I had a conversation today with an old friend who's in a fairly new relationship. I always love to listen to people who are in the throes of new love, as they are still in discovery mode, learning new things about each other. It was great to hear how happy he is. As he was talking about her, you could sense the joy and relief he feels from being oh! so in love. His girlfriend is a modern, beautiful young girl who is wonderfully independent. And domestic.
He was telling me how she decorated his house so perfectly, making it feel like home, and that she cooks often and really well. I agreed that being able to cook and care for the home is very important (stay with me, ladies) because it's what makes a house a home. (Don't agree? Think about the things that bring you comfort: a special meal a hand-knit blanket; a clean, organized space to put your feet up.) We were talking about how it's so tough nowadays to find a woman who actually enjoys doing all that. It's unfortunate. If it were up to me, I'd build a domestic goddess army.
I marvel at how I get joy from doing the simplest of domestic tasks. Baking cookies, for example, or scrubbing down the countertops. There is an immediate reward (cookies; a clean countertop) which we don't often get to experience. I especially love folding my boyfriend's laundry. I get a feeling of satisfaction, like I've done something good for him, and it's great to see a pile of clothes and towels get sorted down into t-shirts, towels, socks, etc.
I don't, however, love vacuuming. I do love a freshly vacuumed floor, but I hate lugging the giant barrel around the house, dealing with the cord as it gets wrapped around furniture, caught on table legs. Then there are the gobs of dust and hair gathered on the bristles of the wood floor attachment, that I have to pull off, along with the attachment, so that the pipe has room to suck it all up (though it does make a helluva sound).
Currently, I am learning the art of starting a fire. The base of kindling and balled up paper, the twigs unevenly placed, and then the wood stacked at the very top, leaving room for air. While I've had quite a time trying to master this, when I see the flames in my fireplace, it's a total gift.
A friend recently wrote to me, "Who knew you were Martha Stewart?" It just doesn't get much better.