Tuesday, 2 October 2007

QandA -- Part One

I've got the five question challenge from Julie at Using My Words. If you haven't been to her blog, do go. You get two for one at the moment, as her sister is guest blogging for Julie. They're both thoughtful and really funny; top quality.

Anyway, here are the first three questions and my answers, because the answers are sure stretching out.

1. What are your beliefs about household chores … who should do what? And to what degree (as in, how high or low is your tolerance for messy and dirty)?

Ideally, the residents of the home split the chores evenly among themselves. Providing they are of an age to push the vacuum rather than ride on it, that is. Chores can be split to a certain extent by preference but the split has to be fair. In Utopia, this happens. In my Elder Daughter's house it almost happens, providing she threatens the teenagers with death and dismemberment at frequent intervals. In my house, things did not and do not happen in any way like that. We have a last century gender split on a lot of tasks -- he does the cars and I do the meal planning. He stokes the furnace and I do the laundry. When we do switch tasks, he has to check the furnace and I have to refold the towels.

Sheepishly I confess that I find it hard to give up control of my laundry room. I want laundry done my way. So my family have always had their clothes washed, folded, ironed (!) and placed in their rooms. I do things like iron sheets and dish towels. I want the towels folded in thirds. I'm totally weird about laundry. (Boy, is this embarrassing or what?)

The rest of the chores do not affect me in the same way, but I do want them done thoroughly. So I used to do a lot of the picky stuff myself. For instance, pulling the teenaged girls' waist long hair out of the bathroom drain after they cleaned their way. Digging Barbie doll shoes out of the shag rug. Wiping fingerprints. I have a low tolerance for dirty dirt. Messy I can live with, but JG can't, so I've always picked up a lot. The kids had a toy box on wheels when they were toddlers and the game every night consisted of me supervising a wheel through the downstairs while they threw things into it. The toy piles morphed into piles of wet dirty boots in our (tiny) front hall as they got older and so, when we built this house, we put a huge walk in closet in the (very large) front hall. Also two walk ins in the master bedroom. Stuff is out of sight. JG is happy. As for me, I have a cleaner now. I tidy up before she comes, and I do the stuff she misses after she leaves. And I'm happy.

2. Who are your closest friends and why?

My closest friends are books. I have good people friends from as far back as high school and some neighbours that I count as wonderful friends, but where I go if I need amusement, solace or information is to a book.

I can lose myself or distract myself with an old favourite, sit up into the small hours with an exciting plot, find a reference or quote faster in Bartlett or the Oxford Companion than from Google, learn something or find something to mull over. I put myself to sleep at night by continuing plot lines or working myself into a favourite -- I can be at school at Avonlea or wander in Lorien or dock at Meetpoint with the Pride.

I probably have four hundred books in this room alone, and as many more stashed elsewhere around the house. I go to the library every three weeks (it's a half hour drive) and bring home a dozen more. I borrow from my friends. I buy books at bookstores and on line. I give a lot of books away. I sell some. But the stash continues to grow. It's good to have lots of friends.

Why? I suspect because with a book, I am in control.

You know, I'm not coming out of this looking very good at all.

3. If you could write a letter to yourself in the past, what age would you choose and what would you tell yourself?

Not much point in giving good advice, because I wouldn't listen to myself any more than I listened to adults as a child and good advice as a young woman. Nor would the young woman I was want to know what she would become. But if I could, I would warn myself about one specific event that took place when I was sixteen. My math teacher made a really horrible racial remark about one of my friends. We were so astonished by this that I, and all my classmates, sat in utter silence and did nothing about it. We were '50s kids who were trained to be quiet, passive and polite. I would love to write myself a letter explaining what was about to happen and warning myself to be prepared to stand up, protest and leave. I've regretted ever since that I did nothing.

On the letter thing -- I am writing a series of letters to my granddaughter, lest death or disability remove me before she's old enough to relate to me. I have a great curiosity about my own grandmother, who died when I was around three years old and would love to have more of her than her (beautiful) embroidery and a few bad photographs. I cherish every word I have that my mother wrote. I think the mommyblogs may prove a treasure to the children of the 21st century.

8 comments:

  1. i love that idea of writing letters to your granddaughter.

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  2. I'm so glad to have found you!

    The letters to your granddaughter are beautiful. I tried so hard to get my grandfather to write an autobiography before he died - he didn't believe that he was interesting enough. Of course he was, but I didn't know how to tell him that.

    And I think you are right, the blogs are going to be very important in the people's history. Or herstory as it may be.

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  3. I hope someday my kids can read these things and think "Mom had a sense of humor like me"

    I wish I had more letters from my grandmother.

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  4. "On the letter thing -- I am writing a series of letters to my granddaughter, lest death or disability remove me before she's old enough to relate to me. I have a great curiosity about my own grandmother, who died when I was around three years old and would love to have more of her than her (beautiful) embroidery and a few bad photographs. I cherish every word I have that my mother wrote. I think the mommyblogs may prove a treasure to the children of the 21st century." I love this. i am already wishing that I had starting blogging when my daughter was younger. I did start a journal justfor her when she was just a few months old, but was very sporadic about writing in it. The outside audience in blogging keeps me coming back to write more and more, and I wish I had it when she was just a baby!

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  5. OK, now I am always going to think of you in terms of shag carpeting. Barbie shoes in the shag rug. Hee, hee.

    I loved your answer about the math teacher. There are so many things that have happened in my life that I simply did not have the presence of mind in the moment to respond in the way I wanted. I would love to go back in time and give myself a bit of a heads-up.

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  6. Mad, you got the darned things out of the shag with, wait for it, a shag rake. Oh, stop snickering!

    To you who commented on the letters, I was lucky to figure out how precious the grandparents' words are and tape my other grandmother before she died, talking about herself as a young woman raising babies. My mother is on the tape also making the odd comment and the ED comes in at the end, up from her nap and banging magazines around the coffee table, age one. I can't listen to the tape without tears, but I love it.
    So, here's advice. If they won't write, tape them.

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  7. I am inspired by the idea of writing letters to your granddaughter. My mom died at age 82 and her mom at age 86. I do the arithmetic and realize I am very unlikely to see Nate get married, become a dad. I had my first child at 27; Vanessa had Nate at age 34. I understand all the excellent reasons to wait to have children, but it might diminish the grandchild/grandparent relationship.

    I am reading your archives and I love your writing.

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  8. Oh LOL b/c I don't think you came across bad at all. As usual I think you sound great. :)

    Like JG, I need things Put Away.

    This works poorly in a family with small children and sloppy husband. So it's all me, and I get irritated. (Now THAT comes off badly LOL.)

    We also divide things along preference/ability which gets things fairly even, although I am Project Manager (which also irritates me and THAT also comes off badly).

    I love your answer about books. I would never have thought to answer it that way, but I promise you if you asked anyone who knows me well, they'd have thought to answer that way about me.

    Interesting letter answer. Do you think you would have walked out, with a heads up?

    I love asking that question and seeing the responses. I have no idea how I'd answer is probably why LOL.

    Julie
    Using My Words

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