Sunday, November 27, 2005

Local Woman Cooks Dinner, Feeds Family; Casualties Minimal

My paternal grandparents met at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. He graduated with a B.S. in Agriculture and she graduated - from Cornell, mind you - with a B.S. in Home Economics.

In the 1920s, when a woman went to college to get her M.R.S., she wasn't screwing around.

Grandma was, as you might have guessed, a real pro at this homemaker stuff. She harvested vegetables from her own garden; cleaned, processed, canned, and/or cooked them; stored apples from the orchard in the cellar; cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner every day; saved carefully labeled leftovers in Tupperware containers and served every last one to the family till it got eaten; made and mended clothes; crocheted rugs and bedspreads; cleaned the house; washed and ironed the laundry; dusted the knick-knacks; and taught English to immigrants, volunteered for Literacy Volunteers, and donated Bibles to prison inmates in her spare time. I believe she accomplished a great deal of this whilst wearing snowshoes.

Me? I'm lucky if I can make it from the bed to the bathroom in the morning without stumbling over Cootie parts. And what does that say about my housekeeping skills?!? My own grandmother efficiently ran a household the size of a small village, and I don't even have enough sense not to pay good money to import plastic vermin?!? What the hell?!?!?

So I hope you'll understand my sense of accomplishment at having cooked and served dinner to my family tonight. Normally, this is my husband's job. He goes out of town sometimes, for a day or two, and I calmly serve frozen pizza or fish sticks. But this time, he's away for two weeks and I would like to demonstrate that I, too, am able to run a household. So I bought raw, completely unprocessed chicken thighs from HEB, and I barbecued them over a charcoal grill. (Okay, so the side dishes were canned cream corn and canned baked beans heated up over the stove. Give a girl a break here.)

Normally I'm a bit insecure about my housekeeping skills. I've managed to dodge focus on them through the clever expedient of being the primary breadwinner; still, I can't help but cringe when I get home after a long, hard day of bullshitting clients/coworkers at 7pm, and realize that no one else's house - NO ONE'S - can possibly be as much of a mess as mine is. Ramen noodles ground into the carpet just inside the entryway? Toilets from the Black Lagoon?? The kitchen faucet buried, inaccessible, under two days' worth of cereal bowls??? I think not.

So this couple of weeks with my husband away is my challenge, my chance to see how well I really can run a household on my very own. Part of this would be training my own teenaged children to actually clean up after themselves; for God's sake, even my happy-go-lucky maternal grandparents had Mom and her siblings washing dishes on a regular basis when they were quite small. They didn't purchase artificial vermin for their house, either.

Maybe I'll even look into going back to school in the fall. Cornell probably wouldn't have me; but if I buckle down, I might be able to get into the Home Ec program at TAMU-CC.

I'm not holding my breath.


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