my second novel, The Girl, the Gold Tooth
& Everything. As one of my main character Mina’s only friends, harried
Harriet helps ground Mina in her life–in fun and irreverent ways! The character
herself is a cocktail / composite of all the frazzled mothers I have known,
myself included. In this “Anything Goes” post, I imagined someone had asked
Harriet to write a home-making column, sharing some of her best tips for
domestic bliss. Please leave me comment sharing one of your most incredible
household hints, helpful or horrid. I’d love to hear them. Enjoy!
is the new black.
it’s much more important to over-parent your kids. To get down on that filthy
floor and play with them rather than clean it. Of course there does get to be a
point when cleaning is necessary. In that case…
clean your house in full.
do, most of the time. Just let the neighbors’ kids leave their shoes on when
they come over so you don’t have to explain to their parents why their
once-white socks are as black as your soul. (If you don’t care about their
stupid parents and what they think, by all means have those kids run around in
their socks and pick up some of the dirt and grime while they’re at it. Mop,
schmop. Am I right?!)
must scrub, don’t wimp out on the chemicals.
As well-meaning as vinegar and baking soda are, they’re just not going to cut
it on a toilet bowl ring that’s had months to set in. No. You’re going to have
to go with the strongest cleaning chemicals you can legally buy. If they burn
your skin and your throat when you breathe them in, you’re doing it right.
want your husband to help you clean, clean naked.
you want him to as long as you ask him when you’re naked. Also, cleaning naked
means no bleach stains or other crap on your clothes, which is kind of a plus
because god knows, if you’re hanging around your house with your kids all day,
your clothes are crappy enough as they are.
Grape juice. What else do you need to know?
“all-socks” loads of laundry.
have to be honest with you, it’s just plain lazy. The whole thing about where
do the socks disappear to… It’s no great mystery, folks. They get tangled up
in your other clothes. Speaking of socks, instead of going through the torture
of sorting and balling them up, when they come out of the dryer just pile them
into a giant tub you set in the hallway and let everyone fend for themselves.
It’s great fun! Especially in the morning.
article of clothing unstained since I got married. If I went to task to remove
all the stains in my clothes, there would be no time for drinking. So what’s my
solution? I don’t bother–and neither should you. Look, any mother who walks
around in fresh, crisp, immaculate clothing is just doing a disservice to every
other mother out there. If there’s a stain on your shirt, wear a dramatic scarf
or necklace to divert attention. (Unless the stain is by your neck. Then I
guess you’re probably screwed.)
see… Let’s see. Oh yeah. Sewing!
excellent vacuum cleaners.
in to a dog right now. As if he’s the one who’s going to take care of it! A dog
is a great investment–and cheap if you’re smart about it. If you have enough
kids under the age of eight in your house, throwing and dropping food all over
the place, you won’t even need to buy dog food. Think about it.
even number of kids.
honestly. When you have an odd number, someone’s always left out, and you can
bet that little bugger’s going to be up your butt looking for a bud. Give the
kid a bud. (Then go grab yourself a Bud or a bottle of gin or whatever’s going
to get you through having all those kids.)
dinners that seem like more effort than they are.
practically no involvement on your part, and also make the people who live with
you think they’re getting something special while you’re at it. (Be careful of
cooking too well, however. You don’t want them to expect it.) Here’s a recipe:
you could say “bolognese” if you’re feeling fancy, but that seems like a lot of
trouble to me. And I’m sure more goes into bolognese, but I don’t really care.)
this “country-style” but let’s be honest
that it’s “lazy-style”, okay?)
that’s between you and your spouse)
and soft and hot, splash in wine, then pour in the tomatoes. Season with salt
and pepper. Simmer.
you made the pasta fresh by hand, you’re not doing this right.)
health. But who cares. It’s better this way.)
sauce? You bet you did, you clever thing! Now pat yourself on the back, pour
yourself a drink, and go catch up on The
Real Housewives of Whatever.
note: Dry vermouth is very cheap and not that tasty. And if you, like me,
prefer to save every last drop of your wine for drinking, I say buy a giant
bottle of dry vermouth, keep it for cooking, and be done with it. (If you do
ever run out of wine or vodka, you can probably tolerate some vermouth over ice.
I’ve suffered it. I didn’t die. Drop a couple of olives in there and it will
almost kill the taste. And remember, it’s cheap! So why not?)
Barns & Noble
Mina Clark is losing her mind-or maybe it’s already gone. She isn’t quite sure. Feeling displaced in her over-priced McMansion-dotted suburban world, she is grappling not only with deep debt, a mostly absent husband, and her playground-terrorizer 3-year-old Emma, but also with a significant amnesia she can’t shake-a “temporary” condition now going on several years, brought on by a traumatic event she cannot remember, and which everyone around her feels is best forgotten.
When a trip to the dentist leaves Mina with a new gold crown, her whole life changes. Slowly her memory and her mojo return. But when everything begins to crash down around her, she’s not sure if what’s happening is real, of if she’s just now fully losing her mind… especially when she realizes the only person she can trust is the one she fears the most. What’s it all going to cost her in the end?
Francine LaSala has written nonfiction on every topic imaginable, from circus freaks to sex, and edited bestselling authors of all genres (fiction and nonfiction) through her company, Francine LaSala Productions. The author of novels Rita Hayworth’s Shoes and The Girl, The Gold Tooth & Everything, and four feature-length screenplays, she lives with her husband and two daughters in New York. Contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org.