My mother trained as a nurse but gave it all up when us kids came along. She has spent the better part of her life making a home and keeping it together. I used to marvel at how she always seemed so busy. Volunteering. Playing golf. Baking. Cleaning. Cooking. And to my shame, I secretly wondered if she was afflicted by some sort of mania that made her go – non-stop. But she was (and is) simply doing. Now I think I finally get it.
Take yesterday as an example. Up at the crack of dawn (the sun in my world rises about 7.30), First job of the day, even before breakfast, was to help move furniture down to the barn. It had already spent a night outside and I didn’t want the neighbour-lady giving me grief for wanton destruction of property – even if it was my property. It’s a village. Everyone has an opinion. Last time I was down she told me that I was letting myself go – I used to be so smartly dressed and now…well… enough said. It’s a village.
The previous evening, we’d cleaned out the living room so himself could varnish the floor. But there was a problem with the sofa. I have no idea how it got in there as there was no way in God’s earthly world that it would fit through the doorway. So we were up till midnight, him doing the technical stuff like removing bolts, me gleefully taking a knife to the shockingly ugly purple patterned velour, removing the padding and tearing away the fabric with little hope (or care) of ever putting it back together. And we didn’t find as much as a forint. The hidden treasure amounted to a collection of antique mice droppings. That done, I had an editing job to start and another to finish. I was emailing clients in Spain and Serbia, going back on forth regarding meaning and substance. Then I had some blogs to finish for a client in India. And whatever inroad that made on my to-do list was very minor indeed.
I am picking my way around the house as the hall is crammed with furniture. My office is the same. But the floor should be finished this evening and tomorrow we can move the bed downstairs. I’ve gone Hungarian. The room is the brightest and the coolest in the house and the nicest energy-wise. So we’re moving in. But it’s big enough to have a seating area as well as a bed so it will be used during the day as well. Is it only a Hungarian thing, that reluctance to devote one room solely to sleeping when it could be used during the day? Do older houses in Poland and Romania have the same proliferation of daybeds in multi-purpose rooms? I wonder.
I somehow skipped lunch – I didn’t have time to eat, which is no bad thing. But there was laundry to be done. And builders supplies to be taken down to the barn. And stuff to be cleared from underneath the stairs because I need to find room for a small freezer.
The afternoon was closing in and the sun had dropped just enough to make it bearable to be outside. So I got to weeding the path. The sweat was pouring out of me like a tap on half-flow. Despite being covered in bug spray, I got two significant bites and now know that I need to garden in socks and to hell with the tan lines. Oh, how quickly we change our priorities. [I’m still getting over the shock that I went out into a garden to work … voluntarily. And I did it without thinking because it has to be done.] I weeded till I began to lose the will to live, all the time wondering how my mother does it. The weeds are winning. I fear there’s more path left than motivation.
Then it was time to make dinner. A simple fare of Chinese duck, new potatoes, and broccoli. I’m working on perfecting my salsa but so far all it always turns out an unappetizing shade of pink. It’ll take time.
After dinner, we did a crossword. And this is when it hit me. I am morphing into my mother. Mind you, it’d be no bad thing as she’s one amazing woman. I had a couple of papers to finish before I finally crashed to be woken this morning by a call to say the plasterer was on his way to check out the repairs that need doing to the windows. As I went out to unlock the gate, I tripped over a weed. Yep – it’s going to be another long day…