#177 In which our hero discusses the division of labor that keeps his household running like a well-rusted machine.
But first… I’m over the sewer line thing. It’s very expensive, and we certainly don’t have the cash on hand to pay for it, but we’ll deal. Beating at my breast and lamenting to the heavens isn’t going to change anything. But I will provide you photos, Internet, because I know you enjoy a good schadenfreude as much as I do.
Like any married couple, The Scientist and I do different things around the house. We never sat down and said, “Okay, I’ll do the dishes if you’re mow the lawn…” or anything like that; we just sorta fell into our roles. And these are roles that we are both mostly comfortable with.
- I do the cooking. Not because my wife is a bad cook, but because she doesn’t enjoy cooking, and I do.
- I do the grocery shopping. This is an offshoot of doing the cooking… but I actually enjoy grocery shopping, too. I’d go every day if it was practical. Matter of fact, I am terribly jealous of anyone who has a relationship with their butcher. Or green grocer. Or fishmonger! Holy crap, how much would I enjoy it if I could say, “This is Joseph, my fishmonger” ? But no. I do weekly shopping at the big grocery center (Giant Eagle, in my case) like most people.
- I do the yard work. I don’t mind mowing the lawn, even though I don’t do it nearly enough for The Scientist’s liking. See, our city is really hard-nosed about things like bringing in your trash cans or keeping your grass mowed. If the grass gets too high, the city comes around and pounds a bright orange neon notice in your yard, giving you something like four days to mow before they come out and do it for you at a exuberant price. But, the grass really has to be out of control. But, whenever I go more than a week without cutting it, The Scientist is all over me, saying, “we’re going to get fined!” Which we never have. Something I’ve brought up time and time again, hoping that, y’know, maybe you could just chill a little about the grass, huh?
- I also do the raking. This is something I definitely do not enjoy, but at some point all of my wife’s vertebra were replaced with balsa wood, so if she rakes for more than 10 minutes her back hurts her for days afterwards. So I do the raking and any other heavy-lifting sort of task.
- The Scientist does the laundry. She claims that she enjoys it. “I like the way clothes smell right out of the dryer,” she tells me. I’m not keen on laundry, so I’m glad she likes it. I still have to hump the full baskets upstairs, though.
- The Scientist does the bills… this is a big one. I used to do the bills, but at some unspoken moment she took over. It may be that she’s just better and more conscientious with numbers or it may be that I bounced a few checks… either way, she’s the moneyman now, and our finances run smoothly -- not that we have an overabundance of money, but she very neatly indicates in the checkbook when we are overdrawn.
- The Scientist also has/had most tiny baby duties. Since both girls were breastfed, I was the odd man out for this task. Which is fine by me, I never complained about rolling over and going back to sleep when the baby started to scream in the middle of the night. These duties are greatly reduced now, of course. But she still gets up most times to deal with Macey (even though I generally check on Lily on the few occasions when she’s up in the middle of the night).
Er, about cleaning. We “share” this duty in that we both ignore it for as long as possible. The Scientist always gets fed up with things faster than I do, and ends up cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming when I could still live with it for a couple months. She’s also a bit neurotic in that she HAS to clean before people come over. I mean, I’m all about cleaning before a party or holiday, but The Scientist had to clean up before THE PLUMBERS came over yesterday. Honey, the plumbers? They were there to examine the backed up sewage in our basement, I don’t think they’d tut-tut at you if the boxes in the basement weren’t organized just so. But, her neurosis gets the house cleaned much more often than I would on my own, so it’s good, I guess.
Finally, there’s an odd list of things that we, individually, don’t like to do.
- I don’t like to put the Tupperware away. I have a legitimate reason for this: it’s a pain in the ass. We have a mismatched selection of containers and lids, and it’s a challenge to jam them all into the two drawers we have set aside to be the home of plastic containers. They have to be nested and stacked just so, or you can’t get everything in there, and frankly, I don’t have the time or patience for that shit. So The Scientist puts away the Tupperware.
- The Scientist don’t like to call and order pizza. She insists that I do it. This confuses me to no end; I just don’t get it. You tell the guy what you want, he tells you the price than brings it to the door. What’s the issue?
- She won’t fill up the ice cube trays. She has been extremely adamant about this in the past. Again, I see no reasonable explanation for this. She wants to sabotage our current refrigerator so that we can buy a new one under our home warranty -- one with an automatic ice cube maker in the door.
- I don’t like to put my clothes away. It just seems like wasted effort… there they are, neatly folded in the basket, conveniently within reach. Why shove them into drawers, when it’s easier to just pull them out of the basket? She hates it that I don’t put my clothes away, yet refuses to do it for me; and I don’t give a shit. Clearly we’re at an impasse.