A few times a year I get to remove myself from my ‘normal’ life and play house. Or at least that’s what it feels like. We pile in the car and drive 6 hours away to Laughlin Air Force Base and spend the week in a converted-duplex-turned-hotel, otherwise known in the Air Force world as a Temporary Living Facility, while John instructs student pilots on the finer points of flying. We do this because we like to grab any chance at being with the papa, who is still in the Reserves, and I like to get away where someone else will make our beds, sweep, mop, and wash our towels. (Well, I still have to sweep something like 15 times a day, but at least someone else does it for me one of those times.)
I find that the week here boosts my confidence in my house-wifery. It is much easier to manage a dollhouse. Each doll only has 4 sets of clothes and only one pair of shoes to lose. No one is overwhelmed at keeping two shirts hung and underwear neat in a drawer. There are no toys to keep off the floor. We have exactly 6 plates (even though we need seven) and the bowls will hold about 1/4 cup of cereal, only. That fact that all of the dishes match and the coffee cups have saucers makes me feel as if I will open the pantry to find canisters of beads and painted plaster food in crates. Tea parties are a must here. It is much easier to keep a kitchen clean when you must wash the same pot (with a miniature-sized Palmolive) to first cook the noodles, then make the sauce. I love it. I feel so uncharacteristically tidy.
We always visit the library the first day here to make sure we have good reading material, although the kids are always more excited to have a t.v. in each room rather than a good book. I spend the week turning off the Disney channel (gag…every “drama” is like a mini-adult romance…it’s disgusting) but, in general, it is much easier to discipline when the rooms are close together. I certainly hear and catch more infractions and things are dealt with immediately, rather than when I get a chance to go upstairs.
We visit the commissary once a day to buy the groceries for dinner. When it is warm, we walk. This makes me feel very European, as if we are walking down to the local market to buy a chicken with feet on, instead of cellophane wrapped boneless, skinless breasts. I have to cook very simply, too. I don’t bring spices along, other than salt, pepper, and olive oil. In fact, today for lunch, I used up what we had in the kitchen, as the papa had taken the car to work early and the temperature was 30 degrees outside. As I suspected, anything sauteed in olive oil, salt and pepper can be good, even if it is only one giant onion, a handful of baby carrots and 2 Roma tomatoes. Really, if poured over pasta, you can carry the rustic Italian market theme over very well.
John and I find ourselves wondering why we spend our days toiling to keep up a big house. Why do we have all that stuff? Should we sell our house, and buy a 1,000 sq foot farmhouse? Would our children be tidier, better behaved, and happier? It is easy to forget that books, musical instruments, art supplies, computers, Christmas decorations, yard equipment really do need a place if you are going to live the typical American life. We forget that God has called my husband to fly, and a pilot’s job exists where the cities are, BUT, it still makes us pine for simpler living. There must be a way to have the two meet somewhere. Next week, when I am back home, mismanaging my laundry and using 5 different pots to make dinner, I am going to set aside a tea bag, boil some water and have a tea party with my girls.