It's the most wonderful time of the year: four days of decorating wreaths for the Garden Club of the Back Bay. I've gathered my tools — apron, gloves, pliers, pruners, hand cream, surgical tape to protect my fingers, ice-water bottle. The club provides everything else, including Crisco to clean our hands, meals, spray paint, and everything you'd ever want to wire onto a wreath.
Last night, I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve. A decade ago, I never would have imagined that anything one could do in a church basement would be so much fun.
A couple of weeks ago, I was diagnosed with mild osteoarthritis in both hands, in the joints between the thumb and wrist. I'd been hurting for a long while, but figured it was tendinitis from too much cell phone use or something, and thought it would go away with rest and ice. It didn't. When I learned it isn't curable, and that I could be hurting for life, I was not happy.
I was even less happy when my doctor recommended that I stop decorating wreaths; she knew I'd hurt my hand doing it a few years ago.
I was even more unhappy because it was Election Day. I'd had a strong feeling of foreboding all day. At 9 pm, I put on my PJs, turned our fan machine up load to block out election reports, and went to bed with a magazine. (It was the October 10 New Yorker and I'm still reading that damned thing. I should have been caught up by now, but that magazine won't quit.)
Last week, I saw a physical therapist about my foot, which has plantar fasciitis. (Yes, I am falling apart and that was before I walked smack into a plate-glass door a few days ago and killed my knee). We spent most of the 90-minute appointment discussing my hands. She has similar osteoarthritis and told me I can help it to go away. She gave me tiny, goofy hand and thumb exercises to do, and I am taking anti-inflammatories in preparation for the week.
I'm hoping I can figure out how to decorate wreaths without hurting myself. There are surely gentler techniques I can try instead of ramming florist's picks into the branches with brute force. If I can't work in a way that doesn't hurt, I'll surrender. But I can still sweep, sort, serve food, guide newbies, help with quality control, or deliver wreaths.
My other eight fingers are crossed that it goes well. Please cross some of your digits for me.
Stay tuned for wreath photos very soon.