Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Life's Little Ironies

One definition of irony is "a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result." This is illustrated by two things that have happened in my life in recent years.

Irony #1: The Iron is Mightier than Chemo Brain

Hubby has always liked to look "well-pressed" and since I can do a better job of ironing than he can, it became my job when we first married 36 years ago. But not all irons and ironing boards are created equal, and the frustration of using cheap equipment, scorching pricey dress shirts, and badly burning my arm in a clumsy ironing accident combined to increase my hate for this odious chore.

But when I underwent chemo nearly 10 years ago, the poisons made my brain so foggy I couldn't read or watch a movie or even THINK. Low blood counts drained what little of my energy the nausea didn't steal. Ironing Hubby's clothes while sitting on a stool was the only activity I could always do, which helped me feel like I was accomplishing something, even on the days I felt utterly worthless, pretty much like a burnt piece of toast.

Since then I no longer dread ironing, even if it's a week's worth of clothes; it's a good excuse to listen to music or a chick flick while taming an unruly pile of wrinkled shirts and slacks. (It also helps that Hubby researched irons and found a GOOD one!)

Irony #2: How do I love thee? Let me make some pancakes.

When I was in 8th grade my mother went to work full-time, leaving a weekly chore list for my younger sisters and me. I almost always traded "cooking" for cleaning or laundry because I (1) wasn't very good at cooking, and (2) didn't like it anyway. There was always something more important to do, like practicing my flute or writing stories or drawing pictures or sewing or crafts.

When we first married I tried to impress Hubby with my culinary "skills" but I had so many disasters I soon gave up trying new recipes and just stuck with what I could easily make. This mindless rut preserved my creativity for more satisfying outlets. Cooking was a "waste" of valuable creative time.

Since Hubby and I have been living with his 86 year old father, I've cooked 3 and sometimes 4 meals a day (Hubby and I eat about 6:30 a.m. and Pop doesn't wake up until 8:30 or 9:00). At first I resented having to cook all the time, especially when it was not even in my own kitchen. But something happened. I saw how Pop responded to eating regular meals of healthy, home-cooked food, and I realized that cooking was an expression of love, not just a necessary evil.

Most, if not all, of life's "big" lessons can be learned from the smallest things. Ironic, isn't it?


  1. My favorite example of irony is when someone uses it correctly in a sentence.