Half Full, at Least

A friend loaned me the book everyone is talking about (no, not the Leah Remini book, a different friend loaned me that):

I am not reading it yet, I don’t feel my house is orderly enough to even begin reading it without crying. I don’t believe I deserve to read it yet (plus I was busy reading the Leah Remini book).

I am attempting to declutter as a visible metaphor for clearing my persistent mental fog, so I can attend to my New Year’s resolutions. In truth, I can’t recall exactly what my resolutions were, partly because I made the common mistake of vagueness: “I resolve to be gentle, yet ambitious, flexible, but stalwart, gracious, albeit uncompromising,” or something like that. How to portion that out into discreet steps?

Last year my friend Peter resolved to increase his “health, wealth and stealth.” I envied his rhyming, but I think he too was stymied by how that looks on a daily basis. I am sure I pledged something about increasing my memory and quick thinking, (what Peter calls “ninja skills”) but darn it if I can’t recall exactly what I vowed. Lumosity wisely sends me ads daily, imploring me to sign up before I am a vegetable, because they know that my brain is the only thing around here that gets wiped clean at the end of each day.

Because I am much more likely to start/complete projects if I have company, I hired someone to help me clean the house (naturally, I planned to make her do the lion’s share while I flitted around looking busy). Wait, you might say, isn’t marycake someone who is HOME A LOT? Shouldn’t she have LOADS of time to keep a sparkling home? Isn’t she, at best, scantily clad with employment?  All true about the time, but in my defense, I am lazy.


So my efficient housecleaner was here (“Use some elbow grease on my pilates ball, will you? That thing is coated with dust – can’t figure it out.”) and I was fretting over my collection of jar lids (it always seems wasteful to discard them) when she confessed to me that she hoards bread ties. She consulted Pinterest and sure enough, they have a panoply of uses! I would never DO anything with the jar lids – heavens no! – I just hate to lard up the landfill.

But I did it; I threw them out because they stood between me and self-actualization. And then I forged my way through the shoe polishing kit, and so forth, onward into the dull reaches of domestic detritus pockets. Things were getting on merrily when the cleaner’s vacuum blew a fuse. And not just any fuse, an invisible, unfixable fuse that does not have a switch. I don’t know what happened, but we now have no electricity in three rooms of the house. And though the kitchen is operable, the microwave is unresponsive.

I wasn’t planning to inform my husband that I hire a cleaning service, because I believe that a slavish devotion to honesty is the death knell for many a marriage. But when he got home, I had to explain why half the house was cloaked in darkness and why he would not be checking facebook. I could hardly plead ignorance. He looked around and said, “The house is so clean.” Now that’s the glass half full.

Besides optimism, he has computer savvy, which is how I came to move the computer out of the blackened hollow of the office, into the living room where the outlets will still stutter grudgingly to life. He reminded me that we have wireless internet! The computer can be moved anywhere in the house and it will work! Truly, we live in an age of nifty marvels. Heck, I might rig up some sort of wheeled contraption and take the computer out to the back porch to enjoy some al fresco typing in the 25 degree weather. Wireless does not mean cordless, but it could still work out back, since we have an outlet there we haven’t blown in awhile.

If your glass is also half full -and I heartily exhort you to think of it just that way – then fill it the rest of the way with this citrusy concoction. The Pussyfoot (as in, “Stop pussyfooting around and throw away those broken eye shadow containers that are the only thing between you and mental clarity!”) has long been my favorite brunch mocktail. Once I got so excited about this drink that I made my own grenadine, which also comes in handy for the occasional Shirley Temple. I realize that juice is sugary and has fallen out of favor, but this drink is for a midmonth brunch with a friend, where you can toast the demise of your New Year’s resolutions. May we remain optimistic about their ability to rise again next January.

This is Nigella Lawson’s recipe. She admits to being an absolute slob, (“slattern” was the word she used) but I say that one sip of this and your entire house will appear neat as a pin.

Pussyfoots (not Pussyfeet, who knew?) 

3 cups freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
3 cups freshly-squeezed orange juice
juice of one lime
splash of grenadine

Mix. Garnish. Serve. Sigh.

Cook’s Note:  Though a lime squeezed on the spot is crucial, the other juices do not have to be squeezed by your very own hand. The good people at Tropicana are overjoyed to do this for you offsite.










3 thoughts on “Half Full, at Least

  1. Alex got the “tidying up” book as well. I’m hopeful that he will de-clutter the house or send in help. We used to hire help, but I worried it would spoil my kids. I deserve and appreciate the help, but they must suffer in order to appreciate what goes into keeping a house tidy.

  2. You work full time! Hire someone once a month and make your kids do the rest. Get them little headscarves, mops, and ragged orphan clothing. Teach them to sing “Hard Knock Life.” It makes the time fly when you are scrubbing grout with your toothbrush.

  3. Awesome. When I read these funny and well written posts I often wish there was a like button! Plus I like that this recipe is getting vaguely closer to something I might not be too lazy to concoct.

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