Monday, 7 April 2014

Housework's never done. Not when I'm doing it, anyway

Domestic chores aren’t quite the trivial tasks one might think.

That’s hardly a new discovery for me – after all,
the bathroom is already my territory, my thing, to clean with pride. To say nothing of the kitchen sink, also mine, and the standard metaphor for ‘everything else.’

Well, everything else is what I had to deal with this weekend, poor Danielle being under the weather. And that’s where the non-triviality of the task was once more brought home to me.

First of all, there was a carpet that had been – not sure how to put this – perhaps the right term
s ‘doggified’. I set about cleaning it with gusto, though I quickly hit a setback when the carpet shampoo ran out.

Not a problem. Another job was to do some shopping, in particular for the dinner that I was going to prepare. For reasons that I can’t explain, I’d decided that I wanted a pasta dish with peas. Why pasta? Well, why not? Pasta doesn’t need justifying. But peas? No idea. I like peas, I suppose, and hadn’t had any for a while. Anyway, why should pregnant women be the only ones allowed to indulge unexplained dietary whims?

So I went to the supermarket. I’d chosen my time well, if only by accident, since most people were heading home to watch that classic horse race, the Grand National. There were loads of spaces in the car park, the aisles were empty, the tills had no queues. I breezed around, pleased at my good luck.

Horses cleared the streets on Saturday
Back at home, I emptied two canisters of carpet shampoo on the carpet and wiped it down with a wet cloth. I felt a little cheated by the emptiness of the canisters after the process – barely enough for half a carpet each? extraordinary – but at least the job was done.

Then I set out to prepare the pasta. And discovered that I was missing the tomato paste. The parsley. The parmesan. The shallots (which, it turns out, aren’t long and green and thin – chives – or long and green and fat – spring onions).

No problem. Nothing to stop me heading out again. I could get some more carpet shampoo at the same time, after all. Out I went.

Alas, sporting events can empty the streets, but they can also fill them. Luton Town had just won another football match at home. The traffic was horrendous and, where it wasn’t cars holding me up, I was blocked by pedestrians wandering aimlessly in front of me. Cheerful, relaxed, amusing but oh, so slow.

Luton Town: good for local pride (this year),
bad for local streets
I picked up all the things I needed, bar the carpet shampoo, and several more things I didn’t need and went home. By then, my parking space had been taken, so I had to squeeze into what was only technically a spot, across the road. 

Making dinner could now start properly. Sadly, the onions and carrots had had their eight minutes cooking long before the water for the pasta was boiling. And there hadn’t been time to defrost the peas completely, so when I added them to the sauce, it became practically frosty. But in the end, the meal was ready and I served it up.

Danielle, still unwell, didn’t feel hungry, but she had a little. I had the peas dish I wanted so I enjoyed myself for her as much as for me. And then we sat down on the sofa and admired the beautifully clean carpet in front of us. Because clean it certainly was. Pristine, even.

But Lord, did it smell of carpet shampoo.

It doesn’t any more. But that’s after hoovering it extensively (or perhaps I mean intensively. Or possibly both) and then wiping it all down, again, more than once, with a wet cloth. And airing the room for two days.

As for the meal, thinking about it afterwards, all I can really say is that it was OK. Plenty of peas, which was good. But would I go out of my way for the dish again? Naah. I don’t think so.

Meanwhile, it’s time to clean the bathroom again. And the dog’s been walking wet blossom petals into the carpet. And I’ve still got half a packet of defrosted peas to eat.

That’s alongside the packet that was already in the freezer. Like the packet of carrots in the fridge, now joined by the packet I bought. Or indeed the shallots Danielle had intelligently stored alongside the onions, but which I hadn’t noticed before I bought some.

Of course, I wouldn’t have recognised them even if I had seen them. I thought they were long and green. Not small and hard and onion-like.

Nothing like chives or spring onions.
How unfair is that?


Faith A. Colburn said...

Ah. I thought you intended to put the peas in the pasta sauce and I couldn't quite imagine how that would taste. Then again, considering some of the things I put into pasta sauce, it might not have been too bad.

Anonymous said...

I remember you as a rather good cook. Is it the false memory thing?


Ladylyndaa said...

Seems like you can relate to the old saying a woman's work is never done and that can for men too.

David Beeson said...

Faith, the peas were indeed in the pasta sauce. And I've had other pasta sauces with peas which were excellent - this one was - well, indifferent...

San, Danielle's become such a good cook that I don't get much practice any more.

Lynda, I was carefully avoiding use the expression 'a woman's work'. You know, trying for a certain political correctness