Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm Turning Domestic, I Really Think So

When I was in high school my dad strongly suggested that I take typing courses.

I would have no part of it. Typing courses were for those girls who would settle for being secretaries, while I had more important courses to take, such as chemistry, trigonometry, analysis, psychology and world literature. Why waste a valuable class hour on business math (snicker) or typing?

“I’m just saying that if you have typing skills, you’ll always have something to fall back on.”

“Dad, I’m not going to be a secretary. I’m going to have a secretary.”

I grew up and for nine years after college was a bookkeeper for a local restaurant. Part of my job involved, um, typing. I had to type the daily menus for the display board, type letters to customers and vendors, and type updates for the region-wide employee newsletter. Boy, was I shocked when my boss gave me a nice flower arrangement for Secretary’s Day!

During that nine years I had two beautiful baby girls and went through a financially devastating divorce. Also during that nine years, an astounding piece of work called the personal computer was made available for home use.

I left the restaurant and went to work for an audiologist (more secretarial work,) and ended up working at a business that manufactured personal computers.  There I graduated from typing on a typewriter to pounding the keys on a Gateway programmable keyboard, oh yeah! I worked in management there as a team leader until I moved to Utah, where I got a job managing a cell phone store. More business math, more typing, and more establishing my identity as a business manager and working mother.  My favorite TV show was The Apprentice, because I could identify. It also gave me the stamina to face another day at work.

For those who have never been working mothers, let me tell you a little secret—working moms don’t have time to eat properly, much less learn to can vegetables or sew or plant a garden. Working mothers get by. They make sure their living rooms are spotless so that when company comes, they can confine them to the one room they had time to clean. Never ask to use a working mother’s bathroom when you visit her at home because she will die just a little inside.

When my husband told me in 2007, that I could quit working at the cell phone store that I had managed for eight years, I was ecstatic, yet dumbfounded. How would I spend that extra sixty hours per week?  Would I become one of those women for whom I had previously had very little patience? You know, one of those women who thought going to the grocery store qualified as stress?

One of the first things I did was to plant a garden, with the help of the family. I think we got about four or five tomatoes, a cucumber, a cantaloupe that turned rotten on the vine before I knew it was there, and a watermelon that never grew past fist size.

I also took sewing lessons, where I made these cool-guy camo curtains for my son’s room, and a pair of pajama pants for him.

In the fall of that year, I began teaching school, but because I teach where my son attends, I still consider myself a stay at home mom( SAHM in internet lingo.) I spend about 35 hours a week on school, between teaching, preparing, and grading, but because I get a massive four month vacation in the summer and because I love teaching, I feel that I am still in the ranks of the SAHMs.

This year, for the first time in four years, our garden has produced food that we can eat. Saturday, Computer Geek and I pulled the following from our garden—about one hundred cherry tomatoes, around thirty regular tomatoes, ten-ish green peppers, ten-ish jalapeno peppers, two heads of red cabbage, and some broccoli. We are still waiting on the pumpkins (we had six at last count,) the corn, the potatoes and more tomatoes. We are slicing off lettuce leaves as we need them.

I proudly display here my first batch of salsa, using tomatoes and green and jalapeno peppers from the garden.

 I am woman!

I had to borrow an onion from Em, because being an avowed onion-hater, I had no such item in my home. (Perhaps I will enlighten you on this phobia in another post.)  For those of you who have been domesticated for a long time, I realize that this is not canned properly. It is for short term use in my fridge. Learning how to can is a domestic adventure for another year.  For now, I am happy to have sewn something four years ago, and to have had a successful garden for the first time ever this year.  And maybe, just maybe, in a year soon to come, I will break away from my three-fingered habit and learn how to type. But don’t tell my dad.


  1. You have the best of both worlds. Wife, mom, grandmother, sister, aunt, teacher, gardener, crafter, mediocre typist. :- )

    Love that jar of salsa. Are you saying you put onions in it?

  2. Auntie M: I am grateful for my life and feel I have been very blessed. I really do have the best of both types of lives--staying at home combined with working (If you can call teaching perfect children "work.") And yes, there are actual onions in that jar of salsa, hand-cut by moi. I tried chopping them with baggies over my hands but I finally bucked up and did it bare-handed. What I will go through to prove to my husband that we did indeed NEED twenty tomato plants this year.

  3. That's awesome! I've never been a single mother but my mom was one for a few years. Single mom with 5 kids! I really respect working moms!
    Maybe someday I'll become a little more domestic. . . for now I'm pretty content :)

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  5. Taleah--Yeah, no rush on being domestic. I'm fifty. :) Hats off to your mom. It was hard for me to be a single mom of two, and she did it with five!

  6. You are not woman Randi, you are incredible woman.

  7. Ken! I have been on your site looking for your email address but could not find it. Could you email me at so I can email you back with something? Thanks!

  8. Can I learn some domestic tricks from you?? I'm hopeless in many of those areas!!

    Bravo to you Randi for exploring your domestic goddess side :)

  9. septembermom: I'll teach you some domestic tricks if you can teach me how to pour beautiful poetry from my soul on demand. Deal? :)


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