Sunday, July 30, 2017

Man About The House

At some point in the last four years, I've realized, I've turned into a thoroughly domesticated husband, almost along the lines of this game if rather puzzled-looking Kennedy-era paragon.

For years before that, living overseas, one took a great many things for granted: that clothes would always be clean, the house always spick-and-span and even, in its own way, rather elegant - flowers on the hall table, shining silver, that sort of thing - and food on hand just for the asking.  Oh, we did the occasional chore - speciality shopping, a nice Hollandaise now and then - but there's no question but that we were thoroughly, hopelessly, happily spoiled.

Domesticity is something that more or less got lost in the whirlwind of repatriation (for me - a whole new ball game for the Mister) - moving, marriage, new jobs, moving again, and then my little Health Issues. But of late, just getting through each week with enough clean socks and something to stave off starvation has developed into a genteel little routine, and while I do miss the tender ministrations of dear Mrs. Galapatti-da Silva and her predecessors, I'm really rather content.

Of course, we don't do it all on our own - I'm domestic, but I'm not insane. One of several South American sisters still comes once a week to take care of the serious business of cleaning (while I'm being a suburban matron, off to the gym, a cup of coffee, and a round of grocery shopping on Saturday morning), and I'm still not up to deal with shirts that require ironing. Other than that, though, I'm pretty much the maid of all work.

The Mister works weekends, and so I generally use most of those two days to restore order and make preparations for the week to come. Even as we (cybernetically) speak, there's a chicken in the slow cooker and the day's third load of laundry spinning merrily in the distance.  I've boiled a dozen eggs for the week's lunches, made a large pitcher of mortifyingly healthy smoothie for breakfasts, and before too much longer I'll be working on a big pot of soup to have on hand. All that, by the bye, and an hour with Kevin-My-Trainer, who is now, with very mixed results, moving me into daunting exercises that require a great deal of balance and coordination, neither of which have ever been my long suits.

Now that I have to eat relatively healthily, shopping is an interesting exercise in meal planning; gone are the days in which a packet of spaghetti, some garlic, and some butter could make a more than passable dinner. Nowadays it's all experiments in spiraled squash, lashings of riced cauliflower, and sensible portions of wild-caught salmon. Also on them menu this week will be a chicken curry (likely on spaghetti squash), and then out of the freezer half a recent meatloaf and some tasty creamed lentils. When it comes to the kitchen, I'm a sort of Frankenstein-cook, made up of equal parts maternal/grandmaternal influences and the urgings of The Dishy Cardiologist.* It's certainly not the most haute of cuisines, but it works for us, and I suppose that's what matters.

One reason, sadly, that all of this is on my mind is that we've just had a reminder of how fragile even the most established domestic routines can be. We had a call from the younger of our pals, The Retired Bikers, who earlier this year deepened even further their state of retirement by moving to Palm Springs, where good Confirmed Bachelors go to spend their Golden Years among like minds and tastes in, among other things, cocktails. The elder, it seems, has had a Heart Incident, and the outlook is mixed at best; he's dedicatedly unhealthy in his habits and seems likely to be a patient of surpassing noncompliance. Nothing's set yet, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if I didn't have to head West at some point to attempt spreading the Gospel of Roast Vegetables and General Moderation. And possibly to aid in finding a dishier cardiologist...

* I sometimes wonder if I would have been as a good and compliant a patient as I have been these past two years were the good doctor not quite so dishy. Answer, as they say, comes there none.


  1. Isn't it a kind of "home bliss" ? And to be responsible for your "Mister" dining planning should be thrilling... Otherwise what is couple life for?... Sad for your friends. Counter shock to Florida ?

  2. Never seen a man look so terrified of a chicken before... Jx

    PS I've never had servants. But then again, I'm not Lady Mary Crawley. Dammit.