Sunday, February 13, 2011

Digging out


Ya know…?



Today, as not-exactly-promised by the good doctor, I was feeling a lot more like myself. Enough so that I emerged out of my bedroom, walked into my kitchen, and said, “!!!!!!!!!?”

Because holy crap, people. You would not believe the state of this place. It’s the kind of thing that makes me wonder what really would happen to these maniacs I live with, if I weren’t around to keep things going.

The bathrooms are in an advanced state of funk. The laundry is still piled up on the dining room table. There is a thick layer of dust on everything. There is crap on the kitchen floor that I’m pretty sure was there last weekend as well.

I’m also fairly certain Captain Adventure hasn’t bathed since I got sick.

The garden is in a pathetic state. The seed potatoes are sprouting merrily on the hutch. The craft table was buried beneath half a ton of stuff that nobody wanted to deal with, soooooo, they brought it up here for me to deal with, later.

The words, “Go put that on mommy’s table, honey” are starting to give me a nervous tic.

Most of the time, I really enjoy my lifestyle…but I have to admit, it’s long on hard work and short on convenience. And when I get behind on things, man, it’s a killer.

And I am behind. Way, way behind.

I should already have things in the ground – I don’t even have three inches that are clear of weeds. I should be ordering a couple cases of canning jars, I still haven’t test canned anything with the samples I got. I should have soap curing, I should have made butter today, I didn’t make bread, I didn’t rack up stuff for dinners this week, which undoubtedly is going to end up meaning either that we’re going to be eating spaghetti with butter sauce or out of a greasy bag at least once this week.

I’ve got stuff waiting to be dyed and stuff I need to weave and stuff I need to wash and stuff I need to put away. Stuff that just needs a nip here, a collar there, a few buttons sewn on. Fabric that needs to be cut into strips so it can be sewn into a rug.

…and work-work to be done, to boot…and I’m behind there, too, thanks to three and a half days out sick…which also leaves me light in the paycheck…argh…!

“Insult, I’d like you to meet my good friend injury – injury, insult!”


I know it is a self-inflicted and needless madness; that we have a supermarket less than two miles away and the fact that I won’t have onions ready to harvest in my yard for six long months doesn’t mean there can’t be onions sooner.

It’s just…well. I don’t want to be buying these things when I know I should be able to walk out into my backyard and yank them out of the ground. Heh. It’s like the reverse of the old saying: How will you keep them in gay Paris, when they’ve touched the generous earth?

How will you get us to love what is fast and convenient, when we’ve had the rich satisfaction of growing it from a seed…with blisters and oaths and wondering what went wrong…

It’s funny, really; sometimes, I really wish I could just drop it, and live like everybody else. Watch more TV. Sweat less. Buy things that are ready to use. Get bread in plastic bags and zucchini grown in Mexico – waxed and precious like museum pieces, finely sprayed with water every so often for maximum freshness and to give it that dewy-fresh look that is so appealing to the eye.

But the minute I stomp out in a defiant, I’m a modern woman, dammit, and I have a PAYCHECK and should not have to stoop to Such Things huff to buy-not-make, well.

I don’t get much past the produce section. I look at a stack of perfect, precious carrots, uniform in size, prettily stacked, looking like they’ve never seen a bug’s foot.

It’s an amazing sight to me now, those perfect carrots and flawless onions. I might have one carrot in thirty that looks like something from the supermarket; the rest are oddly twisted, stunted, coiled back around on themselves thanks to the heavy, fertile clay that resists all attempts to lighten it up. And yet at the same time, I think about how the cost of a single carrot would buy the seed for a hundred of them; three onions would buy me a hundred and fifty starts.

And when I pick up a loaf of bread and look at it, I’m taken aback by the way it feels. So soft and squishy, so impossibly light for its size…and when I flip it over and read the ingredients (which you should never do with packaged foods, trust me on that) and find myself trying to puzzle out what polysodamawhichitmathide might be…eh…well…

…maybe I’ll just head on home and start some rising, and be grateful for the tremendous convenience of pre-ground flour…

I have things I want to do this coming year; things that last year I think I got wrong, or could have done better. I want to plan the garden better, and plant it more wisely, and tend it better. I want to be more organized, and less wasteful.

And now I’m two more weeks behind. After a couple weeks where the weather chose to send us sheets of rain on our weekends – and beautiful, sunny weather all week when I was trapped in the office – and the husband’s social life keeping him safely away from helping, well.

I’m not just behind. I’m impossibly behind, and I’m not sure how I can possibly catch back up again.

But there’s really only one thing to do: Keep going. I might not get to do everything I want to do, but it won’t help to sit around moping about it.

So I just keep at it, one small thing at a time. Clean the bathroom, make some soup for dinner, do what can be done and try not to worry too much about all the rest.

And try to be patient with myself, and with time, which never seems to give me enough of itself in a given day, and with life itself…which manages to be so complicated in its simplicity.


Elizabeth L in Apex, NC said...

Getting sick is absolutely an unfair slap to the efficiency we get used to. I say, give those children vinegar and towels and send them into the bathrooms to clean!

theresa said...

15 minutes at a time with lots of time for rest so that you DONT GET SICK AGAIN!! When mama's down, the whole world falls to pieces.

Lisa said...

Wait...what??? Your husband's SOCIAL life kept him from helping?? Seriously???

Rena said...

Tell your family that AUNTIE TERENA commands them to turn off the frickin TV and help you clean up. Or else I will be forced to come down there and start kicking butts, and nobody wants that.

Anonymous said...

Just saying - you do live in a town that has a small college in or nearby? These days it's really possible to get a college student to work a few hours a week for a reasonable amount. Here in Atlanta where times aren't so tough, my dog breeder friend has a young man who helps her up to about 10 hours a week. Not to mention that the denizens are all old enough to have small duties that contribute to the household - although I admit Captain Adventure might be a special challenge in re chores.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it time to get the kids more involved in chores? I know the training process to get them to do it is hell and it won't be done as good as you can but . . .

I didn't and now I truly regret it. Just saying

JustGail said...

I'm glad you are getting better, what they said - don't over do and get worn out and sick again. And yes, the denizens are quite capable of helping out, esp. those that say things like "go put that on Mommy's table".

I understand about the garden. I used to make grand plans to raise alot of many things. I've since scaled back to growing a bit of a few things. Something about the garden catalogues,the sleeping garden and the fading memory of bugs/weeds/no help from anyone just makes everything seem so...... possible.

Anonymous said...

Please give yourself a break! You were sick - it happens. So you won't get everything you wanted to do done, but I'll bet you get more done than anyone else I know (or anyone else I read). Anyway, don't relapse! One of the things I gave myself a break on is in the canning field - I try to grow LOTS of one or two vegetables to can enough for 2 - 3 years, and just a few of the ones we'll eat as they grow. That way I'm not harvesting and canning lots of different things. It has helped me scale back. Just a suggestion.
Nancy FP in Ferndale

Steph B said...

While I totally admire all your energy, initiative and focus, sometimes reading this blog makes me tired. I don't know how you do even half of what you do. How much would I have to pay you to come be my neighbor and new best friend in SC? :-)