The Germ Factory

There was one glorious day – Monday – when my nose wasn’t runny and itchy, and my throat wasn’t sore, and my head didn’t ache. Then came along late Monday night, and the whole cold has begun again.

On the bright side, I got tons of work done on le manuscript yesterday, so today I am totally, completely justified in doing nothing but watch the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. This is best done over one long stretch, you know, block out five hours without interruption. But I did a few other things (no chores, don’t worry), like check email, look up recipes for vegetables in the CSA box that I’ve never even heard of before, play a round or two of solitaire (not twenty – I’m finally getting tired of it), tinker with the synopsis and pitch for le manuscript…then I came back to the television, ready to watch Mr. Darcy get rejected by Elizabeth Bennet.

Husband called and I answered the phone with, “Mr. Darcy is about to propose. Can’t talk now.” I could hear him roll his eyes.

But really, it’s like a pilgrimmage into a comforting, familiar world. When I’m sick with my second cold in two weeks, at least give me that.

The Land of Dull Knives and Duller Wits

A year and five months ago I proudly showed off my new home to a couple of friends. “Wow, this place is great!” they said. When we reached the family room, the tone changed. “OMG you have to get rid of these vertical blinds.”

The family room is a fabulous room. Funky wood floors, an old wood stove, big windows, and three doors to the backyard. Doors covered in…vertical blinds! The blinds were supposed to be white once upon a time, or at the very least cream colored, but now they have a sort of sallow, yellow look. If a paint company needed a name for this precise shade, they might choose “malarial yellow*.” And because the family room has two sliding doors and a french door, there are three sets of vertical blinds. It’s practically all you see when you walk in.

Yeah, I know. Ew.

But we move a little slowly in this house, not only when I’m on the elliptical machine, but also when it comes to getting things done, and while we have finally actually looked at various options for the blinds, we haven’t found anything we like…at least that we can agree on. This slow relaxed pace doesn’t only apply to large-ish jobs like window treatments. We usually start off with, “It would be so much easier to find things in our closet if we had some kind of storage system.” (Piles of shoeboxes and stacks of folded shirts continue to topple out every time we open the door.) Or, “Hmm, maybe we should you know, clean the scum out of the bathtub so our toddler can graduate from her infant tub.” (She’s still in the infant tub.)

Frustrated when trying to carve the turkey last Thanksgiving, Husband’s parents gave us a knife sharpener for Christmas. Five months later, we have sharpened two (2) knives. Even really simple chores, like replacing the sprinkler heads so our lawn doesn’t turn brown, get shuffled to the end of the to-do list in favor of a) reading, b) writing, c) sleeping, or d) just about anything else.

How I wish I could blame it on Z. She was the perfect screaming scapegoat when she was four months old and permanently attached to my chest. I could barely take a shower, much less manage to vacuum or unload the dishwasher. Now that she’s older and can play on her own for up to an hour, I’m fresh out of scapegoats. The truth is, we’re just not the type of people who enjoy productive pursuits.

Sometimes I fantasize about going back to Jane Austen time, when people could dabble in painting, learn languages, and embroider because they had nannies and gardeners and cooks and maids.

Then I remember: not every person had those perks, because somebody had to actually be the nannies, gardeners, cooks, and maids. So while I’m nostalgic for a time I’ve never known, I end up wondering: would I have been Elizabeth Bennet, touring the countryside and popping up at Pemberley, or would I have been Hill, catering to every freaking complaint of Mrs. Bennet?

It’s not a risk I’m willing to take. I’ll manage my own child, garden, sandwiches, and laundry, thanks.

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*Yes, I realize malaria is not the same as yellow fever. Creative license, dears.