Friday, May 20, 2011

Successes and Failures - '50's Housewife Day, Part II, The Final Chapter...

Okay, I’m gonna wrap these shananigans up in one more post – here goes nothin’.  Where was I?  Ah, yes…

So in order to allow myself more time and freedom to explore ‘50s housewifery in all its proper glory, I did take my oldest daughter to her babysitter after breakfast.  Just getting them out to the car was an adventure.  Because I didn’t want to carry the baby while still fairly unsteady in my heels, I let the girls walk themselves to the car.  I don’t know what I was thinking, really.  Right out of the door one took off to chase a bee, while the other made a mad dash for the street.  Any concerns I had about walking in those heels disappeared as I took off in full sprint after street baby.  I reached her just as she reached the asphalt, at which point my ankle gave out and I lurched forward, knocking her over while jumping over her, then landing still in a run while waving my arms like a crazy person in an attempt to regain my balance.   When I did regain my balance, I quickly glanced back to see the baby (now with skinned knees), getting ready to head back into the street.  I then looked around at all my neighbors’ houses.  No one was outside.  No one saw.  I just had a classic almost-disaster and no one witnessed it.  Thank God.  I scanned my own body.  Somehow, I was unscathed, even my ankle.  Somehow, that made the whole incident even funnier.  I quickly corralled both children into the car and took off.  Fugging heels.

After dropping off one daughter, the baby and I headed to market.  I needed wooden clothespins.  A quick trip, or so I thought.  Fry’s didn’t have them – just plastic clothespins.  Nope.  If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right.  By this time, I have gotten a pretty good swift hip-swing walk going in these heels, although I am becoming more acutely aware of hard the asphalt is.  Baby out of cart and back into car seat.  Safeway didn’t have them either.  Baby out, baby in.  Now we’re cutting ever so slightly into naptime.  Last stop – CVS.  They had them.  Random, but whatever works.

I got home just in time to put the little one down.  I kicked the heels off, even though I had planned to stay in them ALL day.  My feet were already throbbing.  It was 11:00. A.M.  An imaginary panel of judges was shaking their heads as they scribbled on their clipboards.  I grabbed yet another cup of coffee and started pulling the wet laundry out of the washer.  I headed outside and surveyed the clothesline my husband had strung up the day before.  Game face = a smile on my face and a song on my lips.  It was not enough to be a ‘50s housewife.  I had to be a super-chipper TV ‘50s housewife, the super unicorn of the realm of woman.  Anyway, I began whistling as I pinned the clothes to the line.  (I will also just add here that it was RIDICULOUSLY windy, and somehow I am convinced that my husband had something to do with that.)  Anyway, I get about 10 items in and realize I’m at the end of the line.  Hmm…12 feet is not a realistic clothesline, apparently.  I briefly envisioned clothes laid out all over the backyard before I came to my senses, dropped an F-bomb, and threw them in the dryer. 

There were some leftover dishes in the sink and I washed them quickly.  A weird, cloud-like fatigue had started to settle deep in my bones, and by noon I was fighting to stay awake.  I think it may have been a weird side effect of the coffee, but just in case, I had another cup.  Of course, this was when the baby woke up from her nap.  At this point, any effort felt like too much and I stood in front of the oven for five whole minutes, hungry baby on hip, trying to figure out how long it would take to reheat leftovers.  Before I was really even aware of what was happening, I heard the gentle whir of the microwave.  Done.

Ding-dong!  Oh yes, Mother had arrived.  I had invited for over for afternoon tea.  Days ago, in my mind, I pictured us both in full 1950’s garb and hair, sipping tea from my fancy Anthropologie teacups, laughing gaily while the baby played quietly on the floor in front of us. 

Not quite.  I all but threw the baby at my mom when I greeted her at the door, and then ran to the kitchen to try and scarf down my lunch while also preparing the little one’s midday meal.  My mom very politely ooh’ed and ahh’ed over my dress and manicure, and then she squealed with delight when she saw my clothesline out back.  “You know,” she observed, “in Alabama we could never double-hang things like this with the humidity what it was.”  Good Lord – line laundry had to have taken weeks in the South!  As we sat down on the sofa, she looked at me carefully.  At this point, my whole body was vibrating from the caffeine, my hair was a mess from the wind, I hadn’t touched up my make-up once all day, I had no shoes on, and my Spanx had rolled down to my hip.  Mixed in with the fact that I could barely keep my eyes open, I probably looked drunk.  And sad.  My mom patted my hand and begged me to take a nap when the baby went down for her second nap.  I promised her I would if she would hang out for a while.  She obliged.  Mama always comes through.

