The not-so-happy housekeeper

  • Tuesday, October 9, 2012

There’s a new study out indicating that couples who split housework 50-50 are more likely to divorce.
Yay! That means Widdle and I will be married forever. Ha ha ha!
(Perhaps what it actually means is that couples who negotiate housework “contracts” down the middle are in a roommate mindset, and when one gets tired of one’s roommate, one finds another. But that could just be me.)
Back to housework at our abode.  I tend to walk around in a daze, blind to petty things like five-inch-high drifts of dog hair in the den.  Also, this old house is dustier than a mummy’s tomb, my husband is a hoarder and between work, running and Facebook, I hardly have time for my nightly bubble bath, let alone cleaning the oven!
Okay, that’s my super-lame list of excuses. The truth is I hate housework.
But another truth is, the house I had before Widdle and I wed was spotless. The gleaming white cabinets were spotless. The gleaming white tub, the vanities, the toilets, all spotless. The gleaming—well, you get the idea. One friend remarked that my kitchen was “almost surgically clean.”
Even though housework gives me hives (if only Widdle would buy that), I kept that joint spic ‘n’ span. There was never a dirty dish in the sink or dog-eared magazines on the sofa.  I cleaned the windowsills, scoured the tub and mopped the kitchen, laundry room and bathroom floors twice weekly.
I bought the house by myself and lived in it by myself. No pets. No roommates. No man.  It was brand-new and I kept it looking tight.
Then I got married and moved to a house with a stained iron tub, no dishwasher and a dirt driveway. And we adopted a dog that sheds like she wants to be bald. I’m doomed, I tell you, doomed.
I try, I really do. But it’s a losing battle. Our original agreement was for Widdle to take care of the outside, and me take care of the inside. But here’s the rub: We have a yard man, but not a maid. Does this not give a certain someone an unfair advantage?
Also, it’s hard to find places to store anything when most shelves, cabinets and drawers are stuffed with A) every T-shirt Widdle’s bought since his freshman year at Baptist College and B) matchbooks, flip-flops, ink pens, flip-flops, hand tools, flip-flops, rubber bands, flip flops, foreign currency, flip flops, old IDs, flip-flops, torn photos, flip-flops, shoe polish, flip-flops, dental floss, flip-flops, broken watches and did I mention flip flops?
In all honesty, I’m no bargain either. I tend to drop things everywhere: used hearing aid batteries, earrings, Craisins (my fave snack is Craisins + peanuts; I roam the house eating them from my fist), and gel toe sheaths (I wear them to run, then forget them when I strip off my socks; invariably one appears on the kitchen floor and Nicky the Wonder Dog thinks it’s a baby mouse.)
For us, housework is still evolving. We used to debate the topic vigorously, but now we just do what needs doing when we notice it. If the laundry piles up, I wash and fold it. Dirty dishes bug me, so I scrub them. Widdle tends to sweep and mop more. After seven years, we may be figuring this out.
Still, I didn’t appreciate the snarky note he wrote on the dusty dining room table yesterday. So I wrote a reply. It was very short.
Julie R. Smith, who loves Peg Bracken’s “The I Hate to Housekeep Book,” can be reached at widdleswife@aol.com.

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