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Found Out

January 25, 2005

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Jearlyn Steele was back, and Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, so there was a lot of foot tapping and swaying around the kitchen while I stirred up a batch of sesame beef for the kids who were practicing violin in the living room. I'd had one of those days and needed to sit back in the tub for a good half hour, which I did after I set the beef to simmer. The radio drowned out both the kids' arguing and the sound of snowplows out in the street. There is very little in the world as relaxing as a good, hot bath. To do it right you have to fill up that tub more than half way and add a little oil or some bubbles, which I generally do. I don't go for the real perfume-y or fruity products. Nothing powdery or flowery for me. Someone once gave me some apple scented bath oil and Mr. Sundberg hasn't let me forget it. He said it made his eyes water and when I kissed him goodnight he started sneezing and that was it. He called me "Granny Smith" for a week. Anyway, my favorite is a light oil called "Sugar" I found at a little store in New York City a few years back. When the supply gets low I call the store and they send a fresh supply. Some might call that splurging, which I don't do much but I figure bath oil is a luxury and I am deserving of a luxury all my own. Especially given the day I had.

It had snowed Friday, finally, most of the day and night and the kids spent Saturday playing in the snow. They went out just after breakfast. Their father has been in the Florida Keys this past week at a motivational speaker expo where he can buy all kinds of books and office supplies and travel aids for motivational speakers. Which is what he's doing, and about which I'm not complaining. Except for last week when I did complain because it was colder than a flagpole in Juneau up here and Mr. Sundberg announces this "emergency" trip to an expo in Florida. "I certainly don't have to go and I won't if you'd rather I didn't. But I'd like to," he said. "Ralph and Bob are both going." He put his hand on my forearm and squeezed and tilted his head just a little when he smiled, so how on earth was I supposed to complain? Well, go, of course, I told him. I'll stay here and make sure the house doesn't explode with the furnace on overdrive.

So once the kids were out of the house on Saturday with their shovels and buckets and granola bars, I went to town. Not literally, no. I just got busy in about seventeen ways. Within an hour there was wild rice soup on the stove and three loaves of wheat bread waiting to be baked. I watered the plants and disposed of the mouse I'd caught under the sink in the old wood trap with peanut butter and a marshmallow. I did some dusting and window washing and seven loads of laundry. And I shoveled. Snow. I figure I moved about a ton of snow and felt somewhat frustrated with the lack of snow removal assistance. I admire the heck out of people who just get on out there and shovel with smiles on their faces and the sun in their eyes. You don't see many women out there shoveling, though. It's mostly men on tractors or snowplows, men who are retired or who have the kind of jobs where they can come home early or go home late.

Sometimes I think if we all waited for our life partners to get home and shovel the sidewalk, the earth would become lopsided somehow and tilt too far on its axis and we'd fall out of orbit. Or gravity would disappear. Something big and huge like that. I think one of the keys to happiness is the understanding that if you want it done it's pretty much your job and that's about all there is to it. Right down to the seven loads of laundry. If I don't fold them, they sit there. And after a while I think I hear them calling to me. Fold me. Fold me.

So there I was in the tub with bubbles everywhere (out of my bath oil again so I had to use the kids' Disney bubble bath) and the water deep and almost too hot. (I had to do a little hopping dance and run some cold water before I sat down.) After a day of folding and kneading and shoveling, listening to the show while you're in the tub is about as good as it gets. Until, that is, the host of the show points out the fact that the holidays are over and we're all playing with our toys and using the bath salts we got for Christmas and taking baths and there are naked women out there listening to the show. So much for immersion therapy. I wondered how many other women were sliding down under the bubbles in a mixture of surprise and disbelief. We'd been found out.

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