Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Domestic Non-Bliss

Call me a Suzy Homemaker wannabe, but there have always been those days that I feel a great sense of satisfaction when John comes home to a tidy house and a delicious dinner.

Even before Sjs, this wasn't an event that John could count on with any amount of certainty, but it was something that I aspired to on a regular basis, especially when the kids were smaller and we all ate dinner together every night.

Those were such good times.

But things have changed and we've all moved on. The kids all have their own places and their own tables to fill with family and food. And then there's the whole autoimmune experience that has changed things drastically around here for both John and myself.

When I can swing it, I still get a kick out of waiting for John to come home from work with yummy smells wafting from the oven and dust bunnies hidden from plain sight. But it's becoming increasingly evident to me that the days of having both a clean house and a tasty dinner ready and waiting are becoming more and more rare. I'm coming to realize that for the most part, I just don't have enough energy for both tasks in one day.

This makes me cranky.

It's so hard to make both things happen at once. It's come to this: When I cook a nice meal........

like tonight's lowfat chicken sausages, baked sweet potatoes, steamed asparagus, and peach cobbler. Mmmmmm. 

 ......I just destroy the house:

Imagine clutter similar to this covering every surface area of my kitchen. And dang, there's absolutely no way that I'm going to post a picture of all the dust bunnies that are romping around freely without fear of a broom or vacuum. 

So inversely, when my house is somewhat clean and tidy, I can ditch the idea of cooking a delicious from-scratch meal. Home-HEATED, maybe, as in opening up a can of something gross like tinned stew and throwing it in the microwave, but definitely not yummy. After all the work of cleaning, there's also no chance whatsoever that I would have the capability of dragging my butt out the door to go to a restaurant, either.

I bless my lucky stars for John who has become remarkably adept at rolling with domestic punches. He thoroughly enjoyed the warm peach cobbler after a tonight's good meal, but would have been equally as happy to stop by the grocery store on the way home and snag a rotisserie chicken. Or to whip out the can opener and heat up something gross and eat it without complaining, bless his heart.

I love those days when I can putz around in the kitchen and John has time to come behind me tidying things and doing the dishes, or when John is busy making one of his wonderful smoked salmon or grilled chicken specialities while I make a token effort to clear clutter. 

Before anyone comments on the obvious solutions, let me beat you to them:

Yes. I really should do just a little cleaning every day so that things don't get too overwhelming

Yes. I should cook larger volumes of food so that I can freeze extra meals for days when I just can't get my hindquarters off the couch

Ah, but that would be logical. 

People: Remember to whom we are referring here. 


Laura said...

The thing is, I *have* cooked large volumes so I could freeze some. It's a lot more work than cooking one meal. And a couple times I put it in the refrigerator to cool and never get around to re-packaging for the freezer until it's too late. So I'm not sure that one is actually an obvious solution (or at least, if obvious, not necessarily a good one).

I will say your meal looks yummy, though.

annie said...

I understand what you're saying, Julia. The last couple of years, I don't know if it's the age factor, or the illness worsening, but I never have energy leftover. If I make dinner, then I can't do the dishes...if I do laundry, then nothing else gets done. It's frustrating, exhausting,and no one apart from my family understands, others ask if I'm depressed!

Unknown said...

I can relate! I love to cook and hate to clean, so it's no surprise that I get dinner on the table more often than I deal with dust bunnies. I wish I had the time and energy for both, though.

Miki said...

This post was wonderful to read! It hit home so close!!! Thankful to the wonderful husbands who try to understand what it's like so they can help with the missing links on those days!

Amy Junod said...

I just whispered to myself today that I wished I had the energy to just dust. Who wishes for stuff like that?

You're peach cobbler looks mighty yummy Julia! Like State Fair of Texas Ribbon yummy!

Medley said...

Two years ago my son-in-law lost his job in Indiana, we moved their little family (including my daughter and my granddaughter) back "home" to Kansas, they lived with a friend for a few months and when that didn't work out they moved in with us - there are 4 of us (2 kids still at home.) As part of their "no rent" agreement, my daughter makes dinner 3 times a week. She also has a home day care (with my other daughter) so they keep the house tidied up. My husband has always been the one who does laundry - even though he sometimes shrinks my clothes. So life clicks along pretty well without me having to do a whole lot. Which is good because I rarely have the energy.
Seven months ago I was diagnosed with Sjogren's after literally years of problems of one kind or another. The last year has been especially hard both physically and mentally, trying to adjust to what I can and can't do and accept the limitations. It's like God knew that I would need that extra help and arranged it way beforehand.
Grandchild number 2 is on the way in a couple of weeks, a boy this time. And yes, it will be crowded and chaotic with one more little person in the house. But the blessing of seeing my grandchildren every day is so worth it. And even though Gamma might not have the energy to dance with her every day, my granddaughter is always willing to crawl up beside me and read a book.
It's been really hard to accept the fact that I have this disorder and that my future is going to be different than I had planned. But your blog often reminds me to look for the positives and my family is certainly a positive.

Omgrrrl said...

My Mother had every intention of having us over for spaghetti and meatballs. She can literally make that in her sleep and it is SUPER DELISH.

Alas she had a bad SJ day. Dinner was canceled.

Thanks to your blog I *get* what it means to have a bad SJ day.