Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Domestic Chores

I regularly read The Juggle, the WSJ's blog about/for working parents. The readership is, understandably, upper middle class. Yet it always surprises me how many women in this cohort would give up pretty much anything before they'd give up their cleaning service. I'm a bit bemused mainly because I can't imagine that my house would ever be uncluttered enough so that a cleaning service could work.

But my indulgence involves cooking. I don't think I could hire a housekeeper, but I sure would enjoy a personal chef. Cooking is my chore (my husband does dishes), and over the years, I've come to resent it more and more even as I care more and more about what I eat. Is a dilemma. Many working parents rely on takeout, but we prefer not to eat so much fast food. TV dinners were a mainstay once upon a time in America, but we all know now that they're filled with salt and are over-processed.

A new kind of food service has been evolving: the meal assembly business. They have names like Mixing Table and Super Suppers and Dinner By Design. You go there and prepare your meals from fresh ingredients, usually 6 to 10 meals at a time. The stations are set up with the ingredients all ready and chopped, measuring spoons and cups close at hand. It's nice to have food that is fresh, not processed. It's easy to pop the food out of the freezer and cook it up. Some of the recipes are mind-blowingly delicious; others are average; an occasional one or two are stinkers.

But now it's going a step further. My husband e-mailed me yesterday that someone involved with his workplace (a major university) is starting a business to make and deliver fresh meals daily. Lasagna, meatloaf, a special of the day, side orders: $8.99 per order, and $2.99 for side orders. She'll deliver it to his office, and he can store it in the office fridge.

I am ecstatic. It's like having a personal chef, or having a restaurant meal, without the intrusiveness or effort.

You all can have your housecleaners. I'm not ready to give up my freshly prepared dinners.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Day Meme

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
 Became an associate professor.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
 Not really.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
 No one in the family, but a friend/colleague had a baby boy on July 4.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
 My grandmother and my MIL.
5. What countries did you visit? None.
6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
 More travel experiences.
7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
 The entire month of January was one big clusterfuck from start to finish.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
 Surviving January.
9. What was your biggest failure?
 Wish I could tell you.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
 No. I don't get sick much.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
 My kitchen.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
 My mom.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
 Depressed by just about every person who still calls him or herself a Bush supporter. Appalled by the assholes who were my father's doctors from February to April.
14. Where did most of your money go?
 We paid off the student loans and credit cards and remodelled the kitchen.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
 My kitchen.
16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
 "Happy Working Song."
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
 a) happier or sadder? 
b) thinner or fatter? 
c) richer or poorer?
 A little happier, a little thinner, and a little richer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
 Read books.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
 Spent time thinking about Veronica Mars.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
 Driving, then being with family.
21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
 I fall in love with my husband and kids a little more every day.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
 Deadwood. Yeah, not new, but I watched it all this year and loved it so much.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
24. What was the best book you read?
 Didn't read much, alas. Well, I'll say Harry Potter 7.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
 Gnarls Barkley. Yes, I am slow.
26. What did you want and get?
 My kitchen. My promotion. The cancellation of Veronica Mars. A Wii, not that anyone will let me play with it.
27. What did you want and not get?
 Kristen Bell jobless.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
 Enchanted. Runners up: Across the Universe, Great Debaters, Friends with Money.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
 Probably nothing. I was 41.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
 I switched from black as my main neutral to brown. Whoopee.
32. What kept you sane?
 My husband.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
 John Simm.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
 Bush and Cheney's disdain for democracy/rule of law/common decency.
35. Who did you miss?
 My mother in law.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
 Ann, a new colleague.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007
 Chill out and spend time on more important things.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. An' here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of
Going through all these things twice.