Life is so different for me, born 22 years after my mother, than it was for her. Back in her day, women stayed home with their children and took care of the house. Dad and her would have to go to parties thrown by people at the Coordinated Science Lab where he worked as a carpenter and inevitably, someone would ask Mom what she did for a living. See, those women worked outside the home.
Mom was a corker (sometimes too much of a corker) and she would answer them, with a straight face, “I’m a Domestic Engineer.” It took them a while to get it. They might have master’s degrees, but they weren’t all that quick.
Mom’s daily schedule followed the daily schedule of her mother and her mother’s mother. It was like this:
Except Mom didn’t churn on Thursday when I knew her ……. maybe before that she did. She definitely did the laundry on Monday, ironing on Tuesday and mending on Wednesday. Instead of cleaning on Friday, Mom cleaned daily. She vacuumed the whole house on Monday and Friday and I cannot tell you how many times she mopped the kitchen floor. She did it on her hands and knees. And she was one unhappy woman most of her life. I would have been too. No way you’d get me to do that shit. I’d come home from school and find her in the bathtub with a Dixie cup full of Clorox, taking a toothbrush to the grout in the tiles.
Ironing? Well, I will admit I did that so that my husband and I would have neat clothes for work – when I worked outside the home. I ironed his shirts and pants for years so that he would be presentable. Provided he would match the shirts and pants. I finally gave up buying him anything that wouldn’t match – he had no sense of style at all. He used to wear an argyle vest that was bright aqua, orange, brown and beige. Lord I had to rip that off him before I’d go out in public with him. He wore it with a plaid shirt. Like chalk on a blackboard.
So what’s my schedule? Well if it’s Monday, I dye. I like dyeing on Mondays. And on Tuesdays I rinse my dyed fabrics, wash and dry them. So while I don’t iron on Tuesdays, I do what passes for laundry in my home on Tuesdays. (Laundry gets done about once a month ………… amazing how many clothes I have.)
Once a month I have a payday on Wednesday. That means I’m out the door, getting groceries or whatever else we need. So errand-running on Wednesdays, once per month. On the other Wednesdays you will find me knitting or sewing or dyeing yet more fabric.
Thursday? I have no need to churn. I buy butter by the pound at the store. Thursday always feels like a holiday for me (probably since it was the late worker bee’s payday every week and he worked so much overtime it was like this big whoosh of money going into our account) and we always either went out for dinner, ordered a pizza or celebrated in some other manner. That was the day I got groceries when hubby worked. I could do some major damage at the two stores I frequented, Ron’s in St. Clair Shores and Salvaggio’s a knock-down drop-dead fruit market with everything under the sun. It was more than fruit and veg – it had a great wine department, international foods, a deli and a bakery with all sorts of goodies. It even had cheesecakes from the cheesecake shop in Grosse Pointe. I loved that store.
You’ll see baking on Saturday. I bake whenever I want. As much as I want. I watched Mom bake cookies my whole life. She was a master at that – those tiny little drop cookies and rolled cookies and what not. I don’t do drop cookies – takes forever because each recipe makes 6 dozen and only about 16 go on a cookie sheet and you have to keep taking them off and putting more on. No.
When I was around 11, Mom let me have the kitchen on Sundays. I made bread. I made every kind of bread I could think of and sometimes relatives would stop by for a visit. Mom would tell them we had treats and then proudly tell them that I was the master baker.
I started cooking at that age too – if you want to call it cooking. Mom was working at a store across Prospect from us and she worked late on Thursdays. I would get into the kitchen and make supper. Let’s say Dad was never thrilled with our Thursday meals. It was either Hamburger Helper Stroganoff or I would take two cans of Campbell’s Vegetable Beef soup, heat it to boiling and stick in Minute Rice. Voila’ dinner. That would be followed with jello with miniature marshmallows, walnuts and a can of fruit cocktail added in. Wow – I can’t believe I’m admitting to this stuff.
I never ate a thing with any spice in it – only salt and pepper which we had to add at the table because Dad hated it. We had no fresh garlic – sometimes Mom would go nuts and use garlic powder. No chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper or anything that came out of a small bottle and tasted good. Imagine spaghetti without garlic and chili without spice. Yee gods.
When Dad came to live with me, he bitched about the fact that I cooked with garlic, he couldn’t understand why I needed fresh vegetables when Mom heated up a can of green beans at every meal and he wouldn’t eat a vegetable except canned green beans. I fixed carrots once and he turned his snotty little nose in the air. I looked at him and said “So what’s wrong with carrots?” He said – in his favorite concise manner “Rabbit Food.” Lord save me.
By the time Pops came to live with us, we were vegetarian. You would have thought we’d invited every Republican in the country to live with us (he hated Republicans). When I would take him to the ER for one dizzy episode or the other, he would tell them how he wasn’t eating much because I cooked with garlic. He neglected to mention that I fixed him a hamburger, potatoes and beans for every meal. No, it was my garlic.
So my baking goes on whenever I have the time and the inclination. And depending on what I have in the house, it could be bread, brownies, cake, pumpkin pie, cookies (bar cookies thank you) or something more adventurous.
And that’s my schedule ……… such a nice one. Much better than