Funny how early on in our married lives, we set the stage for what household chores we would be taking on. Either until death do us part, or one of the partners throws up their hands and heads for the divorce lawyer.
I am married to a man who was ahead of his time. He changed diapers, got up in the middle of the night with a screaming baby and kept me company while I nursed that bundle of aerobic noise back to sleep.
I mow the lawn more than he does. It plays to my tendency for order and neatness. In the house with eight stairsteps, there was not a shred of that, even though I tried. Legos everywhere. Puzzles dumped. Tea party water spilled all over the living room couch.
But the lawn. That was different. It took a good week for it to need doing again. I loved the pattern of zig-zagging whenever the spirit moved me, or doing the perimeter-to-the-middle pattern. Vertical, horizontal or diagonal. I loved the variety and I loved the endorphins coursing through me.
Loading the dishwasher. Now that is a point of contention. We have a good dishwasher. It is pretty forgiving re food remnants. But no, Wood Dickinson has to rinse every plate until there is not one speck of food on it, before strategically placing it on the bottom left side of the dishwasher. Me? From table to dishwasher. Bypassing the sink. Period. Loading? Haphazard. I throw the silverware in any old way. Wood has to have the part you eat with facing up. Who cares? Clearly I am not a domestic goddess. If the spoon, facing down, comes out dirty or stuck to the one next to it with food-glue, just throw it back in the dishwasher for another try!
At least I put stuff in the dishwasher. Sort of an unspoken rule when the kids lived at home was that if you opened the dishwasher and it had clean dishes in it, then you were the one who was supposed to empty it. Ha. Any, no all of my kids knew telepathically, when the dishwasher had clean dishes and no one would open it. They would find a paper plate to eat on, drink milk right out of the carton, forego meals. It was just ridiculous.
I am able to compartmentalize my compulsions. I don’t care what the garage looks like. We have leaves in there from 1974. I am not even tempted to sweep them up. Ditto the basement. It’s mostly Wood’s stuff. It’s a mess. I don’t care.
I am meticulous about the rest of the house. I almost had to be hospitalized when I realized that our youngest cleaned out her fish bowl with the kitchen sponge. She meant to throw it away. That meant that I had fish-gunk all over all of our countertops. Where is the Board of Health when you need them?
Taking the trash to the end of the driveway? Mostly me. And that is because I have chased the trash truck down the street, nightgown flapping in the wind, too many times.
Changing the oil in our cars? We each take care of our own. Frankly, I like sitting at Jiffy Lube seeing if just once I can get my oil changed for free if they don’t have it done in under thirty minutes. Hasn’t happened yet, but I like listening to them go through the checklist on my car. “Belts good, fluids good…..tires showing some wear……windshield wipers probably need to be replaced at your next visit…….”
It’s funny because there really isn’t any rhyme or reason to how this division of labor just sort of happened. It wasn’t any conversation that we ever had. But what both of us do, spoke to our strengths.
Although I must admit that when I do go to the basement, I sigh. Loudly).