If you watched the Super Bowl with your husband and son, more grateful for the time with them than what was actually on the TV, then you did not get to indulge in a cup of tea and the one hour (God bless it!) of TV you let yourself watch each week precisely at 9 pm on Sunday nights.
If you didn’t get to watch your one hour of Downton Abbey because of said national TV sport holiday, you will take complete comfort in the little red light glowing on the cable box, indicating that your show is recording. A luminous beacon of delayed gratification.
You will keep your eye on the little red light, oddly giddy with the thought of watching the show tomorrow. You envision yourself being able to sit down in peace and quiet (in the middle of the day!) and watch Downton. Maybe even make a cup of tea. And put your feet up on the coffee table. Luxury. Indulgent.
If you think for even a nanosecond about turning on the TV the next day, you will immediately look up the words luxury and indulgent in the dictionary and find they are close in alphabetical order to guilty conscience. Who turns on the TV and sits down on the couch in the middle of the day?!!
If you cannot justify sitting down to watch your show, you will promptly think of 50 things on your to-do list that you could do mindlessly so you could multitask, be productive, and ahem, not feel guilty about catching up with your English friends.
When you think of the things you could do while not really watching your favorite show while not drinking a cup of tea and not sitting down on the couch, you will realize you could tackle the basket full of cloth napkins that were washed and (sort of) folded after the holidays and still need to be ironed. Which makes you wonder why you bother with cloth napkins in the first place. Does anyone else in this day and age still do this? The Dowager would be pleased to know that some still use cloth napkins (even if mostly on holidays) so you decide to break out the ironing board.
Setting up the ironing board will remind you of your great-grandmother, GG, who you miss terribly, even though you get to say her name out loud each day because her namesake is your oldest daughter. You will remember that she taught you how to iron when you were probably way to young to handle a hot appliance in your small hand. You will recall that you nearly burned a hole through one of your grandfather’s handkerchiefs while under her supervision because both of you got distracted by what was happening on The Guiding Light, which you most certainly were too young to handle. You will smile and think of the large, weighty prayer-book bound with several stretched rubber bands that she shared with you – sometimes after daily mass and sometimes after The Young and The Restless. Sometimes after both.
After you set up the ironing board you will head for the basket of ignored napkins. You will look at the disheveled assortment before you and wonder why you put off ironing for so long. GG would have had these taken care of after they came out of the dryer – the day after they were used. And she would not have missed a beat in her daily mass, soap opera, and prayer routine.
If you have procrastinated and did not heed your great-grandmother’s example and you have waited weeks to iron cotton items left in a basket, you will need to use lots of steam while pressing them. You will notice that the water level in the iron is low and not surprising, the gallon of distilled water to refill the near empty iron is, well, nearly empty itself.
So you will head to the store to pick some up. Your brain will fire on all cylinders for two seconds and you will remember to take your grocery list with you, all set to grab the few things that you need for dinner. Efficient.
If you stay on task at the store, you will find the distilled water, grab your few items, and make your way to the check out line. But first you will notice that apples are on sale and since GG is on your mind, you remember the homemade applesauce she used to make. You turn on your heels with blazing, focused determination and grab a bunch of apples. The world could come to an end, but you would be making homemade applesauce today.
You will return home, dump the bags on the kitchen counter, and realize you have no recipe for GG’s applesauce. Did she even use one? You will think of Ivy and Daisy working away in the Abbey kitchen while you search Pioneer Woman for a recipe you are confident she is sure to have. You will revel in your mad computer skills when you find it on the first try. Skah-ills.
Your determination or sentimentality or love of GG’s homemade applesauce will have you peeling and coring apples and making a mess in the kitchen. You will not really be doing what you had planned for the day. You will look at the clock and realize that the day is speedily passing by and soon it would be time to head to carpool and start the long evening routine of homework, dinner, practices, taxi service, etc. etc. etc. Extra emphasis on the etc. part.
Your day will slip away, leaving you in an urgent, mad dash to finish the applesauce, prep dinner, and head out the door to fetch children. You will realize that you will not be watching your show from the couch. Nor will you be watching while standing at the ironing board. You will embrace the notion of delayed gratification, yet again. Another sentiment the Dowager and company might appreciate. Well, maybe.
You will relish the idea of watching Downton (once again on the couch with a cup of tea and in PJs) after all children are in bed and all menial household tasks are completed. You will start to look forward to your night. You will look at the pot of simmering apples on the stove and decide the evening is looking up! You determine that it will be positively over the top if you can snuggle up with the remote and a little bowl of warm applesauce and a little scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt. Or full fat creamy ice cream. It will be hard to choose. Some decisions are taxing.
You will start counting down the hours until you can park it in front of the TV and you will buzz about the afternoon and evening, finishing all that needs to be done. You will dish out round two of food to constantly hungry children home from practices and realize, to your horror, that you just doled out the last of the applesauce. The very last spoonful. The children will delight in its goodness and you will delight in telling them about how you loved it when GG made it when you were a kid. You will tell them again how much you loved her. You will tell them for billionth time how much you love them. And you will tear up because that’s just what you do. You will promise to make it again (more for your sake than for theirs) as you send them to bed and tuck them in.
After they are all in bed, and all is quiet, you will find the remote and start your show. And because of genetics or ovaries or something, your sweet tooth will come calling as you start to sit down. You will remember that there is no coveted applesauce as you stare into the fridge. But then you will spy a lone chocolate pudding cup hiding behind they mayo which will remind you of your best friend Susan in far away Texas who is probably pining for the couch and a chocolate pudding cup of her own. And since you share a brain with her you decide the pudding cup will have to do.
And it does. Quite perfectly.