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Mundane During Chaos
11/24/2008 - Susan Terbay

Years ago when my children were little, the woman next door was like their grandmother - and in many ways a mother to me.  Throughout my life I have been placed with 'mother' figures after my own mother's death when I was 12.

Catherine just oozed with the love of a mom and grandmother.  My kids would eat their supper and run lickety split (especially Jimmy - her favorite) and sit down at her table and eat a bowl of Count Chocula as though they were starving.  She loved it and always accused me of never feeing my children.  They would bake cookies together, make treats and her house was always full of children - reminding me of my grandmother's home.

Oftentimes I would share our dinner with her and sometimes I would give her the bowl or the casserole pan the food was cooked in.  When I would get it back it would be sparkling.  Oftentimes when I visited with her she was in her kitchen scrubbing pans, or washing dishes and loving it!

Her life was chaotic in many ways.  Oftentimes her own grandchildren spending weeks at a time with her and always her dealing with life situations as they came.  She lived during the depression so she knew how to cook and save and all the 'stuff' I needed to learn as a young mother.  But the cleaning of pans and dishes always befuddled me - how content she was to do such a mundane task - something I dreaded every day since I didn't have a dishwasher - except me!

Now I get it.  One of the things I really find 'calming' in my chaos life is washing dishes.  It is something that has a beginning and an end to the task at hand and not that demanding plus when the task is done - there is an accomplishment of clean dishes.  And when it comes to pans and scouring them - I get that too now - lot of frustration taken out on those dirty pans.

And before I close - another great 'task' to do during chaos - cleaning out cupboards and closets - however - I have to watch it because cleaning out such places when I'm really facing a lot of chaos could resort into throwing away some stuff I will look for later - thus causing another chaos.

So here's to the mundane stuff in life - that help keeps me sane - okay - close enough to sanity as I can get!


11 Comments From Other Members
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11/24/2008 Mary Allan Mill from St. Petersburg FL wrote:
I don't have a dishwasher in my 1922 cottage, and I really don't want to have one because, like you, Susan there's an interrupted time to wash and scrub and think. Unlike housework, which is never done, sparklingly clean dishes all stacked in the cupboard gives me a warm and cozy feeling!
11/24/2008 Dorothy Sander from Durham NC wrote:
I find doing laundry to be very satisfying, particularly the folding. It's very relaxing to me and I love to see the muddled up mess turn into neat stacks. My husband and I recently spent a week in a rental condo that had none of our usual clutter. We loved it and came home committed to the idea of tossing as much as we could to get closer to such a simple lifestyle. We've made progress (although there is much to do!) but our home is much more relaxing and calming because of it. Here's to simplicity, routine and mundane tasks to lend balance to life!
11/24/2008 Susan Terbay from Dayton OH wrote:
Actually I too like to fold laundry - after I have hung it out on the line and it smells so good. Unfortunately Mother Nature has hit Ohio with the help of Old Man Winter - so I use the dryer - not quite the same. I hate clutter - so it is always good for me to 'spring and fall clean' my house and just get rid of stuff - less chaos around me even if inside me!!
11/24/2008 CJ Golden from Newtown CT wrote:
And I find the same pleasure in ironing. (no comment, please, Suzanne). I do iron. And I enjoy the task of taking something chaotic and wrinkled - but clean - from the dryer and turning it into something smoothe and calm. Perhaps a parable for life?
11/24/2008 Susan Terbay from Dayton OH wrote:
I iron every morning - good lord, I'm really finding too many mundane stuff now - I should hire myself out!!!! Let's have a WE cleaning group - wouldn't that be a hoot - traveling the country cleaning and laundry and ironing - this might be a project to consider - with gas prices down we could afford to travel!!
11/24/2008 J Peak from Plymouth MI wrote:
Sisterhood of the Traveling Cleaners. Woohoo! Ok, I'm cookiing, Susan and Mary Allan's cleaning up after, CJ irons the linens after Dorothy and I wash and fold them. Susan cleans out my closets while I'm shopping for food for the next meal. Sounds like fun!!
11/24/2008 Susan Terbay from Dayton OH wrote:
Love it! and somewhere along the line of our travels Michele provides chocolate!!! YES!
11/25/2008 Michele Moore from New Port Richey FL wrote:
Yes, I will bring the chocolate in a variety of forms. And I will also bring the encouragement for us all to share our stories with one another. To laugh and cry together. To dance and hug and rest in each other's company. To rub shoulders or feet in chain-link fashion. And to be sisters...relaxed in one another's company...able to be ourselves, without judgment or ridicule. And when our time is over, we'll stand shoulder to shoulder, washing, drying, and putting away the dishes, smiling contentedly until next time.
11/25/2008 Susan Terbay from Dayton OH wrote:
We are a FORCE to be reckoned with that's for sure. I love my morning coffee with all of you - and there's only one cup to wash but I wash it with a smile on my face!!
11/25/2008 Dorothy Sander from Durham NC wrote:
I like to iron too! except for pants -- I hate to iron pants! My mother could still iron fifteen men's shirts in a day when she was 96! You think that was her sanity for a few years?? Every time she came for a visit that was her job of choice. I miss her! (for more than the ironing).
11/25/2008 Susan Terbay from Dayton OH wrote:
Ironing is good and I like to see crisp creases and just unwrinkled shirts - maybe that ads to the insanity?!?! Strange isn't it? What keeps us grounded and not and the memories that go with it. What a gift your mother was - she gave us you as well Dorothy!

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