docsbag 002 I got the grocery shopping done before church, and then the guys helped me clean the house, and even to wash the dog. I sat down in the reading corner with my knitting and read The Last Summer (of You and Me), a book loaned to me by The Poster Queen, which I enjoyed greatly. It reminded me of my own youth, walking down to the beach whenever we felt like it. Time was so completely unimportant in those summers.

My own children got to walk to parks, fields, and woods, but the beach was the location of my own summers of childish freedom, so that is what is more evocative for me.

The book is a love story, a coming-of-age story, a lovely book, but the ocean was a major character in my reading of it, and I found it very relaxing.

Having the house clean and tidy was a big part of it, too. I am not a meticulous housekeeper, and I don’t know many of those, either. At least not in my generation or my daughter’s. In fact, a nurse of my acquaintance may have expressed the current majority view when she said, “Honey, there’s medication for that.”

But having an orderly space before your eyes is more restful, I think, than disorder. Being able to put your hands docsbag 004 on your tools right away and set things in a handy place while working is more pleasant than pushing things out of the way to set something down or rummaging around for what you need. Accordingly, I felt entirely unstressed by the time dinner needed to be prepared, and quite enjoyed cooking up something good for the family.

This is tilapia with a brown butter and triple citrus sauce, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans amandine, and watermelon.

If you have a wearing day — or week or month — at work, but can come home to an orderly house and a proper meal, it probably would not feel so bad.

A butler, that’s what we all need.

docsbag 003 The cat agrees, I can tell.

Anyway, I took the advice of Peg Bracken and timed some things. She says that if you realize that it only takes five minutes to make your bed, it won’t seem like such a big deal to do it.

So I discovered that it takes less than five minutes to get properly ready for bed, with dental floss and alpha hydroxy cream and hanging up your clothes and everything. And it takes less than ten minutes to get dressed like a grownup in the morning, with shoes and make up and stuff.

There is therefore no need for me to race to the computer in the morning in my pajamas and work like a fiend until time to go, then race out the door looking like a bag lady or a superannuated pre-teen. I’m writing this down to remind myself of that fact.

It does, however, take nigh on to an hour to cook a meal like the one in the picture. Some things require time, and time is a bit of a luxury these days.