At the hearth

One of the great weekend joys around here is a morning fire in the kitchen. Our kitchen is enormous, one end a big seating area with couches and a stone fireplace. While it's perhaps not the old-fashioned kitchen fireplace of my fantasies--some dear friends here have that in their much older house--the kitchen itself is right up there with anything I could dream up. The H became an accomplished firebuilder in our old house, which had a six foot wide hearth. Now that we have solved the dire problem of the crappy firewood, which, of course, I bought, and we have the much more expensive good firewood, we have fires a lot, but only on weekend mornings. Weekdays are just too pressured, since we have to be out the door by 7:30 in order to make it to school on time.

I slept in this morning--or, more accurately, stayed in bed with my eyes closed trying not to hear the erupting chaos of a typical morning--and the H got up with the kids. This is not the normal order of things, evidenced by our delayed exit for school on Thursday, when I snapped at both kids repeatedly, even though we were late not because they were uncooperative but because I allowed them to stay up too late the night before and because I failed to pre-pack the seven hundred things needed for a winter school day (1. snow pants. 2. hats. 3. mittens. 4. jackets. 5. lunches in lunch boxes. 6. snacks in snack boxes. 7. change of clothes for the Babe. 8. Napping blankie for the Babe. 9. Napping love object (HaHa, the horse--her choice) for the Babe 10. Dido's work folder. 11. Dido's learning log 12. Bag of cleaned eggshells for use in some Montessori lesson...ok, that's not seven hundred, but you get the idea. It seems less intimidating all typed out like that than it did at 7:15 Thursday morning.) Anyway, once we finally got on the road, Dido, trying to be supportive, I think, and jolly me into a good mood, said "How come Daddy always stays asleep in bed? How come you have to get up and do everything in the morning?" Good question. I had to laugh. And on weekends, I do occasionally get to be the one who pulls the pillow over her head and practices active denial of her responsibilities and the escalating decibel level.

I finally got up when I heard the H's voice rising in tension, and came down to playing kids, roaring fire and husband ensconced with coffee and internet. After playing short order cook (four poached eggs, two pieces of toast, one chicken quesadilla) I sat down to drink my own coffee and read email. Two friends have let me know of late that they have started blogs of their own. Another blog reader wrote to tell me of the travails she's facing with her own husband. A fourth thanked me for our lunch yesterday, which inspired me and filled me with gratitude (the lunch together, not the email of thanks, though that was nice, too.) Another let me know that she'd love for me to drop off some fresh eggs, long promised, this weekend. The fire was not the only warmth I felt early this morning.


Kari said...

I love this post. I think it is my favorite.

Alto2 said...

A tip: pack those kids' bags the night before. In fact, have them help you pack their backpacks so they share the responsibility. I have a friend who packs the kids' lunches the night before and sticks them in the refrig. In the morning, she just pops in a freezer pack, and they're done. My snobby eaters will not eat day-old lunches and insist that the day's repast be prepared a la minute.

Anonymous said...

You need etsy dot com in your life. I love etsy-everyone is selling handmade jewelry, photographs, art, bows, quilts, etc. and it calms me down after everyone's at school. Seriously.

goodfellow said...

It sounds like the kitchen of my dreams.

I have a great kitchen at home, with soapstone counters and hand-carved sink, and a 6 burner range, a pretty terrazzo-topped island, but always longed for the sort of kitchen where everyone could hang out, with room for a sofa and a fireplace.

How amazingly cozy your home sounds! We almost bought an 1850 stone house (the commute was a killer) where we could have put in something along those lines. Eh well...

Here in Switzerland, my theory is that deep-seated misogyny is responsible for the tiny, horrible kitchens with no counter space (I have but 16 inches worth) which seem to prevail. I remember le Corbusier being criticized for his barely serviceable kitchens (to be fair, Frank Lloyd Wright's were not much better). Totally impractical, as you cannot watch the kids while you cook, and miss everything that is going on in the living and dining rooms (but hey, why should the little women care, eh?).

And today, the H informed me that he does not want to go back home, and does not want to go back to *OUR* home. He wants me to find a nice well-paying UN job *here*. (can't even begin to identify the mess of feelings this has generated)

Hey -- but he gets up and makes breakfast every morning, so I can't complain. Usually with fresh-squeezed orange juice. If our family relied on me to make breakfast, no one would make it out the door before 10. One of the great things about our Montessori here -- they provide hot lunches and all the snacks, so no lunches to pack. (I so hated packing lunches)

This was our first morning back, and we forgot to buy Miss T a new toothbrush, and were out skiing yesterday (yes, in the Alps) and did not do laundry, so were short on clothes to restock her "just-in-case" bag, but apart that, it went pretty smoothly. Betcha anything she is going to be tired and crabby tonight thought.

Paige said...

Monika, I need your email address. xx P