My Hero: Gro Rollag

August 2007

I found the epitaph I want on my gravestone. It is from a book by David Laskin, called The Children’s Blizzard. He was describing a woman, Gro Rollag, who immigrated to America from Norway in 1873, “According to family lore, she was not the most conscientious housekeeper because ‘she preferred reading to housework.’” Wow, that was like looking into a mirror. It is even better than the Erasmus quote, “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”

Here is an exact Me-quote from this week, “Go look on the couch for some panties, just move the clothes around, and if some fall on the floor, that’s ok.” I think part of the reason my house is usually trashed, is because I am interested in doing things.

Visiting a friend recently, I noticed her house was really picked up considering she has two pre-schoolers and a full time job. However, her only hobby is drinking beer on the deck. There is nothing wrong with that, but it really doesn’t make much of a mess, even if you do it every day for two hours. Try scrap booking for two hours a day on the dining room table, then picking up after yourself, or piecing a quilt, or sitting at the computer, writing. My opinion is that people with clean houses aren’t often very interesting.

I like to cook, and most of our meals are from scratch, even mac and cheese. The Schwan’s man actually dropped us because we weren’t buying enough from him. I like to read, I am currently in the middle of three books, and any number of magazines, I like to write, I am currently in the middle of six essays, and am doing reconnaissance for an attempt on a serious article about an ancestor of mine. I belong to two book groups. I scrap book, but not at home usually.

I fall into that category of people who have a hard time getting things done, because of perfectionism. Yes, my books are organized by the Dewey decimal system. Seriously, and the fiction is alphabetical by author. I think when the time comes to get a part time job, I will apply at the local library, and put the above information on my resume. I still just toss my children’s books at the shelf. So far.

I am a sucker for containers. I think to myself that if I get enough containers and systems going, I could conquer the world, or at least clean off the peninsula in my kitchen. I have to admit, my dirty laundry system is working pretty well, my four-year-old actually will sort her clothes into the different tubs I have set out, without me asking. She doesn’t always do it the way I do, but I can usually see her logic. My clean laundry system still needs some tweaking, maybe I just need one of those sectional couches.

My only other defense is that the TV stays off most all day in my house. We watch PBS over breakfast and lunch, and otherwise the TV collects dust. This goes a long way in explaining why my house is always trashed; my kids are actually doing things all day.

This is what I did during naptime today.

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