Cat butlerOn Sunday, I vacuumed the entire house, cleared snow from the deck, front porch, and steps, defrosted Silver twice, and used him to self-plow the driveway so I could go to water aerobics the next day without much scraping and plowing. I completed the ritual chores of making the bed the minute I get out of it, scooping Leo’s litter box the next thing after that, fixing breakfast and lunch  and unloading the dishwasher, which I don’t enjoy, though I am grateful to have a dishwasher and water and power to run the thing.

I also went grocery shopping at Sav-U-More because a refrigerator without raw vegetables is barren, and mine was, except for a cabbage that deserved more than being turned into slaw. When I got home, I washed lettuce, green pepper, and cilantro, and put those in the refrigerator, which looks so much better. To the antique reproduction dough bowl that sits on top of my authentic antique countertop microwave, I added sweet potatoes, oranges, limes, garlic, and onions. I arranged new produce among the old, tossed out a lemon that was long gone, and created a little Cezanne study.

When I do housework, my thoughts turn to celebrities and just how much of this they do.  This started years ago when I read an interview with Jane Pauley—I think it was in Life magazine. Jane said she did all her own housework. I thought, “Why on earth would she do that? Can’t she and Garry Trudeau come up with enough money to have help?”

For a while, maybe when I was feeling pretty settled in my life, I didn’t have these thoughts. But then, in the early 2000s, my Sonicare toothbrush went rogue one morning and splattered the bathroom mirror with toothpaste. I was getting ready to go to work. Immediately, I cleaned the entire mirror – my splatters and any other that might have been there for a few minutes (I have a thing about this). For some reason, Catherine Zeta-Jones came to mind. I thought, “Would Catherine Zeta-Jones clean up her own mirror spatters, or would she call in someone else to do it? How long does she allow spatters to stay on her bathroom mirror? Does Michael Douglas spatter the mirror? Do they use the same bathroom?” Now, probably not, since they’re separated.

Anyway, at the moment, the “Awards Season” really has me going. Emma Thompson has become an activist for flat shoes, and, apparently in her cups, has spoken publicly about the discomforts of menopause. Charlize Theron, whose neck is stretched to unbelievable length in a Dior ad, has  a new boyfriend, Sean Penn, and she’s inspired him to have his gun collection melted into sculpture which Chris Martin of Cold Play has bought for the benefit of Haiti.  Gwyneth Paltrow, who’s married to Chris Martin, has now got to place the sculpture in their house when she’s not cooking and writing about what she’s cooking. Will she find the place for the sculpture, or will she bring in a designer? Will she tell her children not to touch it? Who will dust it? Will she burn what’s she cooking while she’s installing art? And, if Gwyenth is not the duster, will she tell the duster to dust, or will the duster just go ahead and do it? Who will wash the dishes? In life, who is the upstairs and who the downstairs?

I took a FaceBook quiz recently, and I am definitely downstairs–Mrs. Patmore, on the first try, then Bates. I’m feeling useful and really good in basic black.  

Copyright 2013-2014 Genie Hambrick

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