Today I lost my mind.
I went to Walmart to buy Drano and a dog bed. The old dog bed was thrown away last night in a flurry of bedroom cleaning. Whoa, I have a floor! Anyway, I went mostly for the dog bed, and figured I would pick up a couple of other necessity things while I was there. That was a nice plan, except that apparently the greeter secretly misted me with some sort of psychotropic drug as I entered the store.
Stuffing was on sale in a display near the door. This makes sense; Thanksgiving is coming up. I am skipping the country to avoid Thanksgiving, but I do like stuffing. Stuffing made me think of other winter comfort foods, which made me want soup. First I was thinking of chicken soup, and I was standing in the produce aisle, so I started throwing celery, carrots, and onions into my cart. Then I decided that what I really wanted was white borscht, which I cannot get unless I go to an Eastern European country or neighborhood in NYC or make it myself, so I bought a giant bag of potatoes - because clearly I need ten pounds of potatoes to make soup for just myself. And of course I needed garlic, because, well, you always need garlic for something.
Then I passed through the meat aisle to get the chicken for the soup that I had first wanted to make but had given up in favor of the borscht. But I got the chicken anyway, along with the kielbasa. Once I made the borscht with ham, so I bought some ham because that just sounded good. Turkey was on sale, so I stood in front of that for a while until I finally drew the line. Somehow I ended up with the ingredients for both chicken soup and borscht, and then I remembered this fabulous beer cheese soup I had recently, and since I already had the potatoes and onions, it only made sense to buy four pounds of cheese, right? And this was all before I even got to the dog beds.
The dog bed reminded me of the old dog bed which had smelled vaguely of skunk, which made me want new candles. On the way to the candles, I passed the dishes, and remembered that my bowls are too shallow and annoy me when I eat soup, so I bought new bowls. And a pair of earrings, just because. No, that is not all, but it's getting embarrassing now.
I hate Walmart, but I spent more time there today than I had in a year, and came home with a ridiculous amount of food and other random stuff. Most of it I needed, I guess, although not the earrings, and I probably didn't need to have three kinds of soup all at the same time.
However, it all fits with the Week of Domesticity that I seem to be having. You see, normally I am not such a neat person. It's not a priority. Mail piles up on my coffee table, dishes go unwashed for a few days, and my clothes often just move between the suitcase and the hamper with occasional stops on the floor as I fling them around in search of what I want to wear.
This week I have cleaned my living room and bedroom, purged a bunch of crap that I haven't looked at in years but keep moving from place to place with me "just in case," reorganized the kitchen cupboards, and made mass quantities of soup - some of which I actually labeled and froze for later. Crazy. Oh, and I baked brownies. I cannot even tell you the last time I baked something, even from a mix, which these were. I don't really measure, which works much better with soup than with baked goods.
It occurred to me as I sat on my kitchen floor, surrounded in pots and pans and plastic food containers, that I might actually be losing my mind. This person with precise stacks of Rubbermaid is so not me.
Except that it kind of is, sometimes. This is what I do when I'm trying to clean out other areas of my life: I clean my house. This is what I do when I'm trying to pull back and take care of myself: I cook absurd amounts of my own personal comfort foods. Dusting and tossing out things I don't need helps me put my thoughts in order. Cooking big pots of soup makes me feel calm and prepared for what might be coming. I think that as I write this wacky novel, a lot of things are coming out of me, and I suspect this domestic streak is my weird way of processing it. I'm so glad soup freezes.