Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Homemaking Tip – Virtues vs Vices

I’ve got a quirk that works for me and against me – one minute it’s a virtue, the next it’s a vice.  What is it?

I make do.

It was evident twenty years ago when we went to the soup kitchen to help serve a meal.  We thought we were just setting up tables, serving food, and washing the dishes, but when we got there the man who unlocked the door said, “No one showed up to organize or cook.  Here’s the closet.  Find something and cook it, will you?”  I didn’t sweat; I didn’t worry; making do is my virtue.  We opened the closet and found some canned chicken on one shelf, a few softening vegetables here and there, and lots and lots of onions.  An hour later we were spooning chicken-gravy-of-sorts over mashed potatoes to the dozens and dozens of people in line. 

I saw it again yesterday when I made split pea soup.  I put a few stocks of old-ish celery, leftover green beans and mashed potatoes, as well as chopped onions and carrots in with the split peas.  If I thought I could have gotten away adding a few mellow apples, a couple of soft oranges, and a leftover peach and pear still in their jar I’d have cleaned out the whole fridge.  After the peas and vegetables had cooked until they were soft, I pureed everything then added milk, a bit of butter, and bacon bits.  (I got the real bacon bits for 50 cents a bag [what a steal] at Grocery Outlet a month ago.)  It was very, very, very good soup and there is lots and lots and lots for the future.  You see, making do is my virtue. 

I’ll let you imagine how happy I was when I found the complete set of The Tightwad Gazette at the library sale for 50 cents.  If there’s one thing a make-doer loves, it’s how to make do more.

But sometimes making do is my vice.  I’m content when I shouldn’t be.  I accept mediocrity until it’s too late.  I use things for which they were not intended.   

If you’ll remember, we have Ande’s wedding in two weeks and Ty’s wedding two months after that.  In addition, we’re going to Colorado sometime next week to welcome Abe home from Iraq.  In short, we need to have our ducks in a row, but  . . . 

  • our microwave broke several months ago and we’ve just been making do with the stove and oven.  That may slow us down in the hurry days ahead. 
  • our refrigerator has been leaking water for the last several weeks, but we’ve been making do.  That isn’t all bad, the fridge is very clean, what with all the frequent wiping of the shelves, but it does take time to save the floating jalapenos. 
  • our washcloths are a bleached-ugly lot and are not at all fitting for guests, but we’ve been making do because they’re clean, don’t have holes, and we have lots of them.
  • one of our guest beds is hard as a rock, but we’ve been making do with it because it’s better than a too soft air mattress.  That same guest bed doesn’t have a pretty bedspread either, because . . .  blankets will do. 
  • I’ve been using Calvin’s shoes for the last year and a half to jog in.  Sure, sure, his are two sizes too big, but I’d rather shuffle than have pinched foot.  It’s not a big deal here where no one (except our two neighbor farmers) sees my feet, but I need something to wear in Colorado where lots of people will see my feet.
 Can you see where making do has landed me?  In a mess of make do. That’s where.  And no way to undo it soon enough. 

Good thing I can . . . always make do.

Have you got a twin virtue and vice?  Pray-tell what is it?


Tiffany Fackrell said...

ok the only thing I can think about in this post was the fact that Abe is coming home NEXT WEEK!! HOLY SMOKES, are you so so excited? I bet Grace is having a hard time sleeping. I really really hope you blog about it and take lots and lots of pictures. I LOVE seeing pictures of our military men coming home to their families. have a WONDERFUL trip and be SAFE!!! and give him an extra hug and thank you from all of us here in BLOG LAND...well and neighbors!

Emma J said...

Oh, this makes me laugh, Jane. I just like you.

michelle said...

This is hilarious, Jane. It sounds like a big enough virtue that it probably outweighs the times when it isn't quite so good.

(By the way, I think you could totally have gotten away with putting the apples in the soup. Not the oranges, though! Good call on that.)
Oh, and I would have definitely been stressed in that soup kitchen scenario. Wow.

It sounds like the next two months are going to be filled to the brim! What wonderful events to look forward to.

Hmmm, a twin virtue/vice. I'm going to have to say my tolerance. I think I am very tolerant of other people and their ways that are different from mine. At the same time, I worry sometimes that I am too tolerant. And hey, now that I think about it, my easy-going temperament is totally a virtue/vice. It can really come in handy, but I think it also keeps me staying in my comfort zone more than I should.

Michelle said...

Ty is his mother's son. :-) We are currently trying to talk him into some new running shoes that don't fall apart and that are actually intended for running. We're also working on a new pair of jeans without a rip in the back pocket with the wallet hanging out and a racquetball-size hole in the crotch. However, I really AM learning a lot from the two of you. :-)

Heather @ Multiple Hats said...

My vice and my virtue - "You cannot complain about it unless ou are willing to help change it."

I get to complain about MANY things.

But you've seen my calendar . . .

Ande Payne said...

Thank you for making do for us Mom. I love you.

You are pretty funny with your shuffling feet and all.

Michelle--your comment is hilarious. And so true. Gooooood luck.

My virtue/vice is that I'm a people pleaser. It gets me into all sorts of trouble, but pays off sometimes, just like you making do

Tyler - Danielle - Emree said...

I wish I was better at making do... Tyler is really good at it. When you are married to a make doer and you don't make do, it can be some what frustrating, but it probably helps us find balance.

I am an over doer. I find that I like things to be just right. If I am taking someone a gift I want it to be awesome. If I am going to make dinner I want it to be delicious. If I am going to get ready I want to look beautiful. Here is where the vice comes in and attacks my life. I either over do or I don't do at all. If I don't have time to do it the way I want then I end up not doing it at all. I would rather fail to do it then fail at doing it. It is seriously stupid of me. I need to learn to make do.

Barb said...

I'm regimented.

Anonymous said...

there must be a microwave epidemic...ours crapped out a few weeks ago too. we had a plummer come out to fix all the faucets that the guts needed replaced. and the garage door repair guy came...but it still isn't working. we let things go until it is to a ridicules point were nothing is working/running right.

tina said...

I am going to go with perfectionism, especially on printed documents. I will waste paper to reprint something that probably no one else will notice!

Lyle and Mary: said...

You might make do, but what you do, you do better than anyone!
And think of the money you save....
for all those weddings and trips you need to pay for :)
Tell Abe how grateful we are for the service he does, and welcome home!!!

Deidra said...

I've been thinking about you and yours a lot this week. Hope you're having a great time and I can't wait to get a Neighbor Jane Payne report later!