Seeing the branches, and the trees

Now that the Lovely Swiss is here (I cannot, cannot, despite some readers' evident desire, call her the Swiss Miss. That's just too--weird) friends and mere acquaintances keep asking me what I am going to do with all my free time. Hmmmm. I want to answer, "What freaking free time??" and run out of the room, but that would be antisocial and not too productive. I do have more time; right now, as I type this, I can hear the Babe and the Swiss playing downstairs, and better, all seems to be amiable, which has not been the case every day. Having a new babysitter around seems to have made the Babe realize just how swank it's been for the last six months, free of babysitter fetters, free to cling to my legs, arms and abdomen all day, pretty much every day, save a few hours here and there in the playroom at the gym, the two-day-a-week daycare we started over the summer and a morning here or there "helping" our housekeeper clean. The lack of constant mommy has been translated into emphatic, "I no like YOU"s, directed at poor B (the Swiss.) So to overhear tantrum-less engagement is reassuring.

The truth, the ugly truth, is that I need to catch up. Our files, our finances, our basement, all the things in a family life that most require organization--none of them have any. I have to set up systems anew, since the ones I moved from L.A. were on life support, at best, during the year after the Babe's birth. I meet moms of little kids who seem to have everything so pulled together; if only. That is just not me. So the question becomes, after I catch up (and I have my Freedom Filer system glaring at me from across the floor) then what? That is the real question. My goal (and I'm putting it onscreen to taunt me) is to get all of the chaos under control by the end of October. Then, maybe, just maybe, I'll figure out what it is I am supposed to be doing with my life. (On that subject, visit here for some inspiration.)

Meanwhile, the leaves that started to turn two weeks ago are now falling, dancing like red and gold snowflakes in the exhaust wake of pick up trucks going too fast down our country roads. There's an old, fragile looking maple outside my window that is nearly bare, but the oak next to it is still green, except at some of its outer branches. Do you remember, if you live somewhere without fall, what eddies of leaves look like when they swirl suddenly on the ground?


monika said...

I relate to so much of what you write sometimes, it's scary.

Well, okay, I don't have a Swiss au pair around so that I can catch up, but I *dream* of catching up. We have not moved in to our house properly -- no pictures hung, kids' rooms incomplete, and thus, a mess. Every day is a trial. My cortisol levels rise just by looking at the place. (i had a rather frigid introduction to radiators today, and the service guy walked everywhere in dirty boots and drained one of the radiatiors all over the dining room wall-to-wall sisal, so everything looks even better.)

Add to that the constant guilt of needing to lose baby weight (and then some) and find a job. We moved here for the hubbie's career, not mine. I was perfectly comfortable doing what I was doing -- at the same level as him I may add -- too comfortable, in all honesty. But in his book, ambition trumps comfort, and so we are on half our income in one of the most expensive places to live in the world. And now he expects me to figure out what I want to do with my life -- so much infulfilled potential. Oh! And get a good paying job here too. If I didn't hate being a housewife so much, I'd say stuff all those unfair expectations. But since one of the worst days of my life was the day I tried to do 3 Martha projects -- artfully pack a pile of wedding presents, iron all the laundry, and make shell steak with mushrooms, spaetzle, roasted beets and apple-something-or other for dessert -- I am actually trying to figure it out.

Did you read that article about women's happiness (or lack of) in the New York Times? All I can say is that I resent being the one in the couple that society (at least here in Switzerland) judges on the basis of cute the kids are and clean the house is. How does that saying go?-- bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan...?

So all this to say, if you get it figured out, please share. Maybe it'll help inspire me too.

(as for free time? the hubbie just blackberried that he missed his connection -- he was off being diplomatic the past 3 days -- it is midnight, and the babe will need to be fed (and changed) within the next 2 hours, and will rise for good by 6 am... adieux )

rebecca said...

Oh great, Paige, thanks so much for that Freedom Filer (was it previously French Filer?) link, because for five minutes there I thought I'd gotten our FILING UNDER CONTROL, and now I see that it is NOWHERE NEAR UNDER CONTROL!

What happened to "good-enough"? Man, I used to LIVE by good-enough. Homework done? Good enough. Makeup on? Good enough. Relatively sober for class? Good enough.

PS I found wattle skin on my throat this morning. WATTLE SKIN.

Good enough.

Alto2 said...

Oh, yes, I remember eddying fall leaves well. And the chilly snap in October's air, and the smell of the apple cider press as I drove through the country. If you're getting organized, I should too. I have no excuse other than "I don't wanna."

Alto2 said...

Oops! I forgot to request that you change my link in your blogroll to my new home at Wordpress: testosteronezone.wordpress.com. Thank you!