When I’m going about a repetitive or tedious task, I often try to find an imaginative way to make it more interesting for myself. I used to live somewhere that got a lot of snow in the winter — I mean, a lot of snow. And while I don’t particularly mind shovelling, I found that it was a lot more fun when I narrated Olympic-style colour commentary in my head. (Points were scored for both speed and amount cleared, so it was a constant incentive to clear as much as I could, as cleanly as I could, as quickly as I could. I generally medalled, of course, but occasionally got thoroughly trounced by the German team. They’re so efficient.)
My life is filled with a lot of repetitive, and often tedious, tasks right now. I’m home all day so that’s just the nature of the beast. I have repetitive weekly tasks, like laundry on Mondays and grocery shopping on Fridays, and of course many more daily or near-daily ones: vacuuming, washing dishes, making meals, and the like. For the most part I neither dislike nor relish these tasks; they’re just what I do.
But sometimes I do still cast about for a different way to look at my daily work, and it struck me today that there’s something a little magical about a lot of what I do. I can take some flour and some yeast and water, thump it around a bit, and stick it in a big hot box for an hour — alakazam! now we have bread. I can take yarn and wrap it around a curved stick a bunch of times — poof! it turns into a hat or a blanket. I can take pieces of a dead animal, cover it with bits of leaves and ground-up rocks, and squeeze it between two hot slabs for a few minutes — abracadabra! behold: grilled pork chops.
Forget “domestic goddess”; I am clearly a domestic magician. Though if anyone figures out how to pull a clean bathroom out of one’s hat, I pray that you would let me know the trick of it!