Hobbies and Derelicts

Today, I realized hobbies and derelicts are connected.

The Venue

Every six months, I load my beach wagon with boxes of pepper jellies, drag the wagon of jellies through the arboretum, and set up a booth to sell my wares. I think of vendor venues like the Plant Fest! as enabling events. When you make things, if you can’t hang them on the wall, display them on a shelf, wear them more than once a year, or eat them before they expire, you’d best have friends who clamber for them or a place to sell them. Hobbies and Jelly addicts

Peppers and pepper products are one of my many hobbies. Even when I sell several hundred dollars worth, I don’t really make money. I make just enough to enable my addiction hobby. That’s what I meant. Hobby. It’s also a chance to pop my work bubble, spend a few hours outdoors, and mingle with friends, vendors, and clients.

The Neighbor

One of the neighboring vendors asked about my jellies and peppers. My muscle memorized explanation:

I grow my own peppers and forage the fruits I can’t grow.
“Oh really! Where do you grow them?”
Right here. In my backyard. I live behind the arboretum. 
“I live in this neighborhood too!”
I’m on Corby.

I could tell by the tone of his “Oh no, I don’t live there” that he wasn’t fond of my street. After he explained where he lived, he went on:

“What has happened to Corby? It’s become derelict.”
Derelict? How so?
“Oh, the houses are so run down.”
Hmmm. You’re probably talking about my house! 

My house needs gutter repair (not easy on a two-story home), a pressure wash, and paint on the front door. I guess the guy thought I was joking, because he kept going.

“You know the house with the DeLorean?”
That’s my house!

Domestic To-Dos vs. Hobbies

I tried to keep my tone true. Amused, because I found this amusing, not insulting.

I mostly live within my financial means. No yard guy, no maid, and I don’t hire that guy who knocks on my door and offers to pressure wash my house. I have a mower, a mop, and a pressure washer. I’ll do all that myself.

But I do NOT live within my temporal means. My time is fully spent: frenzied freelancing hours and more hobbies than I can count on both hands.

When hobbies and domestic trifles land on the same to-do list, pressure-washing the house is more likely to fall off than tilling the garden. I’m more likely to can peppers than dust. Vacuuming versus writing? I’ll choose writing every time.

I don’t judge those who spic the span and have picture-perfect homes. I’m just not there.

The Derelict

My vendor neighbor seemed uncomfortable, so I didn’t insist on explaining My street is fine, and several houses have been recently painted, windowed, or flipped. Mine is not one of them. So me. That’s me in the derelict house. I let him shift the topic to the car (what’s up with the DeLorean?) and cars, and all the cars that he has parked in his garage.

I don’t know why he thought my street was derelict, so I can only guess and assume.

My street has become more diverse over the years. This is something that thrills me. If he associates run-down and derelict with color (and I don’t know that he does), I am even more amused since the only three houses (all in a row) that need more TLC on my street belong to a middle-aged white woman, a white family who rent to their son and two other white twenty-somethings, and another white family whose parents are of the brilliant computer-geek types.

If long-in-the-blade yards are bothersome, I’m with the computer-geeks two houses down: I do my own and get to it when I can. The twenty-somethings next door? Since when do college-age guys keep a tidy lawn?

The Hobby

I’m going to own “derelict.” Since I’m sort of my own boss, maybe this can become part of a title: Derelict Product Developer? Freelance Derelict? Derelict Novelist? Jelly Dereliction? Derelictious Gardener?

I’ll also own that I have taken on more than time allows. I could take a loan and just get some of the domestic things done, but I prefer the pay-as-I-go plan. And honestly, I’d much rather finish a novel and a screenplay (writing is my loftiest hobby) than fret over a well-kept yard or an appointed house. I take comfort in one of J.K. Rowling’s replies when she was asked how she raised a baby and wrote a book.

I didn’t do housework for four years! I’m not Superwoman, and living in squalor that was the answer.

Here’s to more years ahead of hobbies and dereliction! And owning the creative squalor.

©Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved, 2017.

About Pennie Nichols

This little corner is dedicated to some of the things that interest me and to those of you who share those interests about relationships, travel, cooking, gardening, canning, jewelry, and writing. I’ll throw in some recipes and stories for your reading pleasure.

14 Replies to “Hobbies and Derelicts”

  1. Haralee

    I think it is too funny that he didn’t just shut up when he knew he was talking about your home! I am doing my first craft show the end of the month. Hopefully I will sell enough to keep my (addiction) hobby funded!

  2. Karen Austin

    Own the derelict! Houses with flaws have personality and charm (just like people). I bought a house 16 months ago owned by a woman who had the most elaborate landscaping. Now we’re the house with two feet tall weeds in the front (and five feet tall weeds in the back). Every once and a while, I weed a 3×3 area throughly, and I’ve even planted a few new plants and put potted mums on the porch. But I’m an indoor enthusiast at heart, so the mums are now dead from lack of watering. (My porch is full west, so it’s a total battle to keep potted plants watered thoroughly.) The woman who sold this house still lives locally. I imagine she drives past every once and a while and clucks, gasps, sighs, screams. I should just put up a waterproof sign with my blog address in my garden so that people can put 2 plus 2 together.

    • Pennie Nichols Post author

      Heh! Maybe she tells her friends she sold to a derelict. 😉 I think it’s more important to follow our hearts than to worry about what people think about how we keep our living spaces. We all have different needs and priorities for those spaces.

  3. Leanne

    I’m a bit of a minimalist neat freak, but I can still admire people who are so busy living their lives that they don’t have a lot of time for the mundane. I also know that if I didn’t have a husband mowing my lawn, it would look like a 20 year old college student maintained my garden too 🙂

    • Pennie Nichols Post author

      I have neat freak fits. They are usually short-lived and mostly hit me when I need to sit down and focus my mental energy. I stopped fighting them when I was in college because I realized it was part of the dance I needed to do before I sat down to write the term paper or study for an exam.

  4. Merri Beth Bass

    Loved reading this!! While I tend to lean more towards the spic and span species, I never judge those who, like yourself, have chosen a “higher calling.” My daughter has three primary aged boys and her house usually is in need of a good dusting,too. But thank Goodness she has seen hER mommy role as one of,if not the most, important roles she will ever play! Kudos to you. I love your style~Merri Beth

    • Pennie Nichols Post author

      Thanks, Merri Beth. I think both ends of the spectrum are necessary. Sometimes people like your daughter and I need an orderly place to visit so we can recover from our chaos. Thanks for reading.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *