Last night, Doug and I went to his mom’s house, to have dinner, spend quality time with his family, and – okay, I admit it – wash his truck and do some laundry.  While he took care of the truck, I carried a laundry basket into the laundry room…  then stood there and stared at the machine.

Actually, laundry is one of the few household tasks I consider myself to be good at.  Or at least one of the few I enjoy.  In college, I used to love heading off to the laundromat with a book and a pocketful of quarters, prepared to spend the afternoon listening to white noise and smelling fabric softener.  But every machine is different, and household machines aren’t as self-explanatory as the ones in the laundromat, so I stared at Doug’s mom’s washer, wondering in what order I should put things into it (clothes then water then soap?  water then soap then clothes?), and what the hell that little plastic ball in the bottom of the drum was for.

Doug’s 12-year-old sister came in to help me – only she’s never done laundry a day in her life yet, so we struggled to figure it out together, until finally the lady of the house herself came in, announcing her presence with, “I understand the 12-year-old not knowing how to do laundry, but…”  And then she showed me, step-by-step, how to load and start her washing machine.  Ridiculously embarrassing.

I then spent all day today with my friend Amanda, who is, in my estimation anyway, something of a perfect little housewife.  Her home is clean, organized, and beautifully decorated.  She cooks and bakes.  She spends her evenings reading while her husband (who builds rockets by day) practices his music.  She works full time, studies, and somehow still finds time to make their bed every morning.  Doug and I never make our bed; in fact, our whole bedroom is pretty much just a dumping ground for clothes, books, and random stuff which has no designated place in our apartment.

I don’t know how Amanda does it.*  I suppose working something closer to bankers’ hours doesn’t hurt, but I can’t blame everything on my job.  And I have other friends with lovely homes and culinary talents, and I’m dumbfounded by all of them, too.  When I come home from work, the last thing I want to do is more work.  Before I go to work, same thing.  On my days off, likewise.

Unlike my mom, and apparently most of my friends, I just wasn’t born with a gift for the marital arts.  I have other talents – writing, singing, foreign languages, empathizing, giving advice – but not these talents that I feel I need in order to meet my goals of wife/mother/renaissance woman extraordinaire.  Amanda’s offered to help me cultivate them – today, she gave me the following cleaning tips: “Oh yeah, you have to clean the bathroom like once a week.  And put Comet in the sink every night after you do the dishes.”  It was like she was speaking a foreign language, and not the kind of foreign languages I’m quick to pick up.  So I’ll be depending on her charity, and hopefully the charity of some of my other home-adept friends as well, if I ever hope to become less domestically hopeless.

Last night after dinner, Doug’s mom was joking around with him about Valentine’s Day.  “Make sure you do it right,” she playfully threatened him.

“What do you want me to do, propose?” he asked.

“No no, that’s not what I meant.  Although, it would be okay if you did.  I like her.”

Apparently, my inability to instinctively operate a washer, at age 28, is not a deal-breaker for my future mother-in-law.  And believe me, I know how valuable that is.

*In fairness, Amanda mentioned to me today that she doesn’t know how I manage to find something to write about every day, that I can spin to fit my theme.  But it’s easy: I’m obsessed.

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10 Responses to Housewifery

  1. mommyodyssey says:

    LOL. I really relate. I am an awesome cook, but I am a total slob and can’t clean anything properly for the life of me. My hubby sucks at it too. For now, I’m counting on miraculously becoming filthy rich and hiring a maid. Though I’m assuming eventually I will have no choice but to understand that “dusting” doesn’t mean staring at the dust on your bookshelf and saying “I should really do something about that.” and “washing the floor” does not mean running a swiffer on places when you spill stuff.

    • Marie says:

      I would love a maid. But what I’ve learned from growing up in a rich neighborhood, is that you have to clean before the maid comes. So then what’s the point?!

      I love your definition of dusting. I am, as I type, looking around the apartment thinking things like, “We should clean the rabbit cages,” and, “I think that clean laundry belongs in the bedroom, not all over the living room floor.”

  2. Elphaba says:

    Clean the bathroom once a week?!! No way.

    I’m terrible at cleaning too–luckily Mr. M is a bit more anal about it and does the dishes every night at least.

  3. Amanda says:

    In all honesty to me and all fairness to you… I think there is definitely an OCD component to my house. For example, yesterday, all I could think about was the one book that was sitting on top of the others and my dishes in the sink. It also helps that Jeff is the same way, and often will start to clean, then I feel like I am not doing my duties as wife and help or take over or just do it in the first place (the next time). You are also right to kind of blame it on TJ’s, because having a consistent work schedule that fits your internal clock really helps.
    Needless to say, I am SO excited about your next project 😉

    • Marie says:

      Me too! We’ll have to finish setting up the rules/parameters. And I’ll need a timeline. I mean, I can’t go balls-out and do that FOREVER, can I? I think my soul would die. The idea is to form some good habits that can be toned down for future, more practical use…

  4. Dawn says:

    My house used to be pretty tidy all the time. But now, the minute after I clean, there is ovaltine milk splatter and goldfish crackers everywhere. And you’re so right….Joe thinks I’m nuts when I’m up until 2 am , cleaning before the maids come. Well have to work on the cooking thing together though. Christina is an excellent cook, maybe she’ll share some recipes!

    • Marie says:

      Oh yes, Christina can give us cooking lessons in exchange for Charlotte getting the sparkly Converse. But you have to be my housecleaning guru, because Joe told me once that I needed a Korean housecleaner like he has.

  5. Kathy says:

    I am no good at housework, either–but I seem to have a househusband now. If only I didn’t feel so guilty about not doing the cleaning/cooking/domestic thing! There are things I’m good at, and I actually function better in limited chaos, but have been hearing way too much lately about the unacceptable nature of said chaos. Bad enough at home, but I hear it at work too; the manager even cleaned my desk (now called the desk I work at) on one of my days off.
    I do aspire to be better at it. Hope we can both make progress.

    • Marie says:

      I feel guilty too. My next project will be entirely about becoming a better housewife (even though I’m not actually one) – maybe you can learn along with me.

  6. Pingback: The end is near… Now what? | Bakery Closed Until Further Notice

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