Sunday, October 5, 2008

Domestic Bliss

The last two weekends for the first time quite some time, we have spent the bulk of the weekend at home with no plans.  Our goal - to relax, rejuvenate, and get some housework and projects done.  We still managed to meet some family for lunch, go to the local fair, and purchase some much-needed maternity clothes for me, but the focus has been on being home.  

With all the chaos in our economy, and uncertainty about what's next, I see more and more people becoming focused on doing things at home.  For many, perhaps, this feels like a sacrifice. They can no longer afford to take the economic risk of shopping for fun, or spending a lot on eating out and so on.  But if what one can't do can be looked past, there's a little secret to be discovered - a home-centered life can be really, really enjoyable.  

Not in the sense that there's nonstop excitement enjoyable.  Instead, it's the pleasure taken in small things: dinner together in front of the fire.  Roasting peppers and then freezing them for some future winter pizza night.   Sleeping in.  Catching up on reading.  Even cleaning and tidying up provide a sense of satisfaction that can't be bought.  

I'm not saying I enjoy cleaning bathrooms.  Honestly, if I never had to clean another one for the rest of my days I wouldn't be unhappy in the least.  But there is something nice about taking something not-so-clean and tidy and making it clean and neatly sorted.  

Today my husband is out in the garden - digging up our crop of sweet potatoes, which, fingers crossed, will be on the table for holiday dinners and cold winter nights, and pulling out the rest of the dying vegetable plants.  We'll plant garlic in a week or two, mulch over everything, and tuck the garden in for winter.  I have a little fall lettuce growing, but that's about it for us until it's time for the grow lights to go up in February.

Meanwhile, I'm puttering around the house, and cooking.  I started sourdough bread yesterday, and it will bake this afternoon.  It's due to be cold tonight, so I'm thinking soup.  I'm also planning to make a chicken pot pie for tomorrow night's dinner, and salads for lunches.  

I have learned to take pleasure in the domestic arts.  We try to sit down to dinner together as often as we can, and we prefer it home-cooked.  Even when not working on house projects or cooking, we have home-based hobbies, such as woodworking (him) and needlework (me).  I'm planning to learn to quilt over the next year as well.  

Time at home doesn't have to be a sacrifice made just for the sake of saving money.  As a matter of fact, it doesn't always save money - for us, the more time at home, the more we seem to cook up house project ideas.  But it can be both enjoyable and a money-saver; like all things frugal, it means looking at things with a focus on what you are doing vs. what you aren't.  

Over time, you may realize that watching a concert or event on TV at home is as nice, if not nicer than going out.  For one, you don't have to buy expensive tickets.  The seats are comfy, and drinks of choice are both available and affordable.  And the pause button works wonders.

A home centered life shouldn't replace all social activity, but nor should it be dreaded as a thing to be done because you can't do other things.  

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