Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Housekeeper's Schedule

I don't work for a traditional public library and I don't do traditional librarian stuff. I rarely get to shush anyone. I don't normally wear my hair in a bun (unless I push the laziness envelope) and I don't wear sensible shoes. And much to the chagrin of JR I don't wear nothing but my hair in a bun & stilettos either (or at least not to work)

The kind of librarian I am is a government documents librarian. I collect some of the most boring books, papers, and reports (yawn, snort, snore. what? sorry I dozed off) you've ever seen.

Sometimes among the dross that tends to liter my office a little gem peaks it's lovely head up. Most of these gems come from one particular part of my collection. The circulars from the University of Arizona College of Agriculture. (all you copyright police can put away your billie clubs now I'm only going to show ones published before 1924).

I love these things. Not all of them mind you. I could do without "Nutritional Studies with Cattle on a Grassland-Type Range in Arizona" or "Life History and Ecology of the White-Throated Wood Rat" or "Some Effects on Animal Nutrition of the Ingestion of Mineral Oil" (though this one has some potential entertainment value. Especially if you think cow farts are funny).

Some are just seriously funny such as; "A Manual of Play and Games"(1922) or "Why Not Make Saurekraut"(1950s) or "As Others See You, a courtesy manual for 4-H club members" (1949) (FYI, this one makes me giggle uncontrollably. We're talking pee your pants a little funny) or today's offering "The Housekeeper's Schedule"

You're going to have to enlarge them to actually read the text. I'll give my favorite lines.You pick your own. It's okay.

I'm pretty sure the author did not mean to be funny. Here we go...

"In order to be a successful plan, it must be arranged so as to permit an occasional emergency to arise without disturbing her mental equilibrium or the comfort of her family." MENTAL EQUILIBRIUM? just planning most anything disturbs my mental equilibrium. And what if I'm already mentally unstable? Will the plan fix that? God forbid disturbing the family's comfort. I live to make my family comfortable. Blood gushing out of a gaping wound on my child will probably upset my mental equilibrium and the comfort of my family. Not finding the special dark chocolate bar I squirreled away will definitely disturb my mental equilibrium. Running out of Magnolia scented bubble bath will without a doubt disturb the comfort of my family. Just from the whining, sobbing and teeth gnashing from me.

"Eight hours of work does not mean that one should spend another eight hours in idleness." Oh no! I am so screwed on this one.

"The two hours for meals will be divided into three periods of 40 minutes each, ....." "It would be better for the health of the average American family if food were eaten more slowly and more time were spent in the pleasant social intercourse that should form an important adjunct to every meal." Social intercourse? Yeah right! Where does histrionics, smashed peas, milk puddles, and sulking come into play? And that's just from me.

Where in the daily routine section is the time where I get to dress, brush my hair, avoid mirrors for fear of scaring myself, weep uncontrollably over the loss of perkiness, lament over the fact that I should have shaved my legs, and let's not forget a moment to come to grips with the gray in my hair.

"She is also mistress of her work, rather than its slave, the queen of her home and an influence for good in her community." Geez! I feel so unworthy.

I'd like to re-write this a bit. I'd like it to read; She is also mistress to her husband during his mid-life crisis, princess of her own land (Sort of like my Princess Michele-land) and be influenced for the good by the Bon Bons in her hand.

I hope you found this circular interesting. I have plenty more where that came from that I'm dying to show you.



  1. I find that I devote more time to the care of my poultry than the making one hot dish for each meal & feeding my children. Am I a bad housekeeper?

    (*I don't actually have poultry OR children.*)

    That was so awesome - thank you for sharing!

  2. Loved the post! By the way, I never thought I would wear sensible shoes, as I always wear flip-flops, even in winter.

    But low and behold I developed 4 tumors in my feet, 3 in the left and 1 in the right. It looked like I was headed toward a cane and sensible shoes, but WAIT.....

    I found ortho-flip-flops! YEAH!
    Sensible flip-flops, who would have ever guessed!


  3. Very cool!


    I love your sense of humor, by the way. We are cosmic twins.


  4. Haha! Classic. When were these women supposed to actually INTERACT or play with their children? Silly me for thinking that my work was never done, I just wasn't properly applying myself to my schedule!
    Thanks for posting this, I love this kind of thing.
    ps I kissed my baby's neck for you, and one for me! I love that spot too! So sweet after bath time
    pps. What in the world are toilet utensils, and why do you have to allow an hour to clean them??!!

  5. too funny! i have a REALLY old cookbook from my grandmother that not only has your basic recipes (hassenpfeffer anyone??) but also sections about how to be a good wife by making sure your husband has his pipe and slippers when he gets home from work. it's truly hilarious!!