Housekeeping

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(Revised to Protect the Innocent)

Question:   Heather, how do you do it?  How do you keep your marriage fresh and exciting after nearly five whole months, while still managing to drive your kids around, post a blog once a week, and play at least two rounds a day of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Answer: People are always* asking me this!  And what I like to say is, Friends**, unlike me, it isn’t easy!

That’s why I jumped on the chance to do some serious blogcleaning while my husband is in China this week.  In fact, if you take a look around, I think you’ll find that I’ve managed to move the creepy French mannequin dude with the snaggle teeth, insert the missing photo of my mother’s wedding suit, and fix the parentheses I left open on the post about the Register Bitch.

I have even put up, taken down, and scrubbed this very post***.

And after all that work, I’m not gonna lie, I’m exhausted.  I have just enough energy left to take a few more questions, after which, hopefully, we’ll have some wine and cheese.  Of course, all this work has built up quite an appetite, so what say we get to the Questions right away, before I completely collapse?

 

Question: Um, okay, go ahead.

Answer: Wait, that’s not a question. 

 

Question: That’s because you asked one, first.

Answer: Oh, right.

 

Question: Soooo…is it time for us to ask the questions, yet?

Answer: That is an excellent question!  You’re so good at this!  I can’t wait to hear the rest of them!

 

Question: You don’t get out much, do you?

Answer: Ha ha, yes, I do not!  Are we done now?

Question: Well, can we ask about the asterisks first?  Why do you use so many? Wouldn’t it just be easier to use the footnote function?

Answer: No, it would not be easier to use the footnote function****.  Great, thanks for–

 

Question: Wait, wait, here’s another: I don’t get the Actual Ghost/Exposition Fairy stuff.  What’s that all about?

Answer:  I know, right?  Me either.

Question: But, then why do you have them in the blog?  They’re not real.

Answer:  True.  But then again, neither are “you.”

 

Question:  Huh.

Answer:  Could you phrase that in the form of a question?

Question: Okay, the thing is, I’m getting married soon, and I was hoping that we were going to get around to the part about how to buy a dress? 

Answer:  That’s still not a question.  You can’t fool me with your question mark and the way you raise your voice at the end!

 

Question:  Hey, what happened to all the wine?

Answer: Whelp, looks like we’ve run out of time!  Thanks for coming, everyone!  Tune in next week, when we buy a BEIGE dress!

 

Question:  Really, beige?  For a wedding?

Answer: You there, cater boy.  Do these crackers have gluten?

Question:  I’m not the caterer!  I’m your son!

Answer:  You know, I could have gone to China, too.  But I didn’t.  I stayed here.  For you.  My audience.

 

Question:  Whoa, whoa, look out for the—

Answer:  What the–?  Who put the stupid mannequin over here?

*By which I mean, of course, never.

**By which I mean, of course, the Quakers.  I am always talking to the Quakers in my head.  Because, you know: irony.  Also, true story: way back in my first marriage, my ex used to drag me to Quaker meeting with him, even though he was technically Jewish.  And what I learned while sitting through nearly a solid hour of silence is that there are 212 ceiling tiles in the Friends Meeting House in Madison, Wisconsin; that 15 out of 17 Quakers wear glasses; that 14 out of 17 Quakers wear sandals with socks; and that if you have just gotten into an accident (okay, another accident) with your husband’s Mercedes right before Quaker Meeting, you will spend most of the meeting trying extremely hard not to blurt this out.

***Because it has come to my attention that some people are a little less than happy with their portrayals herein.  For instance, one of my daughters, who shall not only not be named, but whose hair won’t even be described, announced a few weeks ago that she was fed up with being used for blog comic relief, because that’s “distribution of character.”

“I think you mean defamation of character,” my other daughter, who has different hair, replied.

“There!  SEE?  A hundred dollars says that shows up in next week’s post.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I assured her.  “I do have some scruples, after all.”

But I think it’s a good lesson for the children—for all of us, really—to learn: that not everyone is going to be as diligent as I in guarding your privacy.  So, if you really want to make sure that you don’t show up in someone’s writing, there are a few  simple rules to follow.

#1: Don’t be pithy.

Don’t, for instance, start muttering, like Detective Munch on Law & Order SVU, that true evil lies not in removing all hope, but in allowing people to hold onto the tiniest piece of it, in response to my complaint that the temperature has dropped nearly fifty degrees.

#2: Don’t be fey.

Definitely do not jerk forward in your seat, grabbing at the back of your head, before exclaiming, with relief: “Oh, it’s my barrette.  For a minute there, I thought I’d grown a horn.”

#3: Don’t be hilariously foul.

If, for example, someone challenges your love of the Muppets, and you say something along the lines of “Hey, Muppets are great, motherf*ckers!” and your mother suggests, sharply, that you watch your language, do not revise by saying “Sorry.  Muppets are great, muppetf*ckers,” and then wait a beat or two before saying meekly, into the silence: “I changed the wrong word, didn’t I?”

****Because I don’t know how to use the footnote function.

About Heather Aronson

Heather Aronson is a freelance writer and editor. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona way back in the 1980s and has put it to scant use ever since, publishing a few short stories in now-defunct magazines (including American Short Fiction) and storing a handful of novels in now-defunct boxes. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, in a new house with some of her children, her new husband, and a bunch of old stuff that totally doesn’t go together. Especially the cow creamers.

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