Sunday, March 29, 2009

On Making Do

During the times of World War II, my grandma Dorothy would paint her legs black with shoe polish every Sunday for church to mimic the look of hose. She'd even draw a line up the backs of her legs for the seam. The generation that lived through that time made do with what they had, and even though my own generation is spoiled in comparison, I am always pleasantly surprised at the creative things people will do to get by with what they've got. Once my brother Jimmy and his family visited us in Portland, and both of his adorable sons were impressively in a good mood after the 3 hour drive from Seattle. As I helped unload the car I noted a portable DVD player, duct taped backwards to the front seat console to allow the boys to watch cartoons.

As a teenager, I once rode with Jimmy in the "farm pickup" to irrigate the fields. As I shut the passenger side door it swung back open immediately. Jimmy reached over and hooked a bungie cord from his door to mine to keep them closed. It worked well for the job at hand.

Financial strain is an obvious reason for making do. I see this frequently when doing physical exams on my patients in clinic. I've seen newborns wearing clothes for a 6 month old, frayed bras held together with safety pins, suspenders holding up pants that are 4 sizes too big.

Laziness is another common culprit. I've been wearing my last pair of 2 week disposable contacts for the past 3 months, simply because the thought of finding a new optometrist, scheduling an appointment at a convenient time, etc. etc. takes too much energy.

Recently Leonard's cell phone malfunctioned for a few days. He was able to hear me but I couldn't hear him. Luckily, I could hear the beeping sound made when he would push a button on the keypad.

Our conversations went something like this:

Me: Hi sweetheart, are you on your way to pick me up? Press a button once for yes and twice for no.

Him: Beep.

Me: Oh, that's nice. I had a pretty good day today, I'm almost done with my charts. I was thinking about Cuban Mojito chicken for dinner, what do you think? Press a button once if you think this sounds good.

Him: Beep.

Me: Great! Are you very far away? Press a button once if you are more than 5 minutes away, twice if you're closer than that.

Him: Beep, Beep.

Me: Oh, I didn't realize that! Are you in the parking lot right now waiting for me? Press a button once for yes.

Him: Beep.

Me: Oh, o.k. I love you. Press a button if you love me too.

Him: Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!

Me (laughing): Aw, shucks. I'll be right out. Press a button once for goodbye.

Him: Beep.

Me: Goodbye.


Mandalynn said...

You two crack me up. I can't wait to see you in a few short days!! (okay, 10ish days, but still!)

kaitlin said...

okay seriously you two are so darling. what a funny story.

leonard said...


Shannon Farmer said...

Thanks for not mentioning the multi-colored blocks on the side of the dvd player and the wire baking rack used to keep it level. That would have been going over the edge of making do!