I have just a few things I need to take care of today. I have work, cleaning, work, an interview, work, laundry, work, errands, and, OH YEAH, work.
So I decided to make soup. You know, because I wasn’t busy.
There is something primal, to me, about throwing things in a pot and letting them cook all day and turn into something you might actually want to eat. When I first came to Georgia it was approximately 110 degrees every single day, and I found myself looking forward to the winter so that I could start making soup again. I waited. And waited. And the kids were still going to school in shorts in November, and I realized that I should probably stop “waiting for winter” and just make some soup anyway.
Right now it’s about 32 degrees out, which is POSITIVELY ARCTIC by Georgia standards, so I think I’m good to go.
My dad and stepmom are arriving tonight for a visit. The children are just a tiny bit excited. (“GRANDPA CAN DO LEGOS WITH ME!” “GRANDMA CAN PLAY DOLLS WITH ME!”) Me, I am looking forward to it as well, but I just have these seven hundred things I need to finish, first.
For example: Chickadee has the big bedroom. The deal with the big bedroom is that she gets to have it—and Otto’s old queen bed—but her room becomes the guest room when we have visitors. She then gets to spend the week sleeping on her old bed (which is now on a daybed frame) in the playroom. No biggie, right?
Except, it is a biggie. It’s a GREAT BIG HAIRY BIGGIE. Because it’s HER ROOM and it’s NO FAIR and HOW COME MONKEY NEVER HAS TO MOVE and WAH WAH WAH WAH. None of this is the truth, by the way. The truth is that she really doesn’t mind giving up her room, but she positively hates cleaning it in preparation.
And so things sort of went like this: On Saturday, as we cleaned up for Monkey’s party, I suggested she go clean her room. “Oh, no,” she said, with a little flap of her hand, “I don’t need to.” I gaped at her. “My room is OFF LIMITS,” she explained.
“Ummm… yes,” I agreed, “but Grandma and Grandpa are coming this week. You need to clean up, anyway.”
“I’ll do the bookcases!” she offered, and the bookcases did rather look as though a giant had been perusing them for a good novel when he was overcome by a particularly violent sneeze, scattering books all over the couch and floor, as well as haphazardly topsy-turvy all over the shelves. So I left her to do that.
On Sunday, I reminded her again. But she was too TIRED, you know, from the excitement of the camper show. Monday? Homework and piano lessons, and DO I HAVE TO TAKE A SHOWER TONIGHT? (yes) and whoops, no time! Yesterday? Well, that’s when things got interesting.
And by “got interesting” I mean “I found things I couldn’t identify underneath her dresser.”
My parents will be quick to tell you that I did much the same thing when I was her age; my room was a hazardous waste pit and I didn’t see why it mattered. My preferred method of disposal was to shove stuff under my bed. She doesn’t do that, perhaps because the bed she had until recently was one that didn’t have an underneath. But her dresser sits up on wee little decorative legs, yielding a handy storage spot underneath!
Here is how I think room cleaning should work: Together, we pull out everything that’s somewhere it doesn’t belong, and then while I pick out the garbage (really, are we saving this Sun Chips bag for something special? Hmmmm?), she can take the things she wishes to keep and sort them and put them in their proper places.
Here is how Chickadee thinks room cleaning should work: She sits on the bed and weeps that she’ll never get it all done, becoming progressively more hysterical as I continue on, because that plastic penguin from a Happy Meal, that one is SO SPECIAL AND HER FAVORITE, DON’T THROW IT AWAAAAAAAY!
I’m trying to see her side of things, truly, but I’ll confess I’m just not quite there.
By the time I sent her to bed, we’d picked up enough that I no longer wanted to go in there with a trashbag and just chuck everything. This morning she put on a brave face and told me she’d tidied up a bit more, and please please please don’t throw anything else away, and I agreed to just straighten up while she’s at school.
And now I’m putting off going up there for as long as possible.
So, soup! It will be delicious. I like to use the split pea recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook, but because I’m not a vegetarian I make it with a ham bone, which I’m sure is not what Mollie Katzen wants me to do, but too bad, because, pork fat = yum.
And I deserve some pork fat after what I saw in my daughter’s closet yesterday.