Master of None


by Lindsay Gallagher on 10/3/2011

My Household


Three months into my stint as a full time “film widow” I’ve come to realize that I have a lot of jobs and that I do none of them well.  I’m losing my edge and if I were my boss, I would be fired because of my performance at the following tasks:

Tutor:  I never took a course in education, but I’m pretty certain teachers are not supposed to say: “Are you kidding me?” when students get an answer wrong.  Or: “Really?  How can you not know that?”  Then there is: “Just do it,” which I don’t say in the motivational Nike way.  I could play math games with my kids, or Scrabble, but I don’t.  After dinner and homework I don’t have the brain power, let alone the patience, empathy or nerves.

Cook:  It’s fair to say that I do have the skills to be a good cook, which makes my recent ineptitude even more disappointing.  I used to make intricate meals like homemade ravioli and matzo ball soup.  Now my kids are lucky if they get three home-cooked dinners a week.  (They do get hot breakfasts – thank God for the incredible edible egg!)  I’m not sure when I lost my interest or my touch.  Maybe when the kids rejected everything I cooked?  Maybe it was cleaning all those pots and pans?  I went from someone who sautéed oysters and julienned carrots to a short order cook who only serves two or three mediocre meals.

Housekeeper:  Before I had kids, I would scour my house once a week: mop, vacuum, dust, scrub.  I would get down on my hands and knees.  Now I have help and I find it hard to throw my morning paper in the recycle bin.  Right now, I am typing at my kitchen counter along side a box of granola bars, Cheerios, Lysol disinfecting wipes, one oven mitt, one tea bag, one plastic cup, a stapler, kitchen tongs, the new remote for the garage door and the receipt, Joe’s car keys, a dish towel, a giant pine cone, a stack of placemats, my babysitting co-op paperwork, a pencil, my sunglasses, my iPhone, and of course, this lap top.  All that and a sink on a 5’x3’ surface.  Don’t even get me started on the kitchen table!  At some point, I will put away all that debris, the allergy pills that are out, Tess’s hot pink nail polish, that newspaper, open to a racy add for HUNG.  There are people who never even let that stuff collect, who would enter my house and break out in hives.  I could try harder, but I don’t.  I’m too lazy or bored or both.  Sometimes I walk around my house dazed by the endlessness of the chores.  Sometimes I decide to clean the moldings and wipe down the fingerprints on the walls.  I find myself, hours later, exasperated, scrubbing the floorboards with a toothbrush, hopeless because each inch I tackle only brings me to another dirty inch.

Chauffeur:  As you know, I drive carpools.  My charges have never been tardy for school and I’ve not been in an accident (notice the order of importance!), but in the past month I’ve taken a car full of ball players to the wrong field, dropped off half way through a dance class because I misread the schedule, and arrived at afternoon pick-up ten minutes late, which meant hunting down four kids, three of which were not my own, in after-school care.  Two weekends ago, I dropped Tess at a party so I could drive Ronan to his baseball game thirty minutes away in Monterey Park.  Tess called from the party:  “Can you pick me up,” “No, honey, I can’t.”  “But I want to go home.” “I’m faraway, even if I leave now, I won’t be there for a long time.” “But I want to go home.”  I rushed to my car, accidentally lugging the team snack back up the hill to the parking lot, which meant I had to run it all the way back down to the dugout.  Not only did I miss the end of that game and all of the second one, but I was also late to get Tess.  I don’t think she ate before her rehearsal, but I didn’t ask because I didn’t have time to stop at Subway, which is one of the few foods she will eat.  (Turkey on white with olive oil and black olives. Yuck!)

Gardener:  I’ve always been terrible at this and I still am.  Tess told me yesterday it was time for us to plant for spring.  I have no idea what she meant.

Homemaker:  I keep a running list of improvements and repairs, but lately I have let them pile up.  Light bulbs needs changing, clothes need sorting, there is a medicine cabinet on my second flood landing that should be hung on the bathroom wall.  The new puppy hasn’t helped.  She destroyed a chair a week after I’d had it fixed and has chewed holes in all my sofa cushions.  (I did manage to mend those when the seamstress at the dry cleaner refused.)  I have no idea how I completely redid two houses while the kids were babies.  Now I have trouble hanging art on the walls.

Accountant:  Unfortunately, I am generally good at this, so even though I find bill paying/bank account balancing and managing investments odious, in this household it falls on me.  While I have not yet led us in to ruin, I certainly could do better.  For instance, I could budget, but that feels like a diet and all diets ever do is make me eat.  My biggest spending weaknesses are anything for the kids.  Need a new bat, leotard, pair of sneakers, just ask mom.  Fancy hair pins, baseball pants, cotillion clothes….I can’t say no.  The other is travel.  I might find lots of great deals to get us started, but once were through airport security, I throw all financial caution to the wind.  You might here me say: “You only live once,” “We may never be here again,”  or “We’ve come this far, I’m not going to skimp now.”

Tennis player:  To be as good as I’d like to be, I should to take lessons every week.  Not only do I not have time to do that, but I spent the money on a new baseball glove.  A match can take three hours, after which I am exhausted and often down on myself (for losing) which makes me ever worse at all of the above jobs I need to do.

Fashionista:  I used to care a great deal about clothes, but now I am thrilled to wear that perfect pair of yoga pants.  Every day.  Why not?  Unless I’m going somewhere special, I hardly see the point in being uncomfortable.  Every once and awhile, I wear a little sun dress or some nice top, blow dry my hair, but then no one knows who I am.

Pet Owner:  The picture says it all.  Sorry PETA — I turned my back  for one minute and Tess buttoned Flowers into Kit’s American Girl Doll dress.

Wife:  To be honest, I could be a lot better at this, too.  In the few moments I get with Joe on the phone, I should probably say things like: “Thank you for working so hard,” or “We miss you so much.”  Even knowing he’s on a set filled with 20-year-old Bunnies, doesn’t stop me from complaining or boring him with a list of child-related dramas.

Writer:  I’m so busy sucking at the rest of my obligations, I barely even have time for this blog.

Thankfully, I have tenure and I’m cheap.  For all of my faults, my kids still tell they love me every night.

Sky the night I wrote this blog.


About Lindsay Jamieson

Author of Beautiful Girl, mother of 2, wife of cinematographer, former dancer, snowboarder -- recovered bulimic.
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