Notta and Domestic Delusions


I suppose it’s one of perks of being a “senior citizen,” or at least surviving until your children are grown and starting their own life adventures, but Notta and I find we smile a lot when our students start talking about how their lives will go, once something or other happens.

“Our early bird is in love,” Notta commented last week, after our final Thursday class. “She’s talking marriage and babies.”

“She’s known him how long?”

“A couple of months or so. She never said it was love at first sight, but…”

“But indeed.” I sighed. “Love is a bit of a fickle little seed. If you don’t tend it exactly right, it won’t grow and stay strong.”

“I don’t think that’s the only seed they’ve been planting,” Notta said. “She’s already talking about jobs and a car and a house. They’re going to have the perfect life.”

“Maybe she can give us some pointers,” I said. “G-d knows my life is far from perfect, even now.” Notta harrumphed. She had more to say. “Do you suppose we had the same ideas at her age?”

“Delusions, I call ‘em,” Notta sighed, sinking into her favorite office chair. It sighed, too. “I always thought I’d be able keep our house immaculate because I had all the latest gadgets. My mother washed kitchen floors on her hands and knees. I had self-wringing mops and an upright vacuum cleaner.”

“And once you were done, someone came in with muddy feet.”

“Or dropped an egg on the floor. She washed and dried dishes three times a day. I had a dishwasher.”

“And there was also one glass or spoon or dish hiding in the kids’ rooms that started growing mold.”

“Right. But back to what I was saying: she ironed all my dad’s shirts and the bed sheets. I got a washer with a permanent press cycle.”

“And you still iron?”

“No way! His shirts go to the grocery store cleaning service and the bed sheets are what they are. They get wrinkled the minute somebody sleeps on ‘em, so why bother?”

“Life does get in the way,” I agreed.

“What about you? Your delusions?”

I laughed. “It’s a typically Jewish mother thing, but I was all about the food. And convenience. I wanted my kids to have fresh-baked cookies, so I made up healthy dry cookie mixes to have ready when my kids wanted cookies.”

“And?” Notta smiled.

“They didn’t care for the healthy part of them, and the mealy moths took over before I got more than two batches made. Then the OAMC bug bit me.”

“Sounds painful.”

“Means once a month cooking. You get food and bags for a month of meals, then spend a weekend throwing ingredients together in the bags and freeze them. Take ‘em out each, plop the ingredients in the slow cooker, and dinner is done!”

“And?” Notta’s smile widened.

I shrugged. “The system I used said meat should go in smaller bags to put in the large bag with the other ingredients. Some safety and sanitation thing. First night I was so proud to put a healthy meal in the slow cooker. Came home from a late class and my husband told me dinner was good, but it would have been better if I’d taken the meat out of the smaller plastic bag before cooking.” We laughed. “Then there was big batch cooking. Make double, triple quadruple batches of a meal and freeze the leftovers.”

“And?”

“My son informed me he was allergic to leftovers. Of course, this is the kid who claimed I ruined macaroni and cheese by putting vegetables in it.”

“And the vegetables were probably mushy.”

I shook my head. “I don’t think I ever ate a vegetable that wasn’t canned and/or mushy until I was 18. The joke of it is, the whole idea was to feed them healthy stuff and free up my time to spend with them. Wasn’t until they were out on their own that I actually got it right.”

“No complaints from the husband?”

“He claims he will eat anything I put in front of him,” I said. “I am keeping out a watch for a good piece of beef liver and some red onions to test that theory.”

“If you can stand the smell from cooking it,” Notta said.

“That’s what clothespins are for, aren’t they?”

“Do they still make those things?”

“For arts and crafts, I think so. So many neighborhoods have rules against hanging laundry out to dry.”

“Plus we all have perma-press cycles on our dryers.”

“Yeah. Right next to the ‘normal’ setting.”

Notta shook a finger at me. “Don’t get started on that. That’s a whole ‘nuther conversation.” I rolled my eyes. “Now, now. You know I’m right.”


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