Why My House is Messy

I know my house is messy. I’m not a good housekeeper. I never have been, and neither was my mother. I know she would have recognized herself in Claire McCarthy’s Huffington Post piece.* Also, there’s this.

I do want my house to be clean. It’s so much more peaceful and comfortable when it is. Mr. Sandwich and I agree on this (For the record, if you come over to our house? He’s the one who cleaned it for you.) And we really want to have people over, but we’d feel so much better about it if we were more orderly.

messy kitchen table

This is our kitchen table after Mr. Sandwich has taken some stuff off of it.

And, honestly, “orderly” is key here. We have too much stuff, and we have no organization system. But there aren’t dirty dishes lying around (seriously, I feel like I am always washing dishes), and the laundry is either clean or in the hamper (Mr. Sandwich is always doing laundry). We’re neither hoarders nor a hotbed of disease.

So is your house clean? I’d probably love being there. But if it’s a mess, I’m probably cool with that, too. Because I’m not visiting you for your house, I’m visiting you because it’s fun. So if I’m not judging you, why am I judging myself?

*That Dutch saying quoted in the comments? Yeah, the Dutch are a nation of people who leave their curtains open so you can peer in their windows and see how clean their houses are. My mother-in-law is Dutch. She’s the loveliest person, and yet she still can’t hide that my housekeeping pains her.

Note to the World

Please keep in mind that if you’re in line at a drugstore that also gives flu shots, and there’s a small child shrieking like a banshee next to you, it’s possible that she’s not actually all that poorly behaved.

Maybe she feels like she got stabbed in the arm.

And if you still think that’s too much, maybe we can test your theory by seeing how loudly you scream when I stab you in the arm.

Mostly, I Hope Jadis Isn’t in There

Actual conversation from last night:

Me: Baguette, why are you opening the closet door? Narnia isn’t in there.

Me (to Mr. Sandwich): Although I don’t actually know that. Maybe Narnia is in there.

Mr. Sandwich: If Narnia is in there, you know what that means. More storage.

Me: More cold storage.

Mr. Sandwich: But bad cold storage, because if you put a hamburger in there and come back for it a week later, it’s actually a hundred years old.

No one ever wonders why we’re married.

Sorry, Wrong Number

No, this isn’t a Barbara Stanwyck movie. It’s just something we’ve found ourselves saying a lot. For the past five years.

We moved into our house in November of 2008. That meant we got a new-to-us phone number. But, as it turns out, not new to the world.

The previous account holders appear to have been a “Don and Irene Plantain” (not their real names). We got a lot of phone calls from health care providers checking on Don’s condition. And then we started getting phone calls from creditors. If we were home when they called, we’d tell them they had the wrong number. If we weren’t, we’d try to call back. Some of these creditors were very persistent–or at least their automated messages were.

(Note to people programming these calls: My answering machine cannot legally confirm or refute identity. And your statement that the recipient should hang up if they are not the correct party? Yeah, my answering machine doesn’t know how to do that. Because it’s an answering machine. Rethink your lousy, non-binding strategy.)

Along with those, we got calls from restaurant delivery people trying to drop off pizza and Thai food. We’d explain that they were clearly at a security box that needed to be reprogrammed, because they were not reaching the person who’d ordered the food.

One day, I asked the guy trying to deliver food, “Where are you?” And that’s how we know Don and Irene’s address. A year or so later, I found Irene on Facebook and asked her to update her phone number. She insisted that the box at their condo complex was not programmed with their number (clearly a lie), that they had given up the phone number a few months earlier (clearly a lie) and that she had “good reasons” for changing it. I told her that we were getting continuous messages for them, and would like to pass them along to her. She told me to leave her alone.

Later, her mother called to wish her a Merry Christmas.

We emailed the condo homeowners’ association and asked them to reprogram the box, so at least we don’t have to explain the situation to pizza delivery people anymore.

The calls waxed and waned over the years, as, apparently, did Don’s health. We’ve gotten phone calls from Medicare and Senior Services, and most recently from individuals and companies who are trying to provide services and equipment to Don. We continue to tell the callers that they have been given the wrong number. Invariably, they ask if we know how to get in touch with Don and Irene.

No, I do not. And I don’t particularly want to. But we sure do want Irene to provide a phone number that will result in actual medical care for her husband. Because as things stand, we’re not sure he’s getting it.

Mom-Friendly Meals: Ramen

Ramen with spinach and poached egg

  • Bring two cups of vegetable broth to a boil.
  • Open a packet of ramen noodles. Throw away the flavor packet. Boil the noodles for three minutes.
  • Add a handful of rinsed spinach leaves, a splash of soy sauce, a splash of sesame oil, and a few drops of sriracha.
  • Pour ramen, broth, and spinach into bowl.
  • Boil another pot of water. Stir into a whirlpool and drop in a cold, cracked egg. Turn off the heat and cover for five minutes.
  • Remove the egg from the pot with a slotted spoon. Add to bowl.

Seriously, this could not be easier, or tastier. And just for the record, this is the first time I ever poached an egg this way.

Things I Don’t Get

These aren’t things I hate. I just don’t see what the big damn deal is.

  • Pro sports
  • Dr. Who
  • Kate Winslet’s acting
  • Neon clothing and accessories
  • Jackass and Tosh.0 and shadenfreude directed toward strangers (actually, I do kind of hate these)
  • Keira Knightley
  • Boyfriend jeans
  • Gerard Butler
  • Indoor skydiving
  • Skydiving
Elmo in a tutu

But Elmo in a tutu? I totally get that.

Mom-Friendly Meals: Strawberry Spinach Salad

I went to the farmers’ market on Sunday morning and found some unbelievable strawberries and fresh spinach. My first thought was “Smoothies!” But then I came up with another option.

The big question was dressing. We don’t eat a lot of salads, so we don’t have dressing just sitting around waiting to be eaten. and I have never really gotten into vinaigrettes. But a quick search turned up a recipe that sounded good, and I remembered that I do have balsamic vinegar.

I washed a couple of handfuls of spinach and used the recipe I’d found to make a quick dressing: I splashed balsamic vinegar, a little honey, and some olive oil into a bowl and microwaved it quickly to make it easier to blend. Then I tossed the spinach in the dressing and microwaved it again to wilt the spinach.

After that, I sliced a few strawberries on top of the spinach and added some goat cheese and walnut pieces. And voila!

Strawberry Spinach Salad