Friday, May 14, 2010

New Expectations Arise...I Sink Beneath Them

From the moment I married my husband (who, after sixteen years of stacked dishes and laundry mountains, continues to come here after work), I set about becoming a domestic goddess. The only problem with this worthy goal was that I had only one cookbook, that being a ratty paperback copy of the standard Betty Crocker collection. I managed to pull from its bland pages a pretty dern good lasagna recipe. I also made a chicken pasta primavera my husband would actually eat, the recipe yanked from those same sacrosant pages. The tome was soon sauce splattered as I tried meatloaf concoctions and other hearty, albeit unsophisticated creations. He ate them. I loved it! I sometimes lit candles on our hand-me-down table or tuned whatever archaic music-playing device we had working at the time to classical. I tried to make our apartment a home. I even purchased a rabbit at the mall, who used to run figure-eights around my feet in a mating dance of some sort. I kept him on the back patio of our ground floor, one-bedroom apartment. He would escape from time to time, darting in and out among the cars in the parking lot. Once, as I was dressing for one of a succession of menial jobs I worked in the beginning, a flood of residents leaving for work stopped by my apartment to say "Your rabbit's loose." I suppose Gary noticed rather early on that, despite my love of homey decor and scented candles, I was remiss with cleaning chores. I just hardly ever got to that dern bathroom with that bucket of supplies, stopping along the way to answer the phone, yell "WHAT IN THE WORLD???" as a news story caught my attention on the television, look out the window and remark "Is that man REALLY wearing that to work?" while hopping on my heels to keep my wet toenails from smudging. Wearying of my career trials I remarked to my husband "Maybe I'll just be a housewife." "No," he said, laughing heartily. "YOU will never be a housewife." I have now been a housewife for thirteen full years.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I am Emancipated from Expectations

From the moment I was cut loose from my parents' home, and from the scrutiny of dorm roommates at college...I flat out REVELED in my housekeeping freedom. I literally carpeted the floor of my apartment at LSU with clothes, enjoying the cushy softness as I padded back and forth working on my graduate studies, drinking coffee and sashaying in and out to class and my very interesting job writing feature stories for the LSU News Service, a division of the LSU Office of Public Relations. I stacked dishes on the counters whenever I so desired. I washed them when the mood struck. The freedom was intoxicating. NO ONE, and I do mean NO ONE ever said to me "YOU GET IN THERE AND DON'T YOU COME OUT UNTIL THAT PLACE IS CLEAN." I was deliriously happy. My first job, back in my hometown, led to my second apartment home. Again, no roommates. Again, housekeeping heaven. It was do-it-at-your-pace luxury 24/7. On Saturdays I read books, hung out with friends or talked on the phone. I don't ever remember dusting that joint. In my defense, I WAS using a faded couch that had been on someone's sun porch and some industrial/type plastic and metal chairs for the kitchen. I have no idea where that ratty table originated. I was a reporter for a local T.V. station. When my photographer left for law school, they hired me to shoot my own video, without raising my pay. I worked during the day, and played in the evenings. I ate every meal out. I was completely impoverished in the domestic skills department. It was during this eighteen-month period that I met my husband. We were married within six months of our first date. We had a falling-out at some point prior to entering into marital bliss. I was so distraught I left work early that day. When my soon-to-be-husband stopped by my apartment after work, he was astonished to see me CLEANING with a vengeance. This sight was so unnatural, I believe it unnerved him to the point that he was subdued into smoothing things over on the spot. I guess he reasoned that there was just no telling what was next. I might enter chiropractic school in Tacoma Washington or fly to the West Indies with the Peace Corps. Anything was possible at that point.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Welcome to My Confessional

Each of us, no matter how driven in certain pursuits which capture our fancy, no matter how valiantly we excel in the areas which matter most to us, has a motivational Achilles heel lodged somewhere in our existence. This is an area of our lives in which we are absolutely without motivation. We look about us, and there is none to be had. We look within, nothing. Despite the best of intentions, we are unable to harness Motivation for the particular task or set of endeavors, throwing our lassoes hard in her direction as she gallops past. We usually swallow dust and hide in secret misery over that one particular failing. We do well at this portion of our lives ONLY in fits and starts. The people close to us cheer long and loudly when they see us rise, like a Phoenix from the ashes of our torpor. This powers us along for a moment. Next moment, disaster...usually the start of a cycle; downfall, temporary shame, anger, indifference, denial, (sometimes belligerence), pride, secret shame, open shame and, alas (this is exhausting, isn't it) defeat. Then comes the glorious overcoming, loudly cheered....and, as the enthusiasm wanes in our own hearts, the dread cycle starts anew. My particular private hades of failure is HOUSEWORK.

The tender roots of this horrid stronghold began as a child when, in response to a parent's calls for a chore to begin, I would hide, stockstill behind the bed or other large object, like a wild animal attempting to blend. Once found, I would object, then set about grudging doing dishes or whatever was asked. THIS WAS BORING. I hated it with a fervor that frightens me, in retrospect. I was a good student and enjoyed many other forms of work. I have always been puzzled by my hatred of the broom, metaphorically speaking.

This blog is intended to chronicle my rise from the swamps of a motivational quagmire. I will attempt to make you laugh at my shortcomings and offer you hope through scripture and personal experience. You may even feel better about yourself after reading about me! Please feel free to offer ANY quick-clean/organizing tips as we go!