Thursday, October 11, 2012

A slight detour (with recipe)

In the past month I've found myself in a new situation: I'm a stay-at-home housewife.  I say this with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but it could be said that until I find new employment I'm essentially living the life of an old-fashioned housewife.

It makes me appreciate the women's movement that flourished while I was still in diapers. I can ironically call myself a housewife without really meaning it.  Yes, in the absence of new accomplishments at a job I am priding myself on my skills with a toothbrush putting a new shine on the bottom of the bathtub.  I'm cooking Mike dinner almost every night AND a made-from-scratch dessert.  I greet him at the door in an apron, and I usually have on lipstick because I'm one of those women who finds it difficult to get motivated until I have my lipstick on.

But for me it's all about making lemonade out of lemons.  Once I get a new job things will go back to the way they were--simple but adequate dinners at home during the week with some take-out thrown in, essential but cursory house cleaning, etc.  And I can credit the generation before mine for making it possible to choose what role I play in my marriage.  I'm not expected to keep house and serve my husband a cocktail at the end of the day.  But if I want to, it can be fun.  And right now I have to admit--it's kind of fun.

I start my day the way I always have--with a cup of coffee and my bowl of Kashi cereal.  I make Mike lunch, which is usually a peanut butter sandwich because he's a creature of habit.  Lately it's been Peanut Butter & Co's Dark Chocolate Dreams. The radio is tuned in to NPR, and I'm able to catch all the morning talk shows while I'm doing the dishes.  We don't have a dishwasher (well, one that works, anyway) so I wash all the dishes by hand--something that Mike used to do while we were both working.  This way he can (ideally) get to work on time, since it's time-consuming to hand wash all the dishes from my cooking and baking adventures the day before.

About an hour or so is spent on the computer before I take a leisurely shower and get the the dog out for a walk.  When I return, I eat lunch (usually leftovers from the previous night's dinner) and take an hour nap.  I've read about studies that say a short nap around 2PM is good for your health, and at home I'm actually able to do that--making me a more awake and happier person when the nap is over.  Then I clean something and get dinner started.  In between I check my email or Pinterest.

Speaking of Pinterest--that siren--I've been doing simple but absorbing projects I pinned on my DIY board.  Nothing Etsy-worthy, but fun stuff that uses up some clutter in a way that won't offend my "reduce-reuse-recycle" partner.  I made the letter "C" out of corks ("C" for our last names, not for "cork" as Mike suggested), a candle holder made from a cleaned-out cat food can and clothespins, and an autumn centerpiece with real acorns as a filler.

This is where I start to sound a little out-of-my-head.  Am I at summer camp?  Have I gone over to the dark side and become something out of The Stepford Wives?  What happened to my career aspirations?  My desire to make a mark in the world? 

Rest assured, those longings and ambitions are still very much a part of me.  But this is a tough economic time in a volatile job market.  I've been working in the same industry almost non-stop for the last sixteen years.  I could pull my hair out at the roots with worry about my unemployment, or I could take this opportunity to clear my head and do something different for a little while.  You should try a piece of my/Martha's Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake. It's to-die-for good.