A Confession

Aretha Franklin is, without a doubt, my favourite singer of all time; what a gift she was to the world. I love every single thing she has ever done, but I especially love this clip from 2015 because wow. Talk about owning it. I love how she swans out in a gigantic floor length fur coat, 2015 be damned, dripping with jewelry and in that absolutely fabulous dress, to belt out Natural Woman. That voice, not dimmed in the least by her age, which was 73. In fact, her voice may have been better than ever. I love how she just drops the coat to just finish it off. What a goddess.

Sirius is honouring her by making the Soul Town channel into a tribute to Aretha for the next week. This morning I heard her renditions of Satisfaction and Let It Be, and she makes the Stones and Beatles sound like absolute hacks. Go home, boys, you’ve been owned. That woman was a queen, let’s not ever forget that.

Speaking of Sirius, a few weeks ago I mentioned that after years of my declarations that I Do Not Need Sirius In My Car, I finally acquiesced and my husband had it installed, just in time for our Epic Road Trip. I am so glad we did because I don’t think I could have listened to our Summer Mix 2014! CD one more time. The only blip came when my husband, whose musical tastes are much more contemporary than my own, refused to listen to Seventies Soft Rock or Pop Hits of the Eighties, two of my staple channels. I am extremely open-minded about music in general – I enjoy a wide and eclectic variety of genres – and so I let the doggy have his bone, so to speak. This went fine until the last long leg, when I snapped and declared that I Could Not Listen To “The Middle” One More Time. Deadlock had been reached, and we ended up compromising by listening to Bloomberg for four straight hours, which was both fascinating and kind of depressing, as this was exactly when the Chinese trade sanctions were starting.

The other day I was scrolling through my news feed and I came across this:

Never before have I felt so seen by an Onion headline, not since this one:

Oh, remember those days when the kids were small and a vacation was not at all a vacation, but rather a trip, and one in which all regular chores and drudgery had to be done, just in less convenient circumstances? Thank god that passed. When the kids were little our “vacations” were exclusively limited to “trips to visit my in-laws” and I remember the sheer exhaustion of it all. In fact, when the kids were two and three I remember saying to a fellow preschool mom that I couldn’t imagine ever PAYING to go on a vacation just so I could be exhausted in a different place. Clearly my sleep deprivation was affecting me deeply; obviously I am in a different stage of life now, one in which I can sit by the pool with a drink and a book for hours before wondering casually if the kids were hungry yet. It gets better Current Me wants to tell Past Me. Whenever I see a woman on a plane with little ones in tow, and the look on her face says why am I doing this I always give an empathetic smile and a silent prayer for her that she will get five minutes to herself.

But back to the Guest Offering Help With Dishes. This is a confession, you guys, which means I am not proud of this, but instead I am telling you something a little bit shameful, and that is that I really cannot bear to have help in the kitchen. Well, that’s not exactly true; my younger son is my dish drier, my older son is the table-and-chair wiper, my husband scrapes plates and loads the dishwasher and packages up leftovers (but only in containers that I have approved, because I am an insane control freak). Guests, though. I want my guests to just enjoy another drink and relax, or chat with me while I do the dishes, but I do not under any circumstances want help.

I know, I know, it’s terrible. In fact, I wonder if it’s some kind of pathological illness. Why wouldn’t I welcome help? It’s perverse! After all, I happily help in other people’s kitchens. But when it comes to mine…well. A few months ago we had dear friends visiting, and after dinner my sweet, sweet friend Sammi (HI SAMMI) started stacking plates. She took one look at me and said “You don’t want me to do this, do you?” I shook my head and we burst out laughing at my weird mental deficiency. Then she had a glass of wine while I washed the dishes AND I WAS HAPPY.

When we were staying at our friends’ place in Vancouver (HI CHRIS!) I was helping in the kitchen by drying the dishes. I asked my friend where to put a particular knife, and he said “Oh, anywhere. It’s a small kitchen, I’ll find it.” People, I stood there for several seconds in shock because I had obviously found Bizarro Nicole. What, you don’t have a specific nonnegotiable spot for every single kitchen item and when said item is put away wrong, you don’t silently plot the murder of the individual responsible? Huh. 

Well, the world is a rich tapestry. It takes all kinds, as Grandma would say. My husband and I were chatting the other day and I said that I was “easy-going.” He raised his eyebrows at me. “I am! I’m very easy-going!” I said defensively. He wordlessly went to the knife block and switched the knives around while my blood pressure skyrocketed and my eyes bulged out.

I’m easy-going about many things but the knife block is not one of them. Or the entire kitchen. Or the entire house. But otherwise! Very placid and carefree. Yes. Very.

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