At this point in my day, I should have been headed to the grocery store to get what I needed for dinner, but the thought of getting in the car almost made me burst into tears.  I did want the satisfaction of retrieving the clothes from the clothesline.  I wanted to be greeted with the light scent of sun-kissed summer air as I brought a onesie to my face, but no.  It smelled like dirty dog.  What?!?  I took another big sniff – I had to have somehow gotten it wrong.  Deep breath, and…good LORD!  How did this smell become embedded in the fabric???  I yank the clothes off the line, all the while mumbling profanities as I throw the clothes in my HE washer. 

Thankfully, by that time, it was the baby’s naptime.  After I put her down, I went in the laundry room and sat on the floor and listened to the washer.  I love my washer, and today, I loved it even more.  Together with the dishwasher, it was the workhorse of my home.  It took whatever I gave it, and washed it to its best ability, without complaint.  It was my 1950's housewife - everything but the martini.  I think I actually said to it, “Thank you.”  It was either that or, “I love you.”  I can’t remember.  Regardless, it was a tender moment.  At that point, I went to my room and passed out.  I woke an hour and a half later, dress and Spanx still on.  It was 4:30.  Frantic, I texted my babysitter.  The white flag was officially out and waving.  I called my husband and told him he was coming home to take me out.  Game over.  Stick a fork in me.  I.was.done. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Successes and Failures - '50's Housewife Day, Part I

So, as you may have guessed, ‘50s Housewife Day has come and gone.  It was a learning experience, one I hope to repeat…a long time from now.  No, I have no pictures or visual documentation of any kind.  Strike 1, I know…

Before I get into it, let me just say, the day was a bit doomed from the get-go.  I had been suffering with seasonal allergies that left me fatigued and cloudy-headed and…uh…let’s just say my “monthly visitor” arrived unexpectedly that very morning.  Thus, I started the day as a zombie.  But it actually started well…pretty well, anyway.

5:00 – Alarm.  Nope.

5:15 – Alarm.  Not quite.

5:30…ish – Up.  Coffee #1 in hand, I am ready to start the day.

6:20 – My eldest awoke.  Perfectly content with some crayons and puzzles.  Mother.of.the.Year.

6:30 – Out of the shower, coiffed, and ready to go.  Dress, Spanx (my girdle for the day), heels, and hair…up (I realized I don’t own a curling iron or curlers a bit late).  A note about Spanx:  I was convinced the pair I had was too small.  Getting them on required a wrestling match with myself that involved me hurtling myself all over the bedroom.  Once you get them on, however, they’re actually surprisingly comfortable.   I had gotten a mani/pedi the day before.  Cherry-red fingers and toes?  Check!

I started on breakfast.  I was going to do a full-on spread, as was most common – eggs, potatoes, pancakes, toast, juice, bacon, sausage, ham – BUT, our family doesn’t typically eat much pig, nor are we big breakfast people.  So I settled on eggs and toast. 

I woke my husband in an apron with a sing-song voice that would have made any Disney princess envious.
“Sweeeeeetheart, breakfast will be ready soon!” 
At least I thought I woke him.  Twenty minutes later, he was still out cold, and my voice was suddenly much deeper. 
“What?!  You better get out here and eat this before it gets cold or so help me!” 
Needless to say, moments later, the entire family was gathered at the breakfast table.  The perfection of the moment was shattered when my daughter announced, “Mama, I no like it.”  She doesn’t like eggs.  At least not in this pure, beautiful form.  She prefers them as a solid gelatinous round mass topped with a slice of cheese and sandwiched between a bagel.  She concentrated on her toast and milk, while my younger daughter just dropped eggs on the ground. 
“Can you get me my paper?” my husband barked, amused, motioning to his digital tablet. 
“Yes, dear!”  I sang, as I kissed him on the cheek.  He read about the day’s events, ignoring me.  Jerkface.  Oh, the lonely 50’s housewife.  I channeled the iconic goddess for strength as I cleared plates and started washing the dishes for the first time that day.  Somehow, I was already starting to feel exhausted…Coffee #2, where are you? Oh, let's find out what happened next, shall we? Sigh...