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The Happy Homemaker’s Busy Day

This is what we were busy with most of yesterday afternoon. Cleaning the room and taking apart the old beds was my job but I left the putting together of the new bed to Matt and Emily. I knew better than to try to do it myself because I have proven to be totally inept at that kind of thing. After a couple hours when they called me upstairs to see their wonderful job, I cocked my head a little and asked, “Did you do something wrong? It doesn’t look quite right.”

“Thanks a lot for your confidence in our abilities,” 16-year-old Matt replied.

“No, it looks beautiful, but something is off. Did you look at the directions?”

Just then we heard the downstairs door open and I quipped, “There’s the third Stooge.”  (don’t worry about my children’s psyches, they appreciate and share my odd sense of humor) It was Michael dropping by, and he thought the same thing I did. Something wasn’t quite right about the bunk bed.

“Let me see the map,” he barked, and they handed him the instruction book they hadn’t thought they needed.  (map?)

It turned out Matt and Emily had attached the top side portion to the bottom and the bottom side to the top.  Michael took care of that in short order and the girls and I proceeded to choose the perfect sheets and make up their new bed. With the extra space in their room, we could finally pull their dresser out of the closet and bring a toy box up from the playroom. Now I’ll be looking for either a beanbag or other kind of chair for the corner of the room next to the bookshelves. I like cozy reading corners.

Is a person born with the knack for putting things together? Is this an innate talent? Each of my boys have amazed me with their prowess with Lego blocks.  Dump out a new box of Lego’s and I see a pile of little blocks. My sons always saw the finished product and quickly assembled it. Even now, as adults, my sons Dan and Michael continue to amaze me in that regard. My daughter’s talents lie more in the cognitive realm but they still have so much more confidence than I do when it comes to fixing things.

Yesterday, I played Happy Homemaker. Besides cleaning the little girl’s room, I made a pot of soup to simmer all day in the crockpot. I also made homemade banana bread with our too-ripe bananas. Now David has containers of healthy soup to take to work for lunch, along with thick slices of banana bread. I would like to be the kind of wife that does that kind of thing more often. The only thing stopping me is myself. At various times in my life I have enjoyed baking and cooking but not in recent years. I can still bake up a mean lasagna, but usually we subsist on things like meatloaf and soups when David is home and salads and sandwiches when he isn’t. I do a fair of saving money with coupons and I am drawn like a magnet to those marked-down carts,(which is where I got those bananas in the first place) but I know a menu and a list would go a long way in saving me more money. My daughter Beth does a much better job with cooking than I do and she knows how to plan frugal, yet delicious meals. I could learn from her example.

If I wanted to.

Therein lies the crux of the matter. At this point in my life, I just don’t want to spend a large portion of my time cooking and baking. I have four kids at home that seem to be way pickier about food than my first four. I’m tired of hearing, “Yuck,”  or “That again?” when I mix up a hearty casserole or repeat one of my own favorite meals one too many times. That said, I can still get a great deal of pleasure from cooking for an appreciative audience, and David most definitely appreciated his steaming bowl of soup last night, followed by freshly baked banana bread.

It all takes time, though, doesn’t it? Whether it is coupon-clipping or making up a menu, baking or checking ads and matching sale prices to coupons… Each day we have to choose how we will spend our time.  Sometimes we see Facebook as a time-waster, other times it is a way to keep up with relatives and long-lost friends. A book sale might be a goldmine for ebay selling or simply a date with a husband who will carry the boxes.  Writing every morning at 6:00 can be a creative outlet or a way to add some income from home.  Whatever we choose to do, and however we choose to do it, the bottom line might be: Do I want to?  I want to clip coupons, scan sale ads, and write every morning.  Bake brownies and cook elaborate meals every day? Not so much.  But seeing my husband’s evident appreciation for a good pot of soup made me realize I do want to do that for him more often.

Because sometimes, the way to show you care is to do something you don’t really enjoy.  For someone else. 

The big bag of apples about ready to go to waste in the kitchen? Despite the fact that I abhor peeling apples, I think I can manage a nice apple crisp tonight for my husband, too.

Author:

Author, public speaker, and workshop presenter for community colleges, libraries, women's groups and for grief support groups, Hospice and retreats. Reporter for the Manchester Press newspaper and popular public speaker and workshop presenter on the topics of writing and finding hope in grief. "Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America's Extreme Obsession" was published by Familius Publishing in 2014. "Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage" and "Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace" were released by Familius in 2014. "Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink," co-written with Mary Jedlicka Humston of Iowa City, was published in September 2015.

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