Training To Become A 1960’s Housewife…

Laura Petrie style…

Currently I hold three jobs-Hostess, Caterer/Cook/Bartender, and Professional Cleaner.


As a hostess I greet you at the door with a huge smile on my face, ask you what you need, and do everything within my power to make sure that your desires are met (within reason-of course). I answer umpteen phone calls pleasantly, with a perfectly modulated phone voice-letting you know that I am excited to hear from you! I also book your reservation-date, time, notation of special requests and food allergies. At times I am also the gate-keeper, assessing your intentions prior to connecting you with the person you are seeking.

I am the “Jack of All” while I cater. Somedays I am helping to prepare the food, creating the menu, or washing dishes. Other days I am combed and coiffed, ready to serve-anything from surf and turf to the driest martini.

In the Professional Cleaning role I vacuum, dust, clean windows, tote garbage-leaving the sparkle of cleanliness in my wake.

As I was reflecting…

On my career choices, all bundled together, I could envision myself greeting my hubby at the door-feather duster in one hand, martini in the other, wearing an apron and a huge smile. My hair would be perfectly styled, make-up applied, my smile would be serene as I inquired about his day. Leading hubby to his favorite chair, I would listen intently as he filled me in on recent events-inserting appropriate “ums…” and “and what happened next…” into the conversation, as he slid his slippers-waiting next to his chair-onto his feet.

The pleasant aroma of our dinner would fill the house and the table would be set, awaiting the thoughtfully planned, nutritiously balanced and beautifully cooked evening meal.

My conversation would be witty, I would be charming, causing my hubby to realize what a lucky man he was.

I realized that I am in training to become a 1960’s housewife!

I believe that Laura Petrie

Is the perfect character to summarize my visions. She was always put together, calm, efficient, the reigning queen of a clean, well-put together home. Her husband adored her and so did her friends and neighbors. She was the consummate hostess.

Laura Petrie was also a bit ahead of her time. Full skirts and pearls were the common dress of female television characters at the time, but Petrie wore slim capri pants throughout much of the Dick Van Dyke Show series, insisting that it was unrealistic to assume women cooked and cleaned while dressed to the nines. Her skirts may not have whirled around her legs as she swept and dusted, but her ensembles were always the epitome of style.

She was graceful, a dancer in a prior life, never falling or tripping or cutting off the end of her finger as she prepared dinner.

Looking at the real picture…

Hubby arrives home, and I am not at the front door. There is no serene smile, no martini and I have no idea where his slippers are. Usually he has to come looking for me and I can often be found elbow deep in dishwater, hidden away on my computer, under the covers for a quick nap, or soaking in the tub. En route to finding me he trips over shoes, bookbags, dog toys and dust bunnies-risking life and limb to get from one end of the house to the other.

Most often, I am attired in hugely oversized sweats-multiple layers-that are mismatched-slippers on my feet. There is not a trace of make-up on my face and my hair has surrendered its style.

And I kinda stink as a gate keeper at home, sending the kids to “ask your dad” or volunteering him to help the neighbors move without confirming his schedule first.

He is lucky to get in a word before I begin to ramble on about my day…running late, crazy clients, tripping, falling, and other mishaps. And if dinner is served before 8pm it is a miracle. And it is never eaten at the dining room table because it is usually covered in clutter. There is no witty dinner repartee, as we are parked on the couch watching television-attempting to connect during the commercials.

Sometimes he greets me, with a puzzled look on his face asking me if I am ready. Ready for what? “Remember I emailed you last week about…a meeting at the school, dinner at a friends, appointment, surprise party…that we are supposed to be leaving for in 5 minutes????” Oh, the event(s) that I forgot to put down on my calender!!!

Noting dietary concerns, likes, dislikes??? I just found out, after 15 years of marriage, my hubby dislikes pumpkin. Of course I served him pumpkin lasagna for dinner…and I wondered why he only took a small helping…and was later found hiding in the pantry eating peanut butter and jelly.

Serene? Calm? Ha! My hubby is the proud owner of a wife who has a stress induced disease, and knows doctors and nurses across the state on a first name basis. The wife that at times can make a mountain out of a mole hill…at times the mole hill only existed in my imagination!

Graceful? Dancer in a past life?

I have broken my ankle, cut off ends of fingers-more times than I can count, tripped, fallen off ladders or down the stairs, given myself black eyes taking out the garbage and dislocated my hip while dancing a mean rendition of “Brick House” this past Halloween.

So…alas…I may be in training to be a 1960’s housewife…

Although I may resemble Laura Petrie in my professional life, I fear that in my personal life I have much more in common with Lucille Ball, from the “I Love Lucy Show”!

Just waiting for the day when hubby says…

“Nikki, you got some ‘splainin to do!”

Before he gets home I best thaw out dinner and wrangle a few dust bunnies!



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