Housewife

I was reading back through some of my old journals recently.  There is a pattern of trying to work out how to get things lined out like I want them.  Things like how the house is arranged or a schedule to keep up with the chores.  I recall when the children were small and we lived in California.  Our house there was sparsely furnished.  We didn’t have much stuff in the way of toys, books, clothes, dishes, tools, etc. 

Over the course of a lifetime, we have accumulated a lot of things.  I drag home junk from the thrift stores, book sales or Walmart.  He drags home stuff from the feed store or cattle auction or someplace.  Our parents and grandparents and others are gone and we absorbed some things from their lives.  It adds up over time.  A little here and a little there.  Before I know it, I’ve got too much. 

Periodically, I go through things and pile stuff in the jeep and haul it to the charity shop.  Some things end up in my daughter’s prop room and costume closet in her theater class.  We have bingo at church and at a ladies’ retreat for which I donate prizes.  I am not above re-gifting something if it doesn’t work out for me and I know the recipient would love it. 

There is that age old rule: a place for everything and everything in its place.  I sometimes watch the shows with the hoarders.  I used to watch the one with the team that would come in and clean up and organize things for people who weren’t actually hoarders, just overloaded and overwhelmed.

I have to walk through my house and remind myself that what I do have stored isn’t really all that much.  I don’t have a basement or garage or even a shed for storage.  I have very little in boxes aside from three or four medium size tubs of Christmas decorations.  I must confess a few too many toys for certain little girls.  And far too many dishes and pots and pans and books.  (No comment needed on this subject from Rock!)

I still dream of the days when we first moved in to the house at Campers Cove and when we lived on Monterey Bay.  Maybe it’s not so much the place, but the time.  Our children were little and growing into the fine adults they have become.  Maybe it’s the little boy and the little girl who used to fill those houses that I miss.

I knew then these days would come. I tried to slow down time.  To hold them in my arms a little longer.  But, the sands of time are steady and sure.  They made their way into the world and have created their own little ones to love. 

If I had some advice to give younger wives and mothers, it would be to keep it simple.  Eat on paper plates all week if it’s going to be one of those.  Don’t try to have everything perfect all at one time.  Give things a lick and a promise and let it go.  I finally figured out that no one was going to come inspect my house or feature it in a magazine.  I guess the equivalent now is that no one is going to post pictures of my house on Instagram unless it’s me.  And only I can see the pile of clothes on the bed that I didn’t fold yesterday behind me while I photograph this staged set for the world to see.

One praise for my Rock among many.  Back when the children were home, he would often have to find his clean socks in the laundry basket of clothes waiting to be folded and put away.  He never complained.  They were clean and he was okay with that.  More modern women will howl why didn’t he fold and put away the clothes.  I have always had an easier job and shorter work hours and an easy commute. It’s the way we want things.  I also take out my own trash.  I tease him that he doesn’t even know where the kitchen is.  Perspective, attitude, expectations.   

One of my favorite subjects to read and study about is housekeeping.  The craft of it.  The history of it.  The lore and mysteries of it.  The oldest profession is not what most claim.  Eve was the first one to build a fire and create a hearth for the men to come home to.  I am one of the most ancient of sisterhoods when I claim my title of house wife or homemaker.  I spent 27 years splitting my time and energy with a 9 to 5.  Many of those years, there were children at home and ailing parents to care for.  My job outside my home was never more than a job for me.  I had no special training or degree or career to follow out there.  My career is and has always been that of home keeper. House wife.  Rock’s house wife. 

How do I want my days to feel?  When I lay down at night, I want to be sure I haven’t let frustrations over temporal things get in the way of eternal things.  Yet, I often do.  Even now. Retired. Too much time on my hands most days.  I still get off track, distracted by things that aren’t in line with my expectations for my days. At the end of the day, did I do what was needed to take care of him.  Did he have a good supper?  Does he have clean clothes for tomorrow?  Did I take care of the household business for the day? 

What is needful?  Nutritious food, something to drink, a comfortable bed, clean clothes to wear, a warm shower. Love and cheerful companionship, affection and attention.  If a home has that, whether two people, one person and a critter, or a whole passle of folks, then that home has more than most of the rest of the world.  Rock and I are blessed.  Don’t know why us, but very grateful to the Lord for it. 

I’m sure I will keep rearranging furniture and sorting through things to get rid of one way or another.  I don’t think I will ever have things as simple as they were on Monterey Bay or even at Campers Cove. But, it’s a goal.  Something to strive for.  Everyone one needs something to work on and to feel some joy at accomplishment over.  For my simple heart, I have my housekeeping as a career.  This vocation along with a little dancing barefoot in the kitchen and passionate kisses and I am one very happy old gal!  Enough of this for today.  I’ve got some clothes to fold……………feeling some orchids raining.

Trouble in Paradise

I am having a pity party.  I have some ongoing physical problems that won’t resolve.  Things get better then fall apart again.  I am not progressing at the rate I consider acceptable in my creative work.  I am feeling a mild panic at my age.  Not that I am aging, but that there is so much undone, still.

I am feeling fear that many of the wishes and dreams I had will not be fulfilled.  Most of them are within my own ability to achieve without his help.  But, the blocks in place seem mired in muck that is too much for me to deal with these days.  And I am the only one who can deal with them.

I try to look at others who are struggling with even larger, sometimes life threatening issues.  Intense illness or personal tragedy.  I have been through personal tragedy.  I pray I am mostly done with that.  I have told too many loved ones goodbye at graveside.  My health issues are not life threatening. But, they are life interfering.  Things I want to accomplish and am unable to get there.

Of course, I seem perfectly healthy from the outside.  I am one of those with a hidden physical illness and the additional emotional problem of depression.  Then, there are my feet.  My painfully damaged feet.  Pain that prevents certain activities or serious consequences for some types of activity.  Pain that interferes with sleep.

Sleep deprivation leading to a pity party.  So, here I am today in my beautifully simple life.  Safe from harm.  Home and pantry loaded with luxury.  Loved ones doing mostly okay.  I have good days and bad days.  Today is not so good.  My orchids are falling unseen today, I fear.  Wait a minute…………I need to stop right now and gather them up.

My health issues will improve.  My creative work is moving.  Maybe not like a freight train, but neither is it backing into the closet.  The gardening is coming along.  I did get a few things taken care of around the house over the weekend.  Sago palms sit in pots at the front door.  The stuff piled on the carport at the back door has been moved.  I have organized my crafting things onto the bookcase I got from the thrift store.  I did do some crochet and embroidery work.  I spent some time visiting with my cousin.  The children’s issues from last week have smoothed out.

Yes, my life is beautifully simple.  Sometimes, too simple.  It is my life.  And I am doing the best I can at this moment in time.  And tomorrow I will do the best I can in that moment of time.  The measuring stick cannot be arbitrary.  Some days, my best will be soaring above the clouds.  Some days, my best will be treading muddy water in a puddle.  Most days, things are somewhere in between.  Higher rather than lower.  Temporary.  Things change.  That is a good thought to hang on to, whatever I am feeling or doing today.  No matter how the orchids are raining, a couple of things do not change.  He and he love me.  And I am blessed with the capacity to love them back.  Orchids enough for today.

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