The secret to life is doing what you're good at and leaving the rest to someone else.
I do laundry the way I cook. I just press a bunch of buttons and hope for the best.
Once upon a time, I volunteered to wash someone's clothes, and he wasn't enchanted with the results. He held up a sweater that was very special to him -- now four sizes too small -- and said, "You don't have to do laundry anymore."
A girlfriend came with me to another friend's party soon after Darrell and I were married, and the older women were telling stories about the stupid things their daughters-in-law had done in the kitchen. "Want to know what's worse?" I asked. "I'm listening to you and thinking, 'What's wrong with that?'"
Not that I didn't try. I did. At first.
I made molasses cookies -- with whole cloves.
I wrapped duck in bacon to preserve its moisture -- to no avail. It came out of the oven looking like a hockey puck -- and now in my recipe file under "duck" it just says, "Don't make."
The most interesting thing about the last paragraph is that I even have a recipe file. But you guessed it. I haven't looked at it in years.
There's a photograph of me, newly married, holding what looks like a black cat in my lap. That was our first Thanksgiving turkey, left on the grill too long.
Darrell raved about my lasagna to the folks we worked with at the radio station, then broke his tooth on the leftovers.
I burned so much toast on that job people quit asking who was responsible for the odor. They knew. I burned it consistently, and knocked out power to the station when I did. One of the DJs came out of a production room to express his frustration. "The first couple of times, it's fun."
I'm not your pie-baking big-family-gathering-hosting kind of gal. I used to apologize for that. I'd apologize, and attempt another experiment.
I'm all finished with those.
Oh, sure. I can still get all worked up over a sparkling tub -- and if you want to know how to keep the toilet bowl clean with almost zero effort, let me know.
Otherwise, I've stopped pretending I'm some sort of domestic anything in-progress. I'm losing a few supporters who think "wife" equals "hostess." But that's okay. I'm not running for mayor.
Darrell knew what he was getting into when I showed him my single contribution to our household. It's a soup mug that says, "Mmm good. Just like the kind Mom used to buy and heat up." Another talk show host, who was interviewing me for a change, asked me what my favorite kitchen gadget is. "The phone," I told him. You know, to call for takeout.
The guys who installed our beautiful new kitchen counter -- covered in blankets and collecting dust like all the rest of our renovation from hell -- told us afterward we wouldn't be able to set so much as a cup of hot coffee on it without something really bad happening. "That's okay," I told them without the slightest bit of resentment. "It plays right into my desire not to spend too much time in the kitchen."
When I was 30 years old, I decided if I didn't make some changes all I'd ever have to show for myself was a tidy nest.
There had to be more to life. If you find a lot of meaning in that, I salute you. If you don't, I hope you don't feel guilty that you don't!
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