We have now returned to Ordinary Time. For those of you unfamiliar with the Catholic Liturgical Calendar, Ordinary Time refers to all that time in which priests root for the Packers. (I mean, wear green and gold.) Actually it means we’re not really doing anything special (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost) or preparing for anything special (Advent) or beating ourselves up for anything special (Lent). Just kidding…
What does Ordinary look like around here? Chaos, generally. Ordinarily my kitchen is a mess and there are toys everywhere. Papers pile on every surface until the glossy junk mail slips slowly to the floor, where it puddles. Eventually I pick the pieces up and toss them into the recycling. The scattered Cheerios are like landmines under the dining room table, but the ones you really don’t want to step on are the crusts of three-day-old bread tossed from the baby’s highchair tray. Nothing stales quite so hard as homemade whole wheat bread. Try that rock solid nugget in the soft part of a bare arch. Ouch. How I wish we had a dog. A little furry Hoover is a blessing underneath the highchair.
Right now I am in the process of attempting to de-clutter. This means I have three or four different donation piles going, including the bag of toys no one plays with that I have to keep hiding while I fill it, because if it’s discovered the kids will whine and cry and there will be a scene something along the lines of
Sally Bear, center stage: “NOOOOOO!! Don’t donate this! We can’t get rid of this! I LOVE this!”
Boo, from offstage, but always agreeing with his sister in arguments against me: “We love that! Can’t donate that!”
Heartless Mother, standing firm: “You never play with it.”
Sally Bear: “But I will play with it. I don’t want you to get rid of it, Nooooo!”
HM, demanding: “Play with it. Let me see you play with it right now.”
Sally: “Well I’m busy right now.”
Boo: “I’m busy right now too.”
Heartless Mother, emotionless: “Put it back in the donation bag, now.”
Ordinary time is a good time to try and get “back to order,” and yes, it usually takes me about all year. Right now I am also attempting to get back to ordinary eating. That is, no refined sugar, no white flour, no juice. I am not as militant I was in our experiment and we have quite a few half-full bottles of spirits lingering in the kitchen since Christmas. (I put “bottle of Scotch” on Dr. Awesome’s Christmas list, and somehow he got three.) Somehow a bottle of wine and a six pack made it into my grocery cart last night. But generally speaking, the first way we cut costs on the grocery bill is to cut out alcohol and we aren’t much for processed foods. So ordinarily I spend alotta time cooking. At the moment I’ve got a loaf of bread to start. If I don’t, we won’t have any bread tomorrow. And apparently no amount of pancakes or corn muffins can amend this failure in the eyes of my son. Just two nights ago I was working late on a post for The Remembered Arts Journal. I didn’t have time or motivation to thaw cod and peel potatoes, so I fed my children the most spectacular spur-of-the-moment almond pancakes with maple syrup for dinner. (How they suffer.) Boo ate three-quarters of his dinner, abandoned his plate, and five minutes later I caught him in the kitchen with the football-sized loaf of whole wheat sourdough literally IN HIS MOUTH. I tried to tell him, “Boo, you cannot live by bread alone.” And he said, quite emphatically, “Yes I do.”
But let me not mislead you. I have caught his sister in a similarly compromising situation in the kitchen many times before. But she is always caught with the butter.