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May 28, 2006

Hard work

What housework?

So we're having kitchen sink issues. Basically, the faucet works fine, but anything (including water) that we try to put down the drain ends up in the cabinet under the sink. (Yes, the landlord has been notified; he's in the Ukraine at the moment so it's taking him a bit longer than normal to get it fixed.) This means that dishes have to be washed in the dishpan, and then the dishpan full of icky water has to be dumped into the bathroom sink whenever it gets full. Which is about every three minutes, it seems. And I cooked a few times this weekend, and had social obligations that meant leaving soon after eating both times, so when I got home this evening there were a heck of a lot of dishes to do.

Now, I read a fair amount of history, especially social history. I know that, until all of the huge advances in household technology in the past fifty to one hundred years or so, routine, everyday housework was a much bigger deal. The phrase "backbreaking labor" is thrown around, and I never doubted it. But now, having this one common task be so much more time consuming and physically difficult than usual is giving me a glimpse of what all that actually means. And wow. I really am impressed by the strength of those generations of women (and some men, of course) who did all of that work every single day, and very grateful that I have all of these conveniences that mean that I have time to knit and read for fun and write a blog and everything else.

And I'm also trying to remember the feeling of accomplishment I had when all of those dishes were done and the last basin of water was dumped out and the kitchen was all clean. Maybe it will help convince me to clean more often.

Posted by Kat at May 28, 2006 11:11 PM

You're a good woman. The "clean at last" feeling of accomplishment would probably just convince me not to cook again...

Posted by: sprite at May 29, 2006 01:00 AM

Yuck, that sounds awful!
Is the leak anything that could be temporarily reduced with some combination of duct tape and a dishpan under the sink?
For a little while I lived in a house where we had undrinkable tap water -- so washing dishes meant heating bottled water on the stove and then washing dishes in the dishpan. Not eating at all started to sound like a good alternative. Thank god for indoor plumbing! (when it works)

Posted by: Tracy at May 29, 2006 09:16 AM

We certainly tend to take things for granted. And now knitting in a fun thing...back then it was work. Sometimes I think I'd like to live in a different era, but really...I'd probably be miserable and exhausted all the time.

Posted by: Jocele at May 29, 2006 10:54 AM

At least you didn't have to heat the water to wash the dishes. Yikes. Yeah, we take a lot for granted and think we have it tough. Not so much.

Posted by: Carrie K at May 31, 2006 09:13 PM
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