Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Better Food, Cleaner Dishes and No Spiders

We sort of have this thing about appliances around here.  Way back at the very dawning of this blog I wrote a post about our hunt for, and purchase of, a washing machine.  It tells the tale of our complete ignorance and relative incompetence when it comes to making an educated purchase of such contraptions.

But it's not the issue of having to choose one that keeps us from buying a dishwasher or microwave.  Money isn't the problem, either (because we have bags of money in the basement waiting for us to decide what to spend it on)  (don't tell the neighbors).  No, we are just prejudiced against these appliances.

I don't like food out of the microwave.  As a little girl my best friend had a microwave WAY before the rest of the world did and we would stick a piece of Wonder bread in there and relish each bite of the steaming, rubbery, food-like substance that came out 15 seconds later.  But I seem to have outgrown rubbery food and become a disliker of slimy cheese.

I like my cheese crispy.  I like my hot-dogs browned (and un-exploded).  I like my frozen dinners -- I don't like my frozen dinners.  Everything a microwave can do, a stove-top or oven can do better, in my opinion (except soften butter).  So we haven't had a microwave for 11 years.

Greg is strongly averse to dishwashers.  "They don't work well", he says.  "They're not worth the trouble" he says.  And I take his word for it about not being worth the trouble because he's something of an expert, since he washes about !% of the dirty dishes around here.  So, we don't have a dishwasher (actually we do in the downstairs kitchen but we've never used it).

We also don't have a drier, but that's more for reasons of nobody-in-Europe-has-a-drier.  Plus 11 years of not using one has made me a little afraid of them (although I miss them dearly at the same time).

In conclusion, the other morning Evie came into my room and told me there was a spider.  I stepped out of my bedroom and found this waiting to jump down on the next person who dared descend the stairs below him:

For comparison, the light underneath is about as long as my humerus.  (I always give measurements in bone lengths)  (especially while talking about spider size around Halloween)  This guy was definitely bigger than my patella.  (glad he never got anywhere near my patella, though, let me tell you!)

It was no problem though, because Greg came out and sucked him up with the vacuum.  Because we HAVE a vacuum.  We are, in fact, firm believers in the vacuum cleaner.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Hardest Thing

I'm currently in the middle of a week spent with my in-laws (mom, dad and sister).  I love them dearly and they are good people.  It's hard for me to be with them, though, without aching to live in a place where my own parents could be an influence on my children, at least a few times a year (or even once a year!).

My in-laws smother the kids with kisses and affectionate talk in altered tones.  They are always ready to help the older kids with homework and play the little "games" I don't have patience for over and over and over with the little ones that the kids giggle and giggle and giggle about ("Oh no!  Where did Aaron go!?!" x 500).  They take the kids for long, long walks and feed them lots and lots of food.  I'm so grateful for all of this (...almost always).

With my dad they would have a very different experience.  He would get down on the floor with them and play and wrestle.  He would show them things and... well, the fact of the matter is that I don't know exactly what he would do because it's been so many years that it makes me cry to think of it (almost 4) (excuse me while I wipe my eyes and blow my nose).  His wife would ask the kids questions and be infinitely interested and plan craft projects and make yummy food for and maybe with them.

 My mom would read them book after book after book.  She would point out interesting things and teach them words and concepts. She would teach and teach and the kids would feel her love for her God and His plan and her Savior and His sacrifice every single day.  She would always give them something interesting to do.  She would reprimand them when they needed it.  She would sit back and watch them interact with each other.  And she would laugh.

The things Greg's parents do, my parents would do very little of (or in more moderation).  The things my parents would do, Greg's parents do very little of..

I am so, so grateful my kids have loving grandparents living close enough that we see them many times a year.  But it's hard to express how difficult it is for me to have my kids growing up largely without their other grandparents.  It's probably the hardest thing about living here, not to mention what usually REALLY gets me: all the things my kids do and say and ARE that my parents can't experience.

And don't even get me started on aunts and uncles and cousins.  They see their Polish cousin (yes, without an "s" on the end) on Easter and Christmas.  He's 23.  They pretty much never get to see their (soon to be) sixteen other cousins, who are ages 13 and under and some of the cutest, smartest little people in the world.

I just had to unload.  I know it could be worse (My parents are still alive!  And I get along with all my siblings!  And many Americans don't get to see their family often, either! etc.) but sometimes one needs to throw oneself a pity party.  Sorry if I got confetti in your hair.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Have Another Question (#2)

What are your thoughts on/experience with the marriage rule of never going to bed mad?

My answer:

If I had followed that rule I would have probably been awake since sometime in the early months of our marriage.  When it's late I seem to lose all sense of... everything, and am likely to become a bundle of resentment and/or despair with little willpower to put toward seeing reason/forgiving/admitting I'm wrong/getting the heck over it.  Plus, we're not the best communicators.  So I/we go to bed mad.

By the time I wake up I have a fresh new, or rather, an 8 hour-old, sense of resentment and/or despair over the injustice that is my marriage but by then, or sometime that day I get sick of  talking to Greg only when necessary and in as robotic a tone as I can muster (so mature!), so I stop it and everything goes back to normal (within a day or two)  i.e. I start thinking he's one of the best people in the world.

I can't wait until we're perfect and Greg and I are finally decent communicators and he finally understands that I'm always in the right.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Have a Question # 1

I actually have a few questions that I would love to hear your thoughts on if you have the desire to share.  I'll post them over the next few days and answer them myself in my post.  Today's question:

What is your cleaning MUST?  In other words, what are you good at keeping clean or tidy because it's almost a pet peeve for it to be dirty or unorganized?

I'm asking this question because once when I was visiting my sister, while she cooked dinner and we chatted I took a cloth and started wiping down the cupboard doors.  I think I asked if I could first.  She thought I was weird, but I was just standing there talking to her, doing nothing, so why not wipe down the doors?  I don't think I offended her (a la "I can't stand to look at these doors for another second!" which is not what I was thinking at all).  I hope not, because I regularly wipe mine down, so I was just doing what I would have done at home.  She thought it might be one of my MUSTS, but it's not.  She then told me about a friend of hers who can't stand to have the splashboard behind the sink dirty.  This is why I started thinking about this and wonder what your "issues" are with cleaning.

My answer:

I like my car to be tidy.  No wrappers, toys or random items of clothing.  Everything is taken out after every weekend trip and it is maintained during the week.  I also care more than Greg about it being washed (exterior) so I've made it my job.

In the house Greg dislikes dust so I (or Greg) vacuum regularly and the kids dust mop all floors every evening.  We also like clean walls so our kids are discouraged from touching the walls (punishable by a beating) (just kidding), and I do spot-wiping regularly.

One thing I wish I was better at is keeping up with clutter, especially in the kitchen and on the stairs.

Now, please tell me yours, if you have one!