Thursday, August 14, 2008

High Desert Homemaking: A True Tale...

Here's a photo of our latest CSA flowers,
sitting pretty and orderly on the woodstove.

Sometimes I feel like the mouse in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Only worse.

Yesterday afternoon, for example. The following should probably not be read by the highly focused, super-organized, efficient, machine of a homemaker. It could be disturbing. (And I'm wondering if I should tell this story anyway...) Otherwise, here's how it went for me yesterday in the space of an hour or so (written yesterday, hence in present tense):

I slip on my flip-flops, which are sitting by the front door where they belong, to go outside to move the sprinklers. Before I open the door, the phone rings, so I walk over to answer it, climb up to sit on the barstool, and flip the flip-flops "off" onto the kitchen floor.

While I'm on the phone with Melissa, I open the fridge and spot the Greek yogurt. Mmmm. That's sounds good, and I'm hungry. So, when I hang up the phone, I spoon some yogurt into a pretty dish.

The phone rings again, so I answer it again. After talking, I hang up and notice the flip-flops in the middle of the kitchen floor. Oh, yeah! I slip them on and go outside to move the sprinklers.

I come back in and the floor feels really gritty under my bare feet (must be from wearing the flip-flops in the house). So, I get out the broom and mop, move all of the kitchen and dining chairs into the living room, and sweep (it needed doing anyway). I take the mop to the sink and lean it against the counter while I wet the terry cloth cover that goes over the mop head. Next to the sink is the yogurt spooned into that dish. Oh, yeah!

I'd better not let the yogurt just sit there. It should be eaten now. So, I get out the honey and drizzle it over the yogurt, then I reach for the cinnamon to sprinkle on top, and there's the mop, leaning against the counter, damp mop-cover in place, all ready to go. I'd better mop really quickly before the dampened cover dries out.

So, I squirt my homemade vinegar-mop liquid onto the floor and mop. Then I lean the mop against the fridge and glance toward the sink. Too many stray dishes have accumulated on the counter, so I decide to wash them before doing anything else. I go over and start arranging them for washing, and, once again, I see the yogurt sitting there. Oh, yeah! So I sprinkle the cinnamon on top, and I'm determined to eat it now.

I carry the yogurt to the computer to check email. Yes, there are a couple of emails there... I read them, eat my yogurt, and head back to the kitchen.

The dirty dishes are still sitting there.
The yogurt, honey, and cinnamon containers are still all out on the counter, opened.
The kitchen and dining chairs are still in the living room.
The mop leans against the fridge, wet cover still on the mop head.
The scented vinegar-mop squirt bottle is on the dining table.

I begin filling the sink with soapy water while I put away the yogurt, honey, and cinnamon. Melissa comes home just now, bearing a few grocery items she picked up for me. (Thank you.) She begins to eat a juicy peach. It drips on the floor. Hey, I just mopped that! Good thing the mop is right there, leaning against the fridge, damp covering still in place. I turn off the water in the sink and brush over the stickiness on the floor with the mop.

I notice the vinegar-mop squirt bottle sitting on the table and put it away. Then I put away the food that Melissa brought home. I look at the sink. It's now drained of its soapy dishwater (the plug leaks, so the water continuously drains slowly away). Oh, yeah! Back to the dishes.

I fill the sink and start washing, and in less than a minute, I'm practically in a sweat. The afternoon sun is really too hot at the front of the house, and I don't want to stand at the sink and swelter while doing dishes, so I walk out the front door to roll down the outside blinds on the front windows.

I notice that there are scads of cobwebs all over the window screens, so I get a rag and wipe them off. I turn and notice some flowers that desperately need dead-heading, so I quickly do that, too. Then I notice the way the light is falling on something. I like it, so I go get the camera and take a few photos. Okay, I'm in a sweat now, so I go back into the house. Wow, the sun is really bright in here. Oh, yeah! I forgot to put down the window blinds.

Back outside I go to do that, and then I head back in. I step around the kitchen and dining chairs, which are still in the living room from when I mopped. Oh, and there's the vacuum cleaner I borrowed from Michelle (mine's broken), sitting there by the chairs, still plugged in from when I used it this morning!

At this point, I'm thinking how strange is my homekeeping life. Because this is not just an unusual, extra-spacey day. This is many days, to varying degrees. This is my life. Can we call it puttering?

I sit down to write this list, but from here on I stop adding to it because now I'm conscious of what's going on.

I'm not even going to ask if anyone else out there does this. Because I'm too afraid I will hear deafening silence.

"All in order, sweet and lovely." That's my motto, right? And this doesn't sound very orderly, does it? But you know what? At the end of the day, everything that really needs to be done is done. The house is tidy. Things are in good-enough order. And in the meantime, I'm quite enjoying myself!

Can you see why I like to keep things as streamlined and simple as possible? Can you see why unschooling worked so well in my home? :-) But I have to add that while I seem to wander so distractedly, when I get focused on something, I can have an intense, serious, all-consuming concentration that is very difficult to break.

Maybe someday I'll tell you about the time my daughter got me semi-officially diagnosed with ADD (behind my back!) and how I beg to differ. :-)