If you’re familiar with the 1986 film About Last Night, there’s a part where the lead female character Deborah describes to her friend, Joan, the dining arrangement she has with her live-in partner, Danny.
Two nights a week, I cook. Two nights a week, he cooks. Two nights, we go out. And then, there’s sandwich night.
The film is based on the play Sexual Perversity in Chicago which ran off-Broadway in the 1970s. When the film gets shown on cable TV (satellite TV, in our case, because there’s no cable TV in our part of the boondock), I still watch it with as much gusto as I did in the late 1980s when I first saw it.
I mention the film because it sort of describes how Speedy and I live these days with no house helper and both girls off to college. Sort of describes, not exactly describes, as we don’t go out two nights a week because the dining scene here in suburbia is only exciting for habitues of beer houses. What can I say? There are very few real restaurants and those few we have gone to too many times already.
So, mostly, it’s: I cook most weeknights, sometimes Speedy does and it’s sandwich night two to three nights a week. And our days and nights, and meals, have become so informal and unstructured that, most times, we eat right on the kitchen island. We don’t bother setting the dining table at all. I mean, there’s just the two of us, the dining table is a six-seater and our aloneness just seems more pronounced. The kitchen is cozy, the setting is informal and clean-up is easier.
And Speedy commented one time that it was like playing house. That made me smile. He’s right, in a way. There is that feeling that we’re just playing, that we’re exploring a new life together, no one to really look after except each other (and the dogs and cats) five days a week. It’s probably what newlyweds go through when they start their life together and get a place of their own. That’s something we didn’t experience. We lived with Speedy’s family after we got married, I was pregnant with Sam a month later, we lived at my in-laws’ until Alex was a few months old, then we moved to my family house with my mother and brother… When we bought our own house, Sam was going to the third grade, I think.
Well, it’s great to get to play house and feel like newlyweds at this late date with two daughters off to college. It’s fun. In fact, I think we’re enjoying it more because we get that “playing house” feeling without the stress of getting to know one another like real newlyweds. Gee, we’ve been married for nineteen and a half years. We’ve gone through a lot of the getting to know one another crap already although I am sure that we will still go through more of it.
So, what’s a day of playing house like at CASA Veneracion?
Well, of course, we have to do the chores. I mean, we live in a house, not a pig stye, so we do chores. And I kinda get OC with the cleanliness thing so it’s not unusual for me to clean the kitchen three times a day. Speedy gets more OC about the garden and the laundry than I do so he attends to that. That doesn’t sound like playing?
The fun part is in not feeling obliged to follow any schedule. We don’t have to wake up at a certain hour in the morning to go to work. We eat when we’re hungry, not necessarily at certain appointed hours of the day or night. If it rains and garden chores are impossible to do, we can just cuddle up in bed — with chocolates, wine and chips — and watch movies or the Food Network. If we want to get bombed from cocktails in the middle of the day, we can. We can decide, literally at whim, that we want to go to this or that place, that we want to eat grilled isaw or siopao at midnight, or have friends over, or go out with friends, or check out the newly-opened bakeshop five minutes away, and just do it.
I think that best describes it. We can just do it, whatever the “it” may be. It’s the freedom that allows us to decide what we want to do each day, whether to loll in bed, soak in the tub for three hours with a bottle of wine, or write a bestseller. And that makes every minute feel fun. Like play time.
It’s a simple life. Maybe not something for the rich and famous, and perhaps not ideal for those who like to keep up with the Joneses and those who want to make it to the Fortune 500, but it’s a good life for us. Uncomplicated and a great way to keep our faces free from wrinkles even if we don’t see a dermatologist regularly.
Life is good. Really, it is.