Giving Thanks for Woodland Creature Wins

Thankfulness, I haz it. I’m off work today, ensconced in easy pants and surrounded by kitties and bunnies, and tomorrow is Thanksgiving. All fine reasons for gratitude.

This is the new kitten, Smidgen, who was found in the forest and deserves his own entry at a future date. He alternates between wild creature attacking anything that moves, lap cat, and scarf cat. I’m not sure “scarf cat” is even a thing, but don’t try telling him that. He is inventing it.

Smidgen

But I have to tell you, the “surrounded by bunnies” part of that sentence did not come easily. The rabbits with me today are here only thanks to the hard work and dedication of three people who put their lives on hold to get them. I can now say that I’ve won the bunny jackpot, but I could not have accomplished this win alone.

Sometimes in life, we have a deep, internal passion that drives us to go for a win, but other times, it takes some external coaching–even needling–to motivate us to do our very best.

Which brings us to those hard-won bunnies. I have to back up to a lazy Sunday afternoon in October, when I was doing some Christmas window shopping online. I found myself on the Anthropologie website and made the life-altering decision to type in the search term “bunny.”

In addition to the rabbit-shaped drawer pulls, coat hooks, and door knockers I knew they sold (many of which—I must confess—can already be found in our home), I happened upon two new, glorious, online only products: curtain rod finials and curtain tiebacks shaped like rabbits.

tiebacks

finials

I gasped, I awwwed, I had sticker shock. Which pretty much sums up my entire experience with this particular retailer. I thought of a few people on my Christmas list who might want these items, but, earlybird and shopping aficionado that I am, I’d already purchased presents for them. So instead, I really had no choice but to put them on my own online wish list and cross my fingers that someone would take the bait and get them for me.

My husband said, “Just buy them!” but I had zero justification for such a frivolous purchase.

Weeks passed, and I couldn’t stop thinking about those little metal rabbits.

They haunted my daydreams, their little faces glaring disapprovingly at my current living room decor. They robbed me of the peace I had known back in the simpler days of, say, September, when I was safely cloistered in a blissfully ignorant parallel universe in which I had never ONCE gotten excited by drapery hardware. The leaf-shaped finials on the curtain rod in the living room that I had carefully selected and once thought were pretty now mocked me with their blatant un-bunny-ness.

“We could actually use a tieback for the curtain to the sliding glass door,” I said to my husband one day. “That would help you when you’re carrying things out to the porch to grill.”

“Buy it!”

“It’s on my wish list. Someone will get it for me,” I countered.

“Christmas is over two months away. What if it sells out?”

He was good. In my heart, I knew he was right, that if these tiebacks sold out, I would be left wrestling endlessly and painfully with my bitter regrets and with my sloppy, unfettered curtains. I said, “But it’s so overpriced.”

Brandon, being the master motivator and coach who drives me to be my best self every day, asked me the question that would alter the course of our lives forever: “Do you love woodland creatures, or do you just say you love woodland creatures?”

I have a lot of flaws, but one thing about me that you cannot call into question is my adoration of cute, fluffy creatures. Young or old, sick or well, alone or in a group, in front of the boss or not, if I see a dog or a cat or a finial shaped like a bunny head, I am going to squee and lose my composure. My mom says as an infant I would reach out from the stroller to try to pet any dog within reach, and when I’m on my deathbed many decades from now (hopefully), if one of y’all don’t bring me a therapy dog or cat or some other animal to love on in my final hours, I may have to come back and haunt you all. Love of creatures is my essential nature, the one thing left when all other trappings of identity and existence are stripped away.

It hit me that a world where adorable, bunny-shaped finials and curtain tiebacks existed but where I declined to buy them would be a world that had ceased to make any sense. My refusing to purchase an object so perfectly designed for me could very well cause a rift in the universe as we know it and send us all spiraling into a chaotic realm—a realm where there is absolutely no causation, no rhyme or reason for anything that happens, where two plus two equals five, or where up is down and you live on the ceiling, or where all cake and ice cream taste like liver and onions and squid, or where Donald Trump is President of the United States.

So when I took that piece of Lepus-shaped hardware off my wish list, put it into my shopping basket, added the finials for good measure, and clicked “buy now,” I wasn’t just doing it for me. I did it for us all. You’re welcome.

The box arrived and I opened it with breathless excitement. The bunnies were even cuter in person! It was only upon closer inspection that I realized that instead of being in the happy-ever-after denouement of this particular plot, I was still, in fact, climbing up the slope of rising action.

