5 a.m.: I woke up to worry about bills...and decided to make a morning of it...left my warm bed and the comforts of Sarge's warm feet and the warm feather comforter...grabbed a cardigan (it's chilly in the house at 5 a.m.)...
Poor Hedgie will be out of school today, as she was feverish and fluish Sunday. That means I won't be able to leave the house, and whatever gets done will be household chores.
Lit a fire, made a strong strong pot of hot coffee, and here I sit by the very nice glow, writing a random post while trying to wake up and confront the checkbook.
For a long time now, with ebbing and flowing resolve, I've kept little notebooks full of lists for each day, to be checked off with a flourish as each task was accomplished. So my days are made up of these lists and checks. It's absolutely staggering, the tiny boring nervewracking and tedious details that go into running a household. Perhaps if my housewifely duties were all baking cookies and knitting socks, it would be a little more magical...
In the years before she was born, I was unbelievably busy with school and work. In my eighth month of pregnancy, I was working full-time as a researcher, taking classes, and teaching college. I spent my days running, pregnantly, breathlessly, from one thing to another. It wasn't so bad, really. Rewarding, even. But when Hedgehog was born, we decided to be a one-income household so that I could be home to raise her and just be around for her. Also get my doctorate, but that little dream appears to be in a 5-year holding pattern...so, here I am, caring for Hedgie, running the household, and keeping little notebooks full of checklists.
Anyway, it's on chilly, dark February mornings like these that I sometimes sit and take stock of where I came from and where I am. I'm actually pretty happy with my job. But I feel like I'm really of a dead breed, the housewife. The crises and delights are much more prosaic and self-referential than they would be, were I out in the workforce as I once was. The milestones and successes are not measured in tangible form--no one can congratulate me on a pay raise or tenure or promotion--and I speak a dead language, so I couldn't explain them anyway, sometimes not even to myself.
The other day, Hedgie and I were watching an episode of "Leave it to Beaver," and Hedgie asked me why June was vacuuming in high heels and a, by our standards, formal dress. I hardly knew where to begin. But the truth is, I'm really a 21st century June Cleaver, with a less-regimented household and bare feet and a dose of cynicism and self-irony. I wonder sometimes whether Hedgie thinks I'm just hanging around, waiting. And...am I?