Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thoughts and Musings: Rationalizing my daily life

  What do I do all day?  Let's start with what I did this morning so far.  I've cleaned the kitchen, started bread (it's currently rising), started chicken stock (it's currently simmering), made myself a bite to eat (munching on it while I'm typing), decided on a dinner plan, amended my grocery list, and made a start on organizing the refrigerator's freezer.  After I finish my brunch, and this little note, I'm going to check on my stock, strain it, bag it, label it, and freeze it.  By that time my bread should have finished rising, so I'll start a loaf proofing and put the rest in the fridge for another baking tomorrow or the next day.  After that, I'll sweep the floors, and maybe putter around straightening up before it's time to start dinner so I can have it ready by the time B gets home from work this evening.  

I feel like I do work a bit.  The time spent in the kitchen honestly feels more like play time than work time, and I think that's part of where I feel the most guilt in this housewife gig.  Work shouldn't be fun, my brain says.  You should do more work, the little nag on my right shoulder says.  Making stuff for the house, like rugs, curtains, pillows, etc. doesn't seem much like work.  Those are hobbies, not jobs.  Cleaning feels like work, but honestly I am just no the best shakes at that.  

My Gramma used to have a plate that hung on the kitchen wall.  It said something to the effect of:
May my kitchen be clean enough to be healthy, but dirty enough to be happy.  

Her entire house was like that.  Not that Gramma was a slob, but she was a clutterbug.  She kept things.  Anything could be a souvenir.  I am just as bad.  Sometimes I look around my house at the things that could look nicer, or I see how a neighbor's house looks and figure I could do better, or I see pictures like this:

I feel a little guilty wondering why my living room never seems to look so nice.  Then I wonder who in the world could live there and have no accumulation.  No detritus of human existence floating around.  No project in the works, no book laying out half read, no shoes kicked off laying like floundered fish on the carpet.  Nothing.  My living room is kind of junky.  It's not stylish.  It's not neat and orderly.  There are pillows that don't match on the couches.  As Katie would say "they go", but they don't match by a long stretch.  I made one, my Gramma made one, and my Great Aunt Annie made the other all at various times through the history of my life.  One of those pillows is almost 30 years old.  So, they don't match, it's not polished, but it's definitely mine.  No one else has those particular pillows on their couches.  There's stuff stacked at odd angles, some of it precariously on the tops of the bookshelves, on the cedar chest cum entry bench, on the desks and entertainment center.  People live in here.  

I actually have been slowly paring down the stuff.  It's taking time, because I am remarkably attached to some of my stuff, and B can't give me straight answers half the time to what he wants to do with his stuff.  But it is happening, slowly.  

I still feel vaguely like I just don't do enough.  I feel like maybe if I did enough, I'd look around and think "it sure looks nice in here" instead of "gee look at all that stuff.  What should I do with it?"  I feel like, since this is what I do -- this is my job -- I ought to keep it nicer.  Then I think about what I do with my time, the stuff I make, the meals I prepare, the longcuts I take that save money in the long run, and the quality of life right now versus how it might prospectively be if I were to wear myself out constantly trying to keep the house just so.  The nagging that would ensue as I tried to get B and the Pup to keep it just so.  The irritability that would likely be a constant cloud around me like Pig Pen's cloud of funk.  

No thanks.  I think I'll keep my clean but cluttered spaces.  Besides, I don't always look around and think my house is junky.  Sometimes I look around and laugh at myself, because it reminds me a lot of my Gramma's style of clean.  My idea of what is acceptable and what is not might change if I ever have to worry about a kid running around.  But right now, I think I'll take it like it is.  On that note, I better go check on that chicken stock, and it won't be long before my dough is ready.  

I have a recipe to share later today, but it'll have to wait until I get another free moment.


  1. Methinks you are starting to 'get it'...Homemaking is a vocation, not a vacation and it is work but it's FUN too. Keep thinking and you'll finally have it worked down into your soul, kneaded in so to speak...

  2. :-)

    B brought home some fliers today about a job fair in a few days. I want to talk to him about it, first. There are so many complications that could come up if I get a regular job (transportation and time management just being two of them), and a lot of the changes would probably affect B the most. I think he's getting used to this dinner ready, lunches packed, laundry magically reappearing in drawers thing. But, another steady income would be a big help with my student loans. It's like a balancing act. Where is the balance between quality of life and financial stability?


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