The Joy of Domesticity

My sister, NJ, and I went grocery shopping together the other day.  She confided in me, “There are two things I hate to do, shopping and laundry.”    As opposed to those who just enjoy the heck out of performing these two tasks?  I have never met a single person who has confessed loving to do either chore, myself included.  Granted, I haven’t asked every single person in this big world.  I know there are different strokes for different folks so it wouldn’t surprise me to eventually meet someone who gets giddy grocery shopping or who loves doing laundry.  To that person I have two little words:  you freak.

For the rest of us, who may view grocery shopping just a step above going to a family reunion where all your great-aunts are kissers and butt-smackers – albeit an important little step – there is always something else we’d rather be doing.  Grocery shopping is a necessary little job.  It kinda enables survival of the species and/or the obesity of the nation.  It can break the budget and the belt all at once.

In an attempt to make shopping less tedious, I have a continual grocery list on the side of the fridge.  When I shop on Fridays the list is already made (theoretically) and I just have to add the staples – milk, bread, Pringles.  It also helps for me to take a few moments and rewrite the list in the order I will find the items at the store.  This eliminates the need for senseless backtracking.  At least, the one time I actually took the time to do this, it was a great boon.  But for the most part, I just grab the list and go because making things harder instead of easier is just how I roll.  And it wouldn’t be a true grocery shopping experience if I don’t criss-cross the store several times.   While bumping into the same helpful employee every single time.

“May I help you find something?” it’s usually a managerial type that offers.  The stockers are too busy trying to find where to unload their carts.

“No, thank you,” I answer because I figure I know where the baked beans are.  They should be by the cans of chili.  Nope.  Wrong.

The second time I pass Mr. Helpful we just smile politely at each other.

Baked beans are by the canned vegetables a couple aisles back.  I look at my list.  Oh, dang me.  I forgot to get Propel.  This means, back to the bottled water aisle again passing Mr. Helpful who raises his eyebrows at me and I pretend not to notice him.   It’s no surprise I can’t find any peach.  Peach Propel is no peach to find but it is the only kind my dad likes and these days everyone tries to accommodate his water drinking habits.  Looks like I get to go to the mother of all stores, Wal-Mart. Oh yay.

There is one aisle I try to avoid because I could fill my cart just by going down it.  It’s not the sweets, it’s the salt that lures me.  When NJ and I went shopping, the first four items in our cart were potato chips or chip related.  I’ve never met a chip I couldn’t eat.  Sometimes I have fantasies of having an unlimited amount on my check card when I go to the store.  I’d start in the chip aisle and keeping with the candor, I’d probably skip the whole vegetable area.  Just sayin’.

As for the never ending laundry situation, sometimes I wonder if the nudists have it right.  But I get anxious from a mere condensation ring left after a glass without a coaster.  Plus, clothes sometimes do a marvelous job of hiding a lot of things I don’t want to see.  So, I’ll put up with always being at least a day behind with laundry.

I will say I spend time performing the lost art of ironing.  Most people think I’m crazy for doing so but it annoys me to see wrinkles in clothes.  It’s not a talent of mine by any means.  It usually takes me a while and sometimes I have to just let some wrinkles be.  But I painstakingly do my best to smooth my shirts before I cram them into my tiny over-stuffed closet.  I’ve been meaning to clean that sucker out for over a year now and donate the out-dated clothes too out of style for even me to wear to a thrift store.  But I haven’t yet.  So, I stuff my nearly wrinkle free clothes into the closet and then hurry up and shut the door to help me forget all the work I did for nothing.

My handy iron has a retractable cord that only takes about 10 minutes to get it to work.  I push the button, it retracts halfway.  I have to pull it out a little.  It retracts some more.  Back and forth, and back and forth.  I’m always determined it will do its job and it takes a great amount of persistence and a little amount of clean mouth cursing (stupid eggs and nutshells!).  Push the button.  Pull a little out.  Push the button again.  It is a moment of great satisfaction when it finally works.  Unfortunately, I am always the only witness to my feat so I have to settle for giving myself a high-five with both hands.

Grocery shopping and laundry. Neither task is on my list of a good time.  They are just part of the necessary mundanes of life on a never-ending to-do list.  Chores only appreciated by those who can no longer do it for themselves.  So, I guess I’ll be thankful.  Doesn’t mean I’ll enjoy doing either task any time soon.

Originally posted September 16, 2011

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