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4:58 p.m. - 2005-05-31

Bitter Sweet Hobbies

Hobbies ….?

What’s your hobby? What got you started with it? Is it an expensive hobby? What would you like to do as a hobby if you don’t have one?

Hobbies are something that are very present in our house at the moment. Many of you know that I love all things rubber. No – not THAT kind of rubber. I love, love, love to work with THIS kind of rubber. I have been enjoying the world of rubberstamping for over 15 years. It started out simply enough – I saw a Christmas card at a craft show and said “I can do that!” Found the stall that sold “that!” and immediately got hooked.

Somewhere, mid way through the path of those 15 years I tried a brief stint of teaching at home parties (a local store took me on). Reaching the realization that if I sold product and got a commission, I could keep myself in the stamping style I would like to become accustomed too. Not only that, but doing this kind of work deemed me self employed and I could apply for additional tax credits. I.e. all the chattel (an article of movable personal property) I have ever bought was listed as business equipment. The calculation and itemizing coming to quite a far sum of money.

Yes – this has ended up being a very expensive hobby. But not as expensive a Yacht Racing, or say - multi-carat precious gem collecting. It is safe to say that my hobby is in a more fiscally responsible range.

But that’s not the reason I launched into this topic today. I wanted to share my husbands newly revisited hobby - HO scale trains.

For as long as I’ve known my husband there has always been a large, old, black steamer trunk in his/our dwelling. And I clearly recall very early on in our dating, the evening that he reverently shared the contents of this trunk with me.

Many, many years ago his mother asked him what he might like to collect for a hobby. Not being a man to have previously adopted some form of frivolous entrapment, he hesitated for only a moment, and then replied “Trains. I’d like to start collecting trains.” And the birth of a new avocation was started.

Unfortunately, this is a hobby that requires a great deal of space, so as the new pieces came in, more quickly than not they went into the black trunk for future playing. T did put the occasional store, train car, or paraphernalia together, but its outings were also short lived due to space, or business at school.

Last month was T’s birthday, and from a variety of sources he received moolah (aka - cold hard cash). He’s been bemoaning the fact that he can’t set out any of his trains, and can’t find a place to work if he could. He realized that IF he purchased a smaller scale of train (N scale) then he could easily set up a round track and train on our coffee table in the living room. This would give him his missing, much needed choo-choo fix. The hunt came to a head and a victory after an entire Saturday afternoon spent at the local scale train collector’s haunt.

Now – almost two weeks later – we have an N scale train and track set up on our kitchen table, AND a new vibrancy and energy from the man I love. He recently found an old table top we will never use and is in the process of transforming it into a train yard (for his HO scale trains) consisting of multiple tracks with a few spurs leading off to the end of the world (or the end of the table – which ever way you want to look at it). This project has completely consumed him for over three days now. He comes home from work, habitually greets me with a kiss, wonders “what’s for dinner?”, then I lose him to his new mistress.

I don’t know whether to be happy he’s happy or extremely jealous over an inanimate object. Either way – I miss my hubby. I have also now tasted the bitter fruits of how my T felt when I whisked myself away on a creative spurt, barely coming up for air or food.

Did I mention that his freshly revisited hobby is also very expensive? It is, believe me – it is!

Cheers - LJ

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