I woke up with the hint of a cold, under an unusually grey sky. Even when work does not beckon, a guilty factor starts to seep in and prevents me from staying in bed past 8 am. There is so much around the house that needs to be done and that keeps being postponed for (my) very valid reasons.
After breakfast, in a burst of energy, I wash all the winter blankets (even if rain and cold are predicted for the rest of the week); clean the A/C filter (on which I notice, for the first time in 8 years, the sticker that says “clean once a month” – well, I get to it once a year); sweep the balcony; vacuum and generally clean up the kitchen; water the outside plants (I know, it’s going to rain but it makes me feel better) where I notice an empty flower box outside the bedroom. I could cut a geranium from the garden and re-pot it but I have no idea how such things are done – I could win an award for the most ignorant gardener in California. My plants flourish because the weather conditions are foolproof.
ehow.com shows me how such things are done, step by step, but I don’t recognize half the words and tools so, on my way back from the grocery store, I stop to pick up an already rooted geranium for $5. I believe it was a wise investment that saved me time and headaches – of the garden variety ones.
At the end of the day, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Is this what my mother felt at the end of every day, while we were growing up? I learnt to despise housewives early in life (sorry, Ann Romney). As a sneering teen-ager, I wondered what purpose or meaning women, like my mother, could find in keeping house, feeding brats, ferry them to all sorts of activities and start over the next day. I knew I wasn’t born for many things: becoming a sailor, a mathematician or a housewife never made my top 100 list.
(Un)fortunately for me, when I left home I realized I couldn’t live without a decent home-cooked meal once in a while and that a less than spotless bathroom gave me the creeps, both factors which pushed me to learn the basics of cooking and cleaning (that was after the cereal and milk dinner phase that lasted a good five years).
As I plunged my nose in the stack of freshly laundered blankets, nearly a lifetime later, I am asking myself whether anything has changed. I am preternaturally grumbling that I don’t have enough time to get anything done/fixed/ironed/organized around my house. Would I be happier if I could spend my days ensconced here, organizing linen by color, labelling spices, alphabetizing books? All secret quests of mine.
I love my house – and it works reasonably well because I happen to be a highly organized individual but, if I could stay home, a lot more could be done. Would I ever learn to fix the plumbing, paint walls and knit? Would I actually want to? Probably not. But, like all secret fantasies, I like to keep them alive and stashed for a rainy day.