Keeping the illusion intact | Living with Gleigh

I have been making progress catching up on my daughters’ personal scrapbooks, like baby albums, school albums, tot to teen albums. While I’m scrapbooking I usually have the television on to keep me company, but it has to be something in which I don’t have to invest much attention.

As I sort pictures to choose the right ones for a picture layout, I can’t focus on the television. So I’ll have on a program or movie I’ve seen before. We have Netflix, so I have a lot to choose from; my go-to things are usually old sitcoms, especially the ones my husband has never really cared for. I have a room dedicated for my crafting, so my husband isn’t put out by my choice of programming.

However, I do sometimes get lonely when I’m scrapbooking, especially when my family is away during the days. I have a neighborhood girlfriend who is willing to come over to sit and talk every so often while I scrapbook. A couple weeks ago we got in a conversation about the PBS program Downton Abbey. If you haven’t seen it, it’s an English drama set in the early 20th century. It focuses on several different classes of characters as their lives take place all in a castle, Downton Abbey.

I love this kind of drama with the period costumes and separation of the classes; the fact that they are all residing in the same castle is part of the attraction of the story. There is the lower level of the castle where all the servants work and reside and then the upper level where the family resides.

Everything is prim and proper and the Lords and Ladies of the manor are spoiled rotten by servants who feed and dress them. I am fascinated by a class of people whose only employment is to run the house and estate and who can’t even dress themselves. In addition, in a house full of women, only the Master does anything that could remotely be called “working.” I am equally amazed by a group of people willing to work in servitude to keep the family’s illusion of productivity alive.

I have been hooked on this show since its first season and now the 3rd season has just started. I have been watching the third season as it unfolds on PBS, but with the first two seasons on Netflix, Downton Abbey has been my recent go-to program while I’m scrapbooking.

Since my girlfriend had not watched it more than a couple times when she was visiting her parents, I told her to come over and I’d put it on for her while I worked. I think in order for us to remain friends, she should catch up.

When she walked in my front door she commented on how nice my house looked. Sure, my kids are teens, they don't spread toys all over the house anymore like her elementary kids do. Although my kids do have a propensity for throwing the couch pillows on the floor, but after I chastise them, the pillows remain intact for a few weeks.

I had just had the pillow talk with my daughters the previous afternoon so the living room was looking neat and tidy, then right before my friend came over, I had finished doing the dishes. I like to keep up on dishes during the week, because when my family is at work and school and I am home alone, the dishes remain "done" for several hours at a time. You all know how it is on weekends? A family can trash a kitchen before you can wash an apple.

So as I basked in the glow of my friend thinking my house was clean, I made the decision not to serve her any beverages. If I served her beverages she would eventually have to go to the bathroom. If she went to the bathroom, the illusion would be shattered.

Okay, this isn't Downton Abbey, but I would prefer to keep the illusion intact for as long as possible.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to writing about the humor amidst the chaos of a family. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website or “Like” Living with Gleigh on Facebook. Her column is available every week at under the Lifestyles section.

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