For some reason we get Good Housekeeping delivered in the mail on a regular basis. Neither Husband nor I can recall ever subscribing to this domestic tome, either in our current life or any previous lives, unless one of us was once a 1950s housewife. It’s a mystery how it all began since the magazine always arrives on time and is never accompanied by a bill or the ubiquitous postcard warning This Will Be Your Last Issue Unless You Respond Immediately! You wouldn’t think a free magazine could cause a conundrum but this one does: I don’t read it but I can’t just throw it out. Why? We don’t know. So it invariably becomes a trivet for hot serving plates on the dining room table and there it sits looking up at us from a cover that shows part of Dr. Oz’s face with the headline Nine Days to Perfect Health! under our takeout tin of chicken parmigiana and spaghetti.
It also happens that my reading load for this last semester of graduate school includes an extremely dense novel by Henry James and selections from Eight Modern Plays by such challenging playwrights as Chekhov, Ibsen and Pirandello. I like to consider myself one rung above fairly intelligent, and that having been said, I am somewhat undone by these readings. I find myself looking up from my books at regular intervals and staring out the window at our Hurricane Sandy ravaged landscape thinking HELP! and WHAT? in alternating succession. I had hoped my final semester of MFA studies would be a manageable jog if not a casual stroll, but I was unprepared for the roadrunner pace I’ve been doing since January. For the Henry James class I must hand in a creative work of my own influenced by the master author’s unapproachable style, and for the playwriting class I’m required to produce an original one-act play incorporating facets from the modern plays studied. At times I feel as cooked as one of Dr. Oz’s chipotle infused pork roasts with stir fry snow peas.
Okay, so now you know. I’ve been reading Good Housekeeping. When I can no longer digest one more Russian surname to accompany the other seventeen Chekhov has hurled at me, I turn to the Spring Fashion article entitled, Is Green the New Black? or skin care advice from someone who’s clearly had more Botox treatments than I have tooth fillings. And trust me, this mouth is a sea of mercury. Nonetheless, there is something cathartic about finding out you can clean the soap scum off shower doors with a clothes dryer sheet and remove water rings from a wood table with mayonnaise. Out of a hundred natural housekeeping hints I’ve read, those are the only two that stuck in my head. There was one about cleaning the inside of your microwave by nuking a cup of either vinegar, lemon juice or vodka and tonic and then just wiping the crud off the walls like mayonnaise on a wood table. Only thing is I can’t remember which one they said and I’ve tossed that issue. I would hate to waste a good glass of vodka by heating it to the boiling point only to discover the article said vinegar. Vinegar I can spare. The vodka I need for Chekhov.
Daughter’s Featured Fotos show an artful sampling of the City