Sometimes I wonder if I was born in the wrong century. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my laptop and I have no Luddite tendencies. (Well, only a few, and they only rear their ugly heads when I’m on hold with tech support.)
But I have a lot of Old World habits. My mother immigrated to the US with her parents, and they brought their old ways with them. I learned them. (Sociologists say that mothers enculturate their children. Sorry, Dad.) Of course, some of these habits mystify my husband. For example, I believe chocolate is near to a sacrament. It should be served on a fancy plate. Each square must be savored over a period of fifteen minutes, at least. He gobbles his chocolate and then wants mine—because, he thinks, I must not like it if it takes me that long to eat it. No, dear one, I like to let the chocolate melt on my tongue and take me to chocolate heaven. And, if you touch my chocolate, you may find yourself missing a few fingers.
But chocolate reverence isn’t the only Old World experience that impacts my family. It’s Old World structure. My grandmother has told me that when she was young everyone in her small town in South Holland did certain chores on certain days. For example, Monday morning was Scrub the Steps day. So every housewife scrubbed the steps on Monday. (They scrubbed them on Thursday too—you’d better clean those steps before they get dirty). Now, granted, I don’t scrub my outside steps. At least, I wait until they get moss on them.
But every day of my week has assigned chores:
1. Monday is post-weekend tidying and house projects. Conveniently, most of our plumbing problems have occurred on Mondays. For example, last Monday that bathroom pipe blew out. In my mind, time had already had been set-aside for the repair. Not in Cal’s mind, however. He was planning to do taxes. But they got shoved aside in favor of a functioning bathroom.
2. Tuesday is writing day. (Not really a house chore, but since the kids have music lessons, classes, etc., I write while they learn. I have to redeem the time in some way.)
3. Wednesday is baking day. Matthew can’t digest gluten so I make him gluten-free bread—which is a bit like baking with different kinds of dust. The various “flours” like brown rice, tapioca, potato starch, and teff are all so fine that after baking, a layer of edible dust covers the kitchen surfaces. Since the kitchen is filthy already, it makes sense to bake everything on one day.
4. Thursday is ironing day, which isn’t so bad because I stream a Netflix movie. So it’s actually fun to iron 9 dress shirts and 9 dress pants and whatever else we’ve worn the previous 7 days.
5. Friday is clean-the-bathroom-and-master-bedroom-and-wash-bedding day. There's nothing like going to bed on Friday night in a pristine room with the scent of furniture polish and Pinesol clinging to the air. (Yeah, that mystifies Cal too.)
6. Saturday is clean-everything-else day and cook for Sunday. It’s also our WalMart date. The two of us go to WalMart and shop. I realize that doesn’t sound like a “date,” but it’s all a matter of perspective—time with your husband without any interruptions is a date. Okay, WalMart has it’s own interruptions, especially at the beginning of the month when it gets swamped by the crazies. But that’s another post.
Notice there’s no laundry day. That’s because with six adults and near adults, every day is laundry day.
So, am I the only one who lives by a chore schedule? Fess up.