Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eight O'Clock

With unfaltering predictability, 8 o'clock every night is when I momentarily panic.

The house looks like I've been smoking crack all day, and I hardly ever smoke crack all day.
The kitchen is a post-dinner mess.
And I just want everything tidied, the kitchen cleaned, and the boys soundly sleeping so that when The Man arrives home after work, I can greet him with a clean quiet house, a cocktail, and a blowjob.

I think I was unduly influenced by an afternoon I spent reading my mom's home ec notebooks when I was twelve or thirteen. According to her notes (taken from a home ec class circa '64, taught by the nun who would bang your head on the chalk board if you had a boyfriend at a North Dakota Catholic academy), the woman should have these things done:
The house should be clean.
The children should be clean and quiet.
The wife should freshen up and apply a little make-up.
The wife should politely ask the husband about his day.
The wife should not make too many complaints about her day nor should she overburden the husband with questions about his.

It's not really about the gender subjugation issue for me like it seemed to be for the nuns, but I just know it's nicer to come home to a little peace than a crack house. When I earned the bacon, I loved coming home to a quiet house after The Man had put the boys to bed. (I really doubt it was clean though.)

Invariably, the panic subsides and everything (or enough) gets done, but I really struggle with figuring out how to circumnavigate that bit of daily stress. It wasn't too bad tonight though. I mistakenly thought I could turn up Iggy Pop and tornado my way through the house until it was tidy, but a bout of boy naughtiness got in my way....    Eventually, Boys One and Two went to their friend's house and Boy Three and I and our friends The Grateful Dead tidied, vacuumed, and calmed ourselves.

Now, I've got to Google whether or not calm is always a reflexive verb because I'm too tired to figure it out. My mind is full of the big grammatical questions in life.


  1. obviously, it's not only reflexive, it can be a transitive verb or a phrasal verb (which I have never heard of but am pleased to have the phrase in my lexicon)

  2. I looked up reflexive and phrasal verbs but was not motivated to wrap my brain around either one of them. (I still take delight, however, in being able to diagram sentences--does that date me?)

  3. As I understand it, a reflexive verb is one that the subjects do to themselves as in I calm myself or she bathes herself. A phrasal verb is simply when a verb takes on new meaning by becoming part of a phrase as in calm down or blow up.

    I wish I could diagram a sentence but I think Reagan cut that from schools when I was a kid... do you also know how to use a slide rule?

  4. Actually, I treasured my college slide rule and, even though I'm a compulsive discarder, kept it for many years after graduation. Then one day--maybe 20 years (?) later--I took it out of its case and discovered all the thin wire parts had rusted completely away. A sad day ...