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Authors: Jen Lancaster

Tags: #Biographies & Memoirs, #Memoirs, #Nonfiction, #Women's Studies, #Biography & Autobiography, #Humor

The Tao of Martha

BOOK: The Tao of Martha
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The Tao of Martha

 

My Year of LIVING, or Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog

 

 

JEN LANCASTER

 

 

 

 

NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY

COPYRIGHT

Copyright © Altgeld Shrugged, Inc., 2013

All rights reserved.

 New American Library

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

New York, New York 10014, USA

USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

For more information about the Penguin Group visit penguin.com.

First published by New American Library,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First Printing, June 2013

 

REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:

Lancaster, Jen, 1967–

The tao of Martha: my year of LIVING; or why I’m never, ever getting all that glitter off of the dog/Jen Lancaster.

p. cm

ISBN: 978-1-101-60595-0

1. Lancaster, Jen, 1967–   2. Authors, American—21st century—Biography. 3. Stewart, Martha—Influence. 4. United States—Social life and customs—21st century—Humor. I. Title.

PS3612.A54748Z46 2013

814’.6—dc32

[B] 2013002071

Designed by Spring Hoteling

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers, Internet addresses, and other contact information at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

For friends, old and new,
and for the divine Miss M (she knows why)

Contents

P
ROLOGUE
1.
R
ESOLVED
2.
G
ET
I
T
T
OGETHER
A
LREADY
3.
L
ET
U
S
N
EVER
S
PEAK OF
T
HIS
A
GAIN
4.
T
HE
T
AO OF
S
TEAK
K
NIVES
5.
T
HANK
Y
OU,
E
ASTER
B
UNNY,
B
AWK
B
AWK!
6.
T
HE
N
EW
G
IRL
(s)
7.
M
Y
C
AT FROM
H
ELL
8.
M
UCH
A
DO
A
BOUT
D
IRT
9.
I N
EVER
P
ROMISED
Y
OU A
R
OSE
G
ARDEN
10.
Z
UCCHINI
R
ICH
11.
I N
EVER
P
ROMISED
Y
OU AN
O
RGANIC
G
ARDEN,
E
ITHER
12.
B
ABY,
Y
OU’RE A
F
IREWORK
13.
P
UT A
B
IRD ON
I
T
14.
T
HE
A
MBIEN
D
IARIES
15.
B
ANANA
G
RABBER
16.
M
Y
K
INGDOM FOR A
C
ROCK-POT
17.
E
VERY
D
AY
I
S
H
ALLOWEEN
18.
T
RICK OR
T
REAT!
19.
L
IVING,
Z
OMBIE
S
TYLE
20.
G
OBBLE,
G
OBBLE
21.
N
OT
S
EMIHOMEMADE
22.
I’
M
A
WARE
N
OW,
D
AMN IT
23.
A
ND
T
HEN
W
E
C
AME TO THE
E
ND
A
CKNOWLEDGMENTS
Life is too complicated not to be orderly.
—Martha Stewart,
Harper’s Bazaar
Martha, you’re making us all look bad.
—Every Other Woman in America

“Y
ou think Martha Stewart shoves her clutter in a gun cabinet?”

I clamp my lips together, saying nothing in response as my husband, Fletch, points to the pile we just unearthed. He’s not smug; rather he’s amused, but the difference doesn’t much matter.

Despite his having finished his army tour of duty seventeen years ago, Fletch’s bearing is still distinctly military. He’s practically standing at attention, sporting his fresh short haircut, shiny shoes, heavily starched gingham oxford, and flat-front khakis. I squirm under my meatball-stained workout shirt and yoga pants, with bonus unwashed ponytail.

I’m loath to admit that he’s right—I’m sure Martha would have never stuffed her countertop untidiness into the bottom of the kitchen gun cabinet in the first place.

Martha probably doesn’t even
have
a kitchen gun cabinet.

Then again, I can’t imagine anyone who lives on the grid opting for a kitchen gun cabinet.

