Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Productive Dawdling

I stayed home most of the day. Of course, I had to go to the middle school, twice, to drop off kids, first Adrian, then Nick because he was running late. He made it before the second bell, barely, he said later. After that, I had to go to the market because Mike had shopped the day before, Sunday, but neglected to bring home anything to make for dinner.

I wanted brisket. I made it a couple of weeks ago and I wanted it again. So, I bought three kinds of meat for the next few days from the market, talked to the owner and a cashier for a half hour, and came home.

I love the days when I can dawdle around at home. First, I put beef broth, an onion, spices, and the brisket into a Dutch oven and put it into my oven at 275 degrees, setting the timer for six hours. Oh, I didn't make this recipe up myself, but I made do with ingredients I had on hand, following most of the directions from allrecipes. Don't be deceived. The picture on allrecipes isn't pretty, but the brisket is delicious. It's hard for an ordinary person to photograph a hunk of cooked meat and make it look pretty. Salads and sushi are pretty. Brisket? You just have to imagine those smells. I was driving Teddy nuts.

After that was going, I sat with spearmint tea on my deck and looked at how the leaning tree is leaning a bit more than it was the last time I sat at my little table.

I made a list of things I need to do.

I began to ignore that list and I brought both Teddy and Seth out on the deck, both leashed up for their own protection against wandering out onto the busy road. You'd be surprised at how easily the cat lets me put a harness on him when he's allowed to be outside for a bit. I tied his leash to the leg of a plant stand that didn't have a pot yet, so he dragged it around on the deck for a bit as he explored. He found a patch of grass in the ivy and began to chew on it. Teddy made himself comfortable until I noticed tufts of fur fluffing off his thigh. I got out his comb and covered the deck with bits of furry snow, just waiting for the birds' nests. Nick, Seth, and I watched a chickadee last week collecting most of the bits of fur from the last time I'd brushed Teddy on the deck. I figured I'd rather it line a nest than my carpet, so I dedicated myself to that end for a bit. When I looked up, Seth was in line for his turn. It didn't work out so well to comb across his harness, but he didn't seem to mind.

Then, I had to sweep the deck.

I noticed, when I sat back down at my little table that my tea had acquired a coating of dog fur and the primroses from Mother's Day past needed to be deadheaded. I'm actually good with plants if I don't have to be on my hands and knees in them. Too itchy. I'm definitely a container gardener if you can call me a gardener at all. My volunteer Western Red Cedar of the eight inch variety was thriving, but had gotten some cousins and I could see at least six two inch volunteers around the edges of the pot. I'm not sure any of these guys will survive if I transplant them. I guess I'll have to use my trusty Internet to find out how to protect them as they outgrow their little container. My moss is thriving. I'm not sure what was originally in those two other pots, but I like the moss well enough. It's green and has tiny little seeds up on three inch stalks. It's actually spread into a third pot, the one with my primroses in it. It makes the planter much more cheerful, so I leave it there. The tiny bird bath needed fresh water, so I poured clean water into it.

Then, I realized I was cold, having wet bare feet in fifty-three degree weather, so I went inside where the smell of the brisket told me the story of our upcoming dinner. Roasted potatoes, roasted yams, and tender brisket with onions in its own juices.

Before I knew it, the boys were about to get off the bus and I still hadn't showered. Oh, I had to jump into the shower and get dressed quickly so as to offer the illusion that I'd showered much earlier in my productive day. Then, to extend my image of industriousness, I began to vacuum.  Yes, you heard me correctly. I vacuumed, but not before a lot of moaning about it. And, before I was done with the vacuuming, I put in a load of laundry and began to fold clothes.

See, I worry that if I finish all the vacuuming in one day, no one will see the vacuum cleaner standing there, plugged in and half done with its work, and realize that the job is in progress.

Then, before I was done folding clothes, I decided I deserved a break and made myself another cup of tea. While the water was boiling, I savored a square of dark chocolate while standing in front of my stove. I might have stood there for a half an hour except Nick wanted company doing his art homework. I went outside with him and prided myself in drawing a picture of our garage that was just a little worse than his. He loves that I'm a terrible artist and he has more natural talent. I think it's important for him to see that I can enjoy something and still be incredibly bad at it. If you looked at my drawing, you could tell it was a building with only slightly distorted perspective.

When I came inside, I put the potatoes and yams in the oven, finished folding clothes, and decided that my industrious nature was sufficiently portrayed. I sat down with my tea and called my sister. Good thing too. She needed me to call. I could tell. I wish I were closer so I could take the brunt of what she's being given by a person who will remain unnamed. I'm tougher than she is. I'm meaner. At least her husband and her children are kind and she has a refuge. At least I could tell her that she doesn't deserve what's being done to her.

By the time I got off the phone, Mike had come home and devoured his dinner. He loved it. I'm sure he'd appreciate if I had more days to dawdle around at home. Funny thing was that, as I surveyed my perception of getting some work done, I'd actually made the house look and smell pretty cosy. Hmm. There is something to be said for dawdling, don't you think?

Maybe I'll dawdle some more tomorrow.

Thank you for listening, jb


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