Sunday, February 15, 2009

On New Kitchens and Vocation Preparations

I don't cook. I don't clean. I don't sew. I mean, I have the ability to do these things (at a basic level, at least), but I don't use those skills, even though I'm living at home and probably have more free time now than I will again until retirement (that's a scary thought). Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about the fact that I'm not honing my domestic skills, but then I very quickly realize that I'm perfectly okay with the knowledge that I will probably have to call my mother every day for a while as I make dinner, when I'm eventually a wife and/or mother, but for now I'm more than content to come home from work and eat what Mom's cooked for me.

Are you confused? Let me explain. See, when a girl is at that point in her life where she thinks she's ready to get married and start a family, and many of her friends are doing so, and she has no prospects, she comes down with a condition known as "the bridesmaid blues." Sometimes she gets desperate and/or depressed, but if she's more of an optimist, she may just throw herself into learning every domestic thing well, so that she's clearly well-prepared to take care of a house and all the little ones that are likely to be running around the place sooner or later.

I'd love to be learning all that now. It's just that I have other things to do and learn, and I figure I can learn on the fly later, and it won't really be that big of a deal. I mean, I have all the basic skills down, right?

But still, there is little in my life that excites passion. Sunday Liturgies at my wonderful parish. The occasional restorative phone call or even more occasional social event through which the local community reminds me of our longstanding (and often surprisingly deep) bonds. Even family bonding time is solidly good. But not work. Not any extracurriculars I'm involved in. Very little of what I do in my daily life inspires or fulfills me in any way. Sure, some of what I read in books or on the internet makes me excited - but it's largely enthusiasm of a type that makes me feel a part of a great global community but does nothing to connect me to the reality in front of me every day.

The frustration I feel at letting my education stagnate by neither using it nor furthering it is a topic for another post, but suffice it to say that these factors combined have made me feel like a bum, wasting my time here at home when many others are building roots and families or embarking upon careers or at least getting closer to whatever it is they want to do with their lives.

What do I want to do with my life? Raise a family. Work in the Church. What am I doing to pursue either? Not much.

My family is getting our kitchen remodeled. Like, everything gutted from the kitchen (including the walls) and starting over from scratch. We've never had major remodeling done before. I had no idea how inconvenient this was going to be.

Think about your house (or your parents' house), and about how much time everyone spends in the kitchen. It's the heart (and stomach) of the home! Well, our home's innards are split between the tv room and the garage, with an occasional road trip to borrow our grandparents' old kitchen while they're in Florida (winter migration and all).

Needless to say, there's been plenty of extra work for each of us to do, just to stay afloat. Washing dishes, for instance, either needs to be done in the basement (first, unplug the washing machine...) or at the grandparents' (load the dishes into the car, being careful not to break them...), and because it always needs to be done in batches, it's never ever done. Now, Dad's an accountant and this is tax season, so we hardly see him 'till mid-April because he's either out at appointments with tax clients or sitting at his laptop, doing their taxes in some secluded corner of our house (lately it's the dining room, since the kitchen is empty and we've all but abandoned that entire floor). My sister, too, has her hands full with her first year of high school and Honors classes - plus two teachers who aren't very good at teaching, to boot (for Latin and Math, too, neither of which are subjects one can BS through easily). This effectively eliminates both of them from most of the extra chores, and even adds on the chore of teaching T her math homework, especially before tests.

Mom, too, is pretty worn thin, between trying to cook for us without a kitchen, shopping around to find the right appliances at the right price, and juggling everything else in her (and our) lives. I've been coming home from work lately, expecting the usual evening of a brief dinner, some time on the computer, maybe some tv, and time for bed. Instead it's been tv dinners (PTL for Healthy Choice meals!), listening to Mom's run-down of the day (often while I'm trying to catch up on Google Reader - reminds me that I often tell unnecessary stories at inconvenient times, a habit I probably won't grow out of), perhaps feeding the grandparents' cat... running other errands, washing the dishes, teaching T her homework. Oh, and maybe I can have some time to myself, too.

Maybe my parents really did spoil me by enabling me to be so involved in high school that I hardly had time for many chores. Still, I definitely had my tasks to do, and I did then (generally) in my own time. This kitchen business, however, combined with the full-time job bit, have left me very much at the mercy of the needs of the family, at their time schedule.

Which, oddly enough, is a skill very much needed by domestic engineers (as my cousin T tells me homemakers can be called): the loss of personal time and schedule according to the needs of the family, and the ability to drop what one's doing at any moment to fill another's need.

So sorry if I've been less available than usual lately. I've been training for my vocation.

1 comment:

  1. The loss of personal time and schedule according to the needs of the "family", and the ability to drop what one's doing at any moment to fill another's need: also the situation of KofC employees.



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