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.