Friday, July 24, 2009

Maybe not Martha

I am not what you might call a "domestic goddess."

I'm hopelessly cluttered, I don't bake from scratch, I can't use my sewing machine for more than a day (and only after someone has threaded the machine for me), and I don't think I've ever washed a window in my life. My house is more shabby than it is shabby chic, and most of my appliances and furniture are hand-me-downs or relics found on Craigslist.

This, however, does not mean that I don't aspire to be at least somewhat domestic. (Or perhaps, more amusingly, somewhat of a goddess.) I have dreams of baking my own bread, owning a brand new sectional couch, sewing adorable curtains and bed skirts, and keeping everything in its place a la Clean Sweep.

I can see it now: It's the weekend and I'm in the kitchen happily baking fresh bread for the days ahead. While it's in the oven I'll sit on my comfy sofa reading a book. (Note: I am not covered in flour.) When the bread has finished baking I set it out to cool and I go downstairs to my craft space, which is not only perfectly organized and labeled, but displaying my artsy fortitude, with home-sewn pillows propped up on a nearby couch and crocheted scarves folded delicately into hand-painted gift packages. I then spend the afternoon hand-making all of this year's Christmas cards and embroidering gifts for my loved ones.

Then reality hits and I remember that attempting that very same weekend would result in my staining my blouse with smudges of butter on the sleeves. While trying to figure out how to clean the grease from my shirt, I'd forget about the bread in the oven, charring it to a dark black mess and forcing the opening of all kitchen windows and doors (regardless of the weather). In any downtime I'd be shuffling piles of shopping fliers and half-finished "to-do" lists so that I could sit on my hand-me-down couch with the uncomfortable springs and the ill-fitting slipcover. My craft table would be piled high with half-finished projects like the curtain I started to sew but had to stop since I ran out of thread and can't reset the bobbin without assistance. My Christmas cards would be from the Dollar Tree, and I would have written in them and addressed them, but run out of stamps, thereby not tossing them into a mailbox until February.

My lack of domestic dexterity isn't completely troubling. I'm grateful that I don't live in an era that requires me to be a perfectly-coiffed housewife with dinner on the table at five and homemade pies adorning the counter tops. And I don't mind trying and failing all that much. I'm happy to work on my sewing one bobbin at a time, buy my bread from the bakery in town, and make my cakes from a boxed mix. Sometimes I wish I had fabulously coordinated furniture with adorable curtains, but for now my eclectic mix will work (supplemented by occasional splurges on rugs that don't feel like sandpaper and tablecloths that make me feel like a grown up).

Besides, I have to keep busy. What would happen to the self-help and craft sections of the library if I stopped checking out books with titles like Messies Anonymous and Easy Sewing Projects? Who would support the local economy by buying bread from the mom and pop place? What would Duncan Hines do if I stopped buying its boxed cake mixes in bulk? And who the heck would come pick up my crappy couch if I got a new one?

Ahh... to be a domestic goddess. For now, I suppose I'll settle for something less... something more like domestic apprentice. I'll tinker with my sewing machine in an attempt to finish those curtains until I remember that I can buy a set for $6 at the Christmas Tree Shops and I'll try to make all my own Christmas presents until I realize that I have a big family and a half dozen friends and it would be easier to shop online. I'll keep buying storage bins and labels and will attempt to find all of my possessions a designated place in my home. I'll even try my hand at baking from scratch and force the trials on my colleagues at work. Wish me luck!


Anonymous said...

Start with simple formulas. I happen to have a bread recipe called "the easiest loaf you'll ever bake" or something like that. As for curtains, I use mine to insulate in the winter here, so I have to make mine, it's near impossible to find reasonably priced lined curtains. The rest is simply based on your interest, what suits you. You may not do a lot from scratch, but I'm certain you're a far more nurturing individual than Martha could ever aspire to be.

Miss Sandra said...

You could be like Martha--you just need to hire 500 lackeys to embroider, bake,fold t-shirts (yes, Martha does it a special way)and keep the media out of your junk room(she has one, it was on 60 minutes so it must be true!)filled to the brim and unorganized. And when you give uncle Ken the embroidered gift I'll be there with the camera.