How to be a Good Wife
“You're speechless, I see. A fine quality in a wife.”
-Jafar, Disney’s Aladdin
While visiting my grandmothers, mother, and other "good wives" and realized that their lives as wives differ greatly from my own. Which is probably why I get the scolding look when questioned, "How long will you be in Egypt? How does Matt feel about THAT?" Like I am leaving him naked and starving without adequate survival techniques. Luckily, I married a brilliant, scholar who does know what to do with peanut butter and bread and how to push the "start" on the washer. In my own defense, I did fill the freezer with "homemade," box mix cookies and TVOed one of those “survival man” shows before I left.
So, due to guilt and curiosity, I vowed to be a "good wife" according to a 1950's home economics textbook until my international departure. After this week I partially learned what it meant to "tee tote", honor, and obey the head of the household MAN.
GOAL #1- "Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal, on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed."
The night before the big day I did a little research, and upon entering the kitchen I saw what Matt was whipping up for dinner. Peanut butter, turkey, pepper jack cheese, and mustard all lying on the table while he ate his sandwich over the kitchen sink. Perhaps I'll make cottage cheese, sausage, and whipped cream pudding for dessert, and why waste dishes when all he really needs is a spoon? To let him know I’m thinking about him, I’ll keep a tally on the wall and half tallies for the times I think about him negatively... like when his whisker hairs are on my toothbrush in the morning.
GOAL #2: "Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.”
*I was thinking about just wearing a ribbon... would my granny have done that? To increase gaiety, I'll sip glasses of wine in the tub before the arrival of the prophet, I mean Matt. Hey, this isn’t so bad!
OTHER TIPS: "Some don'ts: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind."
* "Hello Dear, Do you need your ass wiped?"
I attempted 1950’s housewife perfection, and though I donned my homemade calico apron and sported the latest winged coiffette hairstyle, nothing could have prepared me for my failures.
I woke up early the first day to ensure that Matt would have the proper balanced breakfast of peanut butter on toast and lunch that consisted of two turkey sandwiches, one Clementine, and a green apple. I considered including some home grown veggies from my victory garden, but I wasn’t playing housewife last week and they all shriveled up and died. I croaked “text me later” and stood by the door in Matt’s gym shorts and an enormous t-shirt with my hair resembling a pile of frizzy gerbil bedding delicately complimenting my crusty morning eyes and sea urchin breath. Not exactly looking “fresh with a ribbon in my hair,” but it gives me plenty of room for improvement when I take my 15 minute nap and primp before his return.
Our cat, Peanut, pretty much lives on the porch now. She enjoys watching the birds, and quite frankly I enjoy not having her daily hair ball gifts looking like fuzzy, orange turds in the middle of my living room. I completely cleaned her litter box. I mean, scrubbed it with soap and water and added fresh litter as the little nugget sat and watched, and before the box was even settled completely on the ground the little pooper hopped in and laid a big one smack dab in the center of it- looking at me the entire time! I imagine this is what it is like when a teenage boy drops a deuce in your newly, clean bathroom.
I believe that hell is something like ironing shirts. The torturous aspect being that no matter how much I iron I either had A) remnants of the starch spray or B) deathless wrinkles... so I decided to bake a chocolate cake thinking that no one can fail with a chocolate dessert. Very domestic, I know.
My grandmother once won first place in a competition for the best pie in Montcalm County. You think it isn’t a big deal? Well, Montcalm County is crawling with reproducing Amish people who are bred specifically for the purpose of pie production. So I tapped in to my blood line, pulled out my Amish Cookbook, and started dumping various ingredients in to a bowl. When it comes to cooking I would rather pick up Peanut’s fuzzy, orange cat puke with my bare hands, shape it in to a trumpet, and play Yankee Doodle before I’d get food on my hands, especially egg. Baking tends to bring out my inner OCD, resulting in chaffed hands from over washing. Between hand washings I realized that I had no flour. Who just keeps that in their house? Why do the Amish always have to use such obscure ingredients? So I added another egg and a hand washing and called it good.
The result: let’s not talk about it.
I gave up and went to the pool. . . “Hi Honey. Welcome Home. I’m at the pool basking in my own domestic worthlessness. There is a pan of half-burnt, half-mush Amish bowel on the stove. Help yourself.”