Domestically Challenged

on July 22, 2008

When I was a little girl, my mother made most of her own clothes and several pieces for my sister and I. That sewing machine was always on the kitchen table and the idea of using a peddle to make it go fascinated me. Somewhere I have a family portrait (sans the boys as they weren’t born yet) in which my mother is wearing a dress she made. The picture was taken in the late 70s which means the dress is butt-ugly, but you can’t tell it’s homemade.

The rest of my childhood was spent watching my grandmother in the kitchen. She was a fantastic cook and could make anything. She baked too. Never measured, she was one of those eye-ballers, but gosh that stuff was good. Cloverleaf rolls, nut bread, nut rolls, cookies of every kind, pie crusts, homemade meatballs, noodles and sauce. It’s no wonder I had weight issues by age eleven.

The only complaint I have about these talents is, they didn’t pass them on to me. My mother never even taught me how to sew on a button. I know nothing about patterns, how to thread a machine, or the difference between a clean finish and a flat felled seam. And yes, I had to look those up to find an ending for that sentence.

I may have helped my grandmother roll out dough or frost some cookies, but I never really learned how to make anything. I have no skills in the kitchen what-so-ever. I can boil water, follow the directions for whatever comes out of a box, but that’s it. I’m domestically challenged.

Since I’ve never had a man in my life that actually complained about my domestic skills, I suppose I’m not so bad off. But I still hate that these skills once performed so well by the women in my family stop with me (and my sister who is even more challenged than I am if that’s possible). Other than playing softball and a love and appreciation for reading, writing, and music, I’m not sure that I’m passing anything down to my daughter. That’s depressing.

So, I’m happy to say, author Loucinda McGary (aka Aunty Cindy) has offered to teach me to knit during the RWA National Conference next week. I’m not sure how much I can learn in such a short time, but I’m willing to be a diligent student and practice to become better once I come home.

How about you? Are you a Domestic Goddess? Can you make a Halloween costume with one days notice and with one hand tied behind your back? And did you learn all your domestic skills from the women who came before you? Or did you figure it out on your own? And please tell me someone out there is just like me and couldn’t bake a soufflĂ© if their life depended on it?