by Lindsay Gallagher on 10/3/2011
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.