I admire those people who have their lives organized. The dishes are washed. Nothing in the refrigerator is moldy. When you’re looking for something, you can find it. You don’t start an avalanche every time you open a cupboard or cabinet.
This type also probably has a division of labor among the house’s inhabitants. If there is confusion or resentment between husband and wife, it’s neatly labeled and properly stored.
Odie and I both suffer from an immaturity syndrome. When faced with our responsibilities, we each have an automatic “I don’t wanna!”
I feel chagrin at how 14 months went by without me accomplishing my Housewife Project goals. Ultimately, I decided to go a different way. Instead of looking at my days as opportunities to organize junk drawers, I saw them as time for in-arms naps with my nursling. As for the look of disappointment on Odie’s face when he didn’t come home to a clean house and dinner bubbling on the stove, I came to ignore it. When I asked if he was upset that I didn’t do more, he would reply, “You take great care of Pringles.”
“You’re doing to me exactly what Dooce did to Jon!” I wailed desperately. “You can’t think I’m doing it wrong and not tell me! Let me fix it before it’s too late! I don’t want to get Dooced!”
“Who the fuck is Dooce?!” Odie cries with exasperation.
In a marriage, you only have two or three arguments. They’re different from marriage to marriage, but they have common themes. Money, sex, power. Each person is trying to get his or her needs met. I want a clean house, security, happy children, time to read, write and watch tv. I want this accomplished without me having to do anything I don’t want to do.
As feminist as I thought I was, I have some surprisingly gender stereotypical beliefs about jobs around the house. I want Odie to take out the trash, deal with appliances, take care of the yard, maintain the car, and fix broken stuff.
I’ll take care of the children and secretly nip alcohol from a bottle in the linen closet. I want to be a housewife. I just want to be a 1950s housewife. A super crazy one. With perfect lipstick.
We’re still struggling.
Tuesday was picture day at “school.” It will be Pringes’ first professional photo. She will have a big scab on her nose from the latest fall. My mother says I was the same way and I have a decade of school pictures validating her opinion. My husband, however STILL disappears all of a sudden on hiking trips and reappears on top of a nearby mountain, returning later with bloody knees or covered in poison oak. His mother recently fell over a “Caution” sign and got a black eye. The only thing more painful? The irony.
Last year Viva refused to have her picture taken. I waited in line with her, Pringles strapped to my chest in the Ergo, while sweat rolled down my body, pooling between my breasts and at the base of my spine. When it was Viva’s turn, she commenced howling with despair and refused all comfort. It was a huge pain in the ass.
At the time, I expressed the opinion that I’d made too big a deal over it, gotten all excited, and Herself decided to pull a power play. “Oh, this is important to you? Lady-who-ruined-my-life-with-a baby-sister? Let’s just see how you like having your dreams crushed into dust.”
This year, I made sure her hair was neat and her face was clean, said nothing about picture day, and acted surprised when she mentioned it. I may be lazy, but I do learn from my mistakes. Except when by “my mistakes” you mean being lazy.
I’ve stopped eating pints of ice cream several days a week to deal with my feelings. I thought to numb feelings, you had to be literal. Feelings, you see, need to be made very very cold in order to get numb.
I’m back on the sauce, though. Our teachers lounge vending machine stocks Diet Coke. At first, I thought I’d limit my intake, but like all addicts, I cannot. I also developed a Starbucks habit. That one is really costing me. Those babies aren’t no 75¢ each, no sir.
My children are waging a war against each other and the prize is me. Pringles, my sweet little Joy Baby is a bruiser. When she discovers Viva anywhere near me, she pulls hair, pinches, slaps, and screams. The recent NFL umpire lockout in the news brought to my attention how much referees make. I’m underpaid.