Complication #1: I accidentally ordered the wrong-facing rabbit tieback. I needed a tieback for the right side of the sliding door, so I chose the size “right,” which hindsight proved to be clearly wrong.

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White I admit the rabbit is still cute and quite the conversation piece in this position, I wasn’t sure how guests would feel about the whole bunny-bum-in-your-face effect.

But I’m no dim damsel, helpless in the face of a pesky plot twist. I would just exchange the “right” bunny for a “left” one.

That was my plan for a solid 48 hours. Then the sneaky, mind-reading, data-mining marketing wizards at Anthropologie just so happened to email me a promo code for free shipping and I thought, why must this be an either/or situation? Must left battle right, keeping us trapped in this false dichotomy? A tieback for both sides would make the most sense, in terms of symmetry, of maximizing the woodland creature to human ratio, and of me not having to make a trip to the P.O.

With taxes and shipping, at this point I was already in over a hundred bucks for the one tieback and the two finials. I hesitated to sink more money into this questionable investment, but my husband’s prod echoed in my head. Did I really love woodland creatures or was it just a lie I was telling myself? Did I want chaos to reign supreme? Thirty-eight dollars is a small price to pay for order in the universe.

I got online and ordered the left bunny. Bam. Complication resolved.

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Complication #2: The screw to affix the bunny finials to the existing curtain rod were maybe twice the diameter of the leaf finials that the bunnies were supposed to replace.

No biggie. We’d go to the hardware store and get a thicker curtain rod, and surely that would be that.

We scoured the inventories of several big box home improvement stores to no avail. Finial screw sizes, as it turns out, are pretty standard, and these bunnies were way out of line with that standard. I knew we had reached the hopeless Dark Moment of the plot when Brandon looked at me under the cold, harsh fluorescent lights of the Home Depot and said, “I think you’re just going to have to send them back.”

But how could I send them back, as if they were a pair of jeans that didn’t fit, when, in the history of humankind, there never existed two things that fit together more perfectly than rabbit-shaped finials and me? I might as well box up and send back my heart, my hopes and dreams. These two little fixtures, in that moment, were the only things holding together the fabric of the universe and bringing meaning and order into the existence of all sentient creatures. This was just a ruse, the final test being thrown at me by the master. I was not about to fail.

I texted my friend and colleague Elizabeth, fellow critter aficionado, master researcher, and solver of all problems. She was like, “You are not giving up on those bunnies. Not on my watch.” She got online, pulled its dimensions, sent a couple links to curtain rods that looked to be compatible. Her husband Taylor got drawn into the drama, looked at the pictures, and said our problem could be solved with his tap and die set.

“Bring me a curtain rod and the rabbit heads, and leave the rest to me,” he said.

I hesitated. It sounded like a complicated undertaking and too much to ask, but they assured me he’d be glad to do it and, after all, this problem was bigger than me. It was bigger than any one of us. Bunny heads were hanging in the balance. Infinitely grateful, I agreed.

We procured an appropriate staff worthy of festooning with rabbit heads. Taylor whisked everything off to his magic workshop and quickly discovered the heart of the problem: these were no ordinary, provincial bunnies. The screw size on them was metric.

Of course! If you are the type of person who is going to design and create bunny head finials for curtain rods, you want to bring your bit of brilliance and wonder to the broadest possible audience and include as much of the world as possible. So, naturally, you use the system of measure accepted by all but three countries on the planet. Majority rule is only fair. That’s what we crass Americans get for our stubborn adherence to the imperial system of measure. We deserve to get left with nothing to cap our curtain rods but knobs and spheres and swirls.

But Taylor was fully on Team Bunny and was not about to be defeated by a system of measures based on logic and easily divisible increments. He went out and found a metric-sized thingamajig, tapped and died away, and conjured up the fully functional rabbit-tipped curtain rod that now presides majestically over the sliding glass doors to our porch.

IMG_4989

The rabbits now look down in approval of the effort it took to get them there and in admiration of the rabbit hook my sweet husband affixed to the end table and the two, correct-facing rabbit tiebacks he put up just underneath their gaze.

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I haven’t done the math to calculate the total cost involved in both raw materials and labor hours to achieve these most recent additions to the woodland creature motif we have going on in our little treehouse, but it was worth it.

The bunnies in their long-eared, stately splendor are daily reminders that any win of consequence takes a team of people to achieve, and that only makes the victory sweeter. I feel infinitely thankful for those who challenge and encourage me, who brighten my life daily, and who are there to help make my dreams, whether sublime or silly, become reality.

What more could anyone ask for?

vixen

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