Monday, February 8, 2010

D'yer Mak'er...homemaker

The notion of being a homemaker may not be as sexy as the Led Zep song. But without much ceremony, I became a full-time homemaker in mid-January 2010. It helped that the first few days after returning from our fun-filled trip to Malaysia and a honeymoon in Thailand, hubby did most of the cooking while I adjusted to winter after two and a half months of warm and humid weather. I acclimatized quickly and ungracefully as the furnace acted up and refused to heat the house to a relatively comfortable temperature of 20 degrees Celcius (in Malaysia, this would have been frigid, but I digress), forcing me to wear layers and layers of clothes, not unlike an onion. Too bad it's impractical to wear a blanket around the house.

It is time to implement my plans of becoming an enviromentally-aware domestic goddess! I have been turning more and more to my "Martha Stewart" side in recent years and now I can fully embrace it. But first things first, I unpacked the boxes shipped up from Alexandria months ago while I left the country to switch visa status. This is the first time in many years I have all of my possessions with me. Since I started my post-grad studies and then work, I've always had a field base and a home base. I think Mom is relieved to have most of my junk out of her immaculate home...hehehe. This also meant that I threw out and gave away quite a bit of stuff as well.

We have since integrated our wardrobe and furniture, cookware and electronics. Thank goodness the basement exists. Summer clothes, unused lighting and furniture were stored there. I then happily organized and rearranged almost everything in the house. Hubby is wary of the fact that the furniture configurations could change tomorrow, next month or whenever. So far so good. I'm only moving the small pieces around nowadays, leaving big pieces where they are.

I set up a daily schedule but give myself plenty of leeway. Towels to be washed on Thursdays. Bathroom and kitchen to be disinfected weekly. Will try to vacuum and wipe dust off furniture at least once a week. But I know myself...that I have a relaxed and inconsistent way of cleaning and tidying the house. Sometimes, I'd clean a section of the bathroom or living room. Othertimes, I clean the whole house in a matter of hours. If there is such a thing, I actually WANT to enjoy my "homework" and not be a slave to chores.

The dry air and repeated contact with water is wrecking havoc on my hands. I am more diligent about applying lotion after shower but looks like my skin needs petroleum jelly.

I have gotten round to planning our weekly menu and we stick to a list when grocery shopping. I tend to cook lazy, all-in-one pot of meat and vegetable like curry or weird pasta-soup combo when living alone. Now I try to prepare a more nutritionally balanced menu, comprising of at least two dishes to go with rice. We both like Japanese food, but I am more familiar with Chinese cooking. I have experimented successfully with grilled fish, roast beef and chicken. I am grateful there are shops where we can still find Asian food to keep homesickness at bay, strenghtened further with some supplies bought from home. Just the other day I made nasi lemak with the high-grade anchovies we bought in Malaysia. Have to be careful not to use up my Marmite as stores here don't seem to sell anything like it.

Recycling is mandatory in Ithaca, to my delight. I haul out recyclables and place them by the roadside every fortnight. When I'm done with the research, the house will have a composting bin as well. I am looking into vermicomposting and installing a disposer under the kitchen sink. Apparently compost bins and worms prefer plant discards as opposed to meat. The disposer will take care of small bones but short of becoming vegetarians I'll have to find other ways of dealing with the chicken fats and bones. Maybe we can buy meat without bones, but I like making stock with bones. So how ah?

Overall, the house is in decent shape but as they say, there is always room for improvement. So onward we go, with our small projects, fixing this and that, redecorating here and there...HGTV and DIY our favorite tv channels; Home Depot and Lowe's our usual haunts. We had a garage door installed recently. We installed laminate flooring at the foyer. Hubby is obsessed the idea of installing recessed lighting and a second bathroom in the basement. I'm interested in refinishing our hardwood flooring and the sundeck. So much to do, but so little money and time. I guess we'll have to prioritize and break big projects down into smaller, affordable chunks and do them in phases.

Hubby is worried I might go cuckoo staying at home all day, all week, so he takes me out for grocery shopping, a visit to the public library, for a nice meal outside or to meet with friends. I haven't created any imaginary friends yet. I like my own company and don't mind solitude as long as I have my music, books and freedom to rearrange the furniture. But yea, striking a balance in every aspect of one's life is a good goal to pursue.

We'll see if I can pick up some sewing skills and do something with the drab curtains...first stop: classes.

1 comment:

Awesome Blossome said...

Well, baking is another hobby that can keep you busy... Glad to see you've found your own home. :-) I've always wanted to do something like what Julie did in Julie & Julia; trying out all the recipes in one's fav cookbook, but can't find the time! Someday,.... hopefully.