Monday, November 13, 2006

Chilly, with rain and exhaustion

Every year I have a tendency to forget (until abruptly reminded) that fall and spring here can be windy and rainy. Saturday was lovely, but yesterday and today we have had a drenching rain and wind. It's warmish, but the rain just chills you anyway.

And of course the rain and general gloom are exacerbated by the fact that it's Monday. Life is full, too full. By the time I get to Sunday night, I feel as though I have run a marathon. Last night I was beyond tired, and I still have no clean clothes. I wonder how many others feel this way?

Why are we living like this? What happened to the 4-day work week that the pundits promised us, back in the 60s or 70s? Perhaps now it is time for my diatribe on modern life, and my unfavorable comparison of my life with my mother's.

My mother was the person I didn't want to grow up to be. I felt particular horror at the idea of becoming a homemaker. So I worked like mad, getting two master's degrees, and letting a kindly day-care provider raise my children for ten years. And now I have a nice 403B(7) account for retirement, but the last thirty years have been a blur. Where did they go?

Now the contrast. My mother may have relied on my father to make the money, but she made the life. The house was clean. Food was cooked, and not eaten out of microwave containers. We had two cars. We had nice, two-week vacations every year. Money was never a problem. My mother had the time to change the drapes and bedspreads every spring and fall. She decorated lavishly for holidays. Birthdays were a big deal.

Was she fulfilled? I don't know. Thirty years ago, I'd have said no. Now I'm saying probably. She had been a banker prior to my birth, but never displayed any desire to go back to work. Not one iota.

Now there's my husband and I. The house is a disaster, even with a cleaning person every two weeks. The sink is piled with dishes. We can't keep our doctors' appointments straight. I cook a huge pot of something on a Sunday, and we nibble at it all week. Microwave pizza is the standard fallback when the leftovers are gone, or have grown green fuzz. Forget changing the drapes and bedspreads for spring and fall; the beds never get made, so there would be little point. The Christmas tree is so much trouble that I loathe it, and bribe my adult children to put it up. Christmas for me would be fine with a wreath on the door and a candle in the window. Birthdays? No one is ever home. When they turn up, they get their check.

Is this what I wanted? Did I really think I could have the gracious family life that I grew up with when I'm teetering on the edge of exhaustion all the time?

But I guess I brought it on myself, didn't I? Be careful what you wish for ....

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