Irreverent Mama

Friday, January 11, 2008

It started with a not-quite-dry bath towel.

I'm changing careers. This is not news; it's been ongoing for a while now. I work from home, and will continue to do so; only the source of the income will change. Well, that's not true. A lot will change, most of it for the better. Or so I hope.

In the meantime, however, I continue with the old job and squeeze the new one into the cracks. As new income increases, old job will decrease, but for the foreseeable future, I'm holding down a job-and-a-half. And it's going to get worse.

Matthew was heading into the shower when I realized that his towel was still in the dryer. (He does the meal planning and grocery shopping; I do the laundry. Both of us view this as equitable. Most days.) I popped down to the basement to retrieve it. Because it was very cold, it was hard to tell if it was quite dry or not. But when I'd flapped it a few times in the warm kitchen air, it was clear: still damp.

Our dryer is functioning at about the same level of efficiency as the fridge a month before Christmas. It needs replacing, but we do have laundry lines in the basement, which I used for years, with the dryer there for emergencies only. This year I've gotten lazy.

I hand Matthew his towel.

"I'm afraid it's still a tiny bit damp, but it'll do." He nods, easy-going sort that he is. "I could be hanging things, like I did last year, but there's so much clutter heaped up down there I can't move around."

My voice cracks on the last words, and, to my astonishment, I'm falling apart. Some men would grab their towel and head for the hills at this point, but Matthew is made of sterner stuff. He doesn't take me into his arms for a "there-there" pat on the back. He just tips his head, indicating his listening ears.

And I'm off. Stuff I didn't even know was in there.

"I hate using the dryer all the time, I hate using all that electricity when I don't have to, but I can't even reach the lines because of the clutter, and I hate the state the basement's in, and I know I keep saying I'll get to it, but I just never do, and everywhere I look there are lists of things that I should be doing and I'm not, and I just feel so inadequate. I know I could be doing it, but I'm disorganized, I'm not using my time effectively, I procrastinate..."

I wind down to a halt. My throat feels shredded with the tension, but I'm not crying. I don't cry readily, not for personal stuff. Too busy analyzing and thinking it through. I save tears for fluffy-cute kittens on TV commercials and tragic stories of children shredded by wars.

He's a patient man, Matthew. He knows when to listen, he knows when to speak. "You're not inefficient at all. I don't see that as procrastination, I see you being strategic with your time and resources properly. There isn't time to do it all, so you choose what's most important. That's not inefficient, that's not disorganized: that's just smart."

Now I'm sobbing, but it's the good sort, the shudders that break up and release the tension, and I'm in his arms. My sobs shake both of us, and Matthew, patient, loving, perfect Matthew, holds me until the storm runs its course.

Wonderful man. He's right, of course.

And that damned basement? We'll sort it together. When there's time.



  • I hate not being able to hang my clothes out on the line too. I don't have a drier, and I'll resist getting one right to the bitter end, hanging my towels on the radiator and running downstairs with a whole crap-load of wet stuff, jumping over obstacles to hang it out on our puny little line. For I am stubborn, and I am determined to Save Energy.

    Then I go back to California and watch people with huge backyards and a zillion places to hang laundry, chucking it all into cavernous driers and bitching about how hard it is to find time to do this. And I too could go berserk.

    By Blogger Mary Witzl, at 8:29 a.m.  

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