Channeling My Domestic Goddess

She’s in there, and speaks to me often. But I’m usually too busy coming up with lame excuses to pay attention to her.

Last Saturday, though, in a fit of uncharacteristic domesticity, I listened.  What prompted this?  Friends who’d stayed with me for a week used the refrigerator as a depository for canned dog food for their beloved Dachshund. I do not tolerate canned pet food of any kind in my home. It’s a personal policy. Just accept it.

By the time I’d figured out the vile substance was not only being stored in the fridge, but dispensed with silverware we use for eating, I was speechless. Besides, I like these people and wanted them to feel comfortable at my place. I said nothing.

However, after they left, I was compelled to reclaim my territory by sterilizing everything that might have touched the dog food.

It’s OK. The fridge needed it anyway. Big time. A fish stick lodged in one of those hard to reach places had been there since the early years of the Bush administration. It was literally time to take out the trash.

And there was a lot of it:  A bottle of steak sauce from 2004 and several items that had expired in 2006. Also, I found some cat hair. What? I don’t think my cat’s been in the refrigerator, but I suppose I can’t be sure.

In addition to these items of note, there’s a coconut I’ve kept in the refrigerator for 31 years. This is not a joke. It’s an actual, whole coconut with a history in our family and it’s doing just fine, thank you very much.  The children even ask about it occasionally. I brushed off the grime and put it back in the crisper.

This time I vowed I wouldn’t employ my traditional Suzy Homemaker “no fridge booger left behind” policy.  I’ve already earned that merit badge several times over.  Nope. This time it would be a quick in and out.. cleaning like mad and no worries about stray crumbs. Just get in there and get it done.

I now need sunglasses when I open the refrigerator door. It’s snowy white, tidy and fragrant, but more importantly, it’s dog food free.

So is all the silverware, which I ran through the dishwasher–twice.  The kitchen hand towels and dishcloths were also properly sanitized.

Call me obsessive-compulsive or just plain weird. I don’t care. What I know for sure is when the stakes are high, the goddess comes screaming through.


Livin’ The Dream

My friend Dave is making it work. He talked about it for a long time, figured out his niche, scraped like mad, and then it happened–His first movie trailer.

Karen’s family left the nest. She worried about money and what would come next. I asked her what she wanted to do. “Um, maybe get an office job.” No, really, I said. If you could do anything, what would it be? The words tumbled out even while she tried to contain them: “I want my own dance studio. I want to teach dance.” I saw the spark in her eyes and felt the fever in her voice. Next thing I knew, she’d remodeled her basement and had 30 young dance students.

A single, 30-year-old mother of one spent years working in a job only marginally satisfying that allowed her to pay the bills. In the meantime she composed music, experimented with a huge variety of instruments, bought a laptop and started mixing her own tracks. She’s already put out one CD on her own, is working on her second, and is now registering for college to expand her considerable talents into parts unknown but suspected. All while working at her day job.

Hmmm. These are all people I know. In some ways, they’re much like me. Yet, they landed on something I haven’t. They figured it out. They decided on the best thing that could ever happen, and pursued it. Really. They’re living the dream.

I’ve been reading about cognitive dissonance. Longer ago than I care to remember, during a time of intense personal ickyness, a friend gave me a book on the subject. I read 11 pages. But I got the drift and ever since then, the idea stuck with me. I think it’s lodged in my brain for a reason–I need to understand it, remember it and how it relates to me. Because, truthfully, I keep pushing up against it rather than just riding the wave into greater purpose.

Believing one thing about myself while acting out the opposite is bogus. The resulting discomfort rages and time’s a wastin’. I love what I work at and suspect it’s lifting me to a higher place. But I know there’s more to discover.

Success stories inspire, but unless my uneasiness provokes action, it’s all they do.

The rub? Still figuring out the dream.. but the good news is, I’m getting closer.