The only reason we currently possess this handy fridge-adjacent firearm storage is that it came with the place. The previous owner was a retired naval officer and huge military history buff, so the house once showcased many of his treasures. (We’re presently hanging our Christmas stockings on the fireplace hooks that used to hold a cavalry saber.)
He erected a set of glass-front locked gun cabinets. Why he felt the breakfast nook was the best place to display his Enfield musketoons, I can’t say.

Maybe he was a Civil War reenactor?

Maybe he was paranoid?

Or maybe he simply enjoyed gazing at his artfully lit and secured vintage weapons stockade over eggs Benedict?

Personally, we moved from our sketchy Chicago neighborhood to the northern burbs specifically so we
didn’t
have to eat breakfast fully armed, but who am I to judge?

Plus, the old owner installed a new cedar shake roof and a dual-zone HVAC system, so in no way is the gun cabinet indicative of other instances of poor judgment. Rather, it’s just a tiny anomaly and gives the place a bit of character. At some point, I’m going to convert it to a china cabinet, so it’s totally fine.

Of course, I’ve been saying that for more than a year now.

I tell Fletch, “The good news is that I found my recipe.”

Seriously? I’ve been tearing the house apart for three days looking for this one cookbook that contains the best Bolognese sauce recipe on the planet. The reason I couldn’t just buy another copy or find a duplicate online is that all my notes are handwritten in the margin. Although the recipe itself is stellar, the tweaks I’ve figured out along the way are what make it legendary. (The mortadella must have pistachios, okay?
Must.
) We’re throwing a post-Christmas, pre–New Year’s dinner party on Thursday, and without this recipe, I may as well open a can of SpaghettiOs and call it done.

Fletch gingerly picks through the other items I’ve unearthed in the cabinet. He waves a handbag at me. “You felt the gun cabinet was the best place to stash this purse?”

I can’t help but admire the gorgeous pea-green leather with contrasting chocolate trim. “Show a little respect. That’s a Chloe bag. Got
it for seventy-five percent off at Nordstrom. You know how hard it is to snag a deal like that? Please. You’d have an easier time finding a unicorn or a professional athlete who hasn’t banged a Kardashian. Point is, I’ve been meaning to have it reconditioned, so I brought it downstairs.”

“When? Six months ago?”

I nod and he sighs, moving on to the next item in the pile. He reads a slip of paper. “And your prescription for blood pressure medication?”

I press my hand to my heart. “Huh. That would explain my racing pulse.”

He peers down at a couple of orange packets. “What do we have here? Let’s see, not one but
two
overdue parking tickets. How old are these? We haven’t lived on Altgeld for three years!”

I shrug. “I was busy.”

He frowns as he examines a rather important-looking letter from our accountants. “Help me understand why you wouldn’t want to, say, store these items in the proper place. Walk me through the process where you said, ‘Yes, the gun cabinet is the perfect repository for every random bit of crap to ever pass through our kitchen.’”

In my defense, it’s not like Fletch married me for my organizational skills. Hell, when we got together in college almost two decades ago, I didn’t even have a dresser, so all my stuff lived in piles along the walls, kind of like a nest. Sure, the chaos and disorder made him twitchy, but let’s be honest: I was a lot cute (and a little easy) back then. It’s not like I roped him in by pretending to be tidy at first. He knew what he was getting into the first time he ever tripped over a tower of my shoes.

What’s important to note is that over the years, I’ve upped my household game considerably. Seriously, if Martha Stewart herself were to step inside my home right now, she’d give my empty counters and the pristine baseboards two thumbs up. Maybe I haven’t quite managed to shower yet today, but it’s because I’ve been busy cleaning. Due to my efforts, the hardwood’s shiny, the windows sparkle, and the granite
glows. Plus, Martha would never find a mess in my sink, because I can’t sleep in a house where the dishes are dirty, even if it means scrubbing lipstick off of champagne glasses at three thirty a.m. while half in the bag.

BOOK: The Tao of Martha
9.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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