Discover more from Rosefinch Mercantile
It actually can't rain all the time
Five things that are making me happy right now
I didn’t intend this newsletter to be so heavy! I guess I’ve just had a lot of bottlenecked emotions in my head for the last year — and once I started sharing those emotions, it turned into a firehose of angst.
I’m using the past tense here as if I’m over it, but the truth is last weekend I typed another several hundred overwrought words and intended to post them, but then I realized I was just stressing myself out.
I am not someone who thinks that the only way to have gravitas is to be a total bummer, and I’ve been thinking a lot about why Jennifer Tatroe stopped writing 750 words first thing in the morning every day (and what she does instead).In that entry, she talked about how focusing on the things causing her the most anxiety just seemed to cement the hold these worries had on her.
I am sure I will write more soon about challenges we’re having, but I don’t want that to be all that I do. So as a bit of a reset button, I’m just going to tell you five things that are making me happy right now.
If you are here for the misery (I know there are a couple of you who are!), you might wanna skip this one. But if your tolerance for hard-fought frivolity is high, please consider subscribing (if you haven’t already!) and then reading.
The people in this community we’ve moved to. A week and a half ago, I wrote something really vulnerable about worrying I will never feel like I belong in our new town. A couple of days later, a local man read my words and was moved to make a Facebook post about me that more than one person described as “totally unhinged”.
I’m proud to report that I only skimmed the first couple of lines of what he wrote — and I read nothing of the comments that followed. But I got the gist from a few friends (and Haritha, who did his best to defend me and us). It sounds like it was both unsurprising and pretty terrible.
At first the whole thing sent me into a massive anxiety spiral, even without reading it. But then I had such a lovely outpouring of support. Cliché as this sounds, it was actually like the sun coming out after months of grey skies — which to be fair, also actually happened.
Some folks invited me over for tea, others shared their own experiences with the people who were lashing out towards me, and one person even stopped me on the street to tell me that she also moved around a lot as a kid and it was really hard. It’s kind of lovely that as a result of someone trying to put me in my place, I feel more at home than ever.
This man. My sweet Haritha — seen here blissed out and hugging a neighbour’s dog in our backyard — is without question the most consistent source of joy in my life. In addition to having my back with cranks online, he sings me nonsense songs, cooks me delicious meals, and regularly asks me if I’d still love him if he was a spider (affirmative).
I’m so blown away by how much he has rolled with the punches since we got here (including some pretty serious punches), and by his ability to adjust to his unrecognizable life.
After only ever knowing what it was like to be in a huge multicultural city, he now lives in a community of only 200 people — most of whom are white. After spending most of his time alone for six years, he now wakes up every day with me and several cats barnacled onto him. After years managing a busy bar on Dundas West, he is now on the path to be a small town shopkeeper. After living the bulk of his life in high-rises, he is now having to learn how to keep a 100+ year old building chugging along.
Watching him take on some very intimidating renovation projects (like removing a truly unlikely number of floor layers) makes me so overwhelmed with feelings of love and awe and gratitude. How did I get so lucky??
These floors. Okay, this one is kind of a mixed bag, because replacing the warped and chipped pine veneer flooring is going to be a much bigger (read: more expensive) project than we’d anticipated. We pulled up a small area of it a few months ago, and found perfectly serviceable plywood sub-floor underneath. In the absence of any other data, we figured that was what we’d find under all of it.
Wrong! It turned out that under that veneer, about 90% of the floor is covered in the grossest grey industrial carpet that is glued to random bits of wood of various sizes.
But under one 250 square foot patch in the front of the store was what felt like a miracle: Green and white checkerboard floor (above left) that exactly matches The Pie Hole (above right), the fictional pie shop that was my entire inspiration for how I wanted this place to look.
I concede that the tiles are very likely asbestos (we are currently awaiting test results), which means pulling up this fourth (!) layer of flooring is going to be complex and cost more money that we don’t have. But at the same time, it really feels like the more we look after this building, the more it looks after us — and these tiles feel like a little nod that we’re on the right track with our vision.
This cat. Cinnamon Bun (aka Bun Bun, aka Bunnamon Jones) is such a perfect creature. And even though this will sound bananas to anyone who knows how obsessed I am with all of my cats, I think I sometimes take her for granted. She’s the only one of our cats — the only cat I’ve ever had — that arrived happy and well-adjusted.
I always seek out the cats no one else wants, but after our sweet Sam died we needed to get Leo a playmate, and Leo is so neurotic that we felt this playmate needed to be outgoing enough for the both of them. It worked, and they were happily chasing each other around within hours of meeting, and she’s been helping him be more brave ever since.
But because Bun Bun is so friendly with literally everyone, I think it hasn’t always felt as meaningful when she comes to me for snuggles. A while back Haritha said “She loves you so much” and I kind of waved it off. But then he pointed out how she spends so much of her day completely glued to me. And when he tries to pick her up — to let me finish my work when she’s pacing on my keyboard — she scrambles to get back in my lap and will not be dissuaded. She’s very devoted in a way I didn’t even notice.
I dunno. I think there is a good lesson for me in not feeling like love means more if it doesn’t feel easily given.
These window films. (Currently buy one get one free!) This might seem like a shameless attempt to monetize this newsletter, but hear me out.
First of all it’s not shameless! I feel at least mildly ashamed whenever I share a link to the online store — to the point where I think we are going to shut it down for a bit at the end of April. Hopefully by then I will have enough steady freelance work that we won’t need the extra income. This will also let Haritha be able to redirect the time he was spending on mail-orders on more pressing construction projects.
Second of all, these window films are actually pretty rad. On a sunny day, the rainbows cast are truly startling, and I love it when people send me pictures and / or tag me in pictures of the sun (and sometimes even the moon!) shining through these films. It’s making a lot of my far-away friends seem a bit closer. ❦
What five things are making you happier right now?
I’m not putting this newsletter behind a paywall (though the archives will be at some point!), but we still do need to pull a lot of money together to make this whole crazy plan come together. If you’d like to pitch in, you can subscribe at $5 a month!
Rosefinch Mercantile is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.