of herself. She never suffered from low self esteem (just the opposite, actually), and would gladly share with you why she was so amazing. She was not a braggart, boasting about accomplishments or possession. In fact, she didn’t like people who bragged. She was not trying to impress her audience, because she felt so unabashedly good about herself that in her mind there was no need to impress anyone else. She thought her ideas were undeniably the best and assumed that everyone else thought so too. It was her way or the highway.
Her decorating ideas, which came from the latest Good Housekeeping magazine, were ones she made her own. One year when my sister and I were nearing graduation from elementary school, Mother decided to make garbage cans for my sister Abby and me. How odd you may say. Well, we thought so too! Off she went to find two large cans that had previously held potato chips. She finally found them and off to the hardware store she flew. The idea was to paint them a cream color and then add our initials in a contrasting color.
Because our mother had difficulty following through and completing anything, this project went on and on and on. For weeks. Finally it was the day of the unveiling. Mother thought Abby and I would practically swoon over our new decorated garbage cans. We were not nearly as impressed as was expected.
The unveiling of the potato chip garbage cans was one of those moments when Mother felt she had done something incredibly fantastic and that we were just ingrates for not showering her with kudos and high fives over the fabulous design. There were many moments just like this when mother was so disappointed with us and our reaction, and coincidentally there were many moments where Abby and I were at a loss for words. Who knew a simple garbage can could elicit such emotion. We would never hear the end of it, along with a long list of other unappreciated things Mother had done for the ungrateful duo, Abby and me!
Because of these experiences, I have never really been one for do it yourself projects. If I need a small waste can, it seems so simple just to go to my nearest Target store and purchase one. Based on Mother’s “lessons” in DIY projects, I also know that my method (drive to Target, acquire garbage can, and go home) would be much cheaper. By the time Mother found the empty potato chip cans and purchased the paint and brushes, she had spent much more money than if she had simply purchased them in the first place. Besides, it wasn’t like anyone would keep a garbage can as a memento!