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Saturday, January 12, 2013

"I first learned the concepts of non-violence in my marriage." ~Mahatma Gandhi

I hate folding laundry.

Actually, that's not really true. I don't mind folding it at all. But the genius who designed my house placed the washer and dryer in the basement bathroom which is a half-bathroom (tiny). What this means is that there is very little room in the bathroom for anything else and the dryer lint coats everything when the steam from the shower begins to fill the room (which, given the size of the room, takes about a nanosecond). It also means that I have to put the clean laundry on the bed in the adjacent bedroom or on a couch in my family room. This would not be a problem if I could plan when laundry was washed, but Darrin is a machine savant (meaning he has to run every machine possible whenever he is home) and puts random loads of laundry through the machines without consulting with me. Again, this would not be a problem if Darrin was also a fold-and-put-away savant--which he is not.

Consequently, there is a perpetual pile of laundry in my family room. Always. I am not a person who deals with piles in a positive way. I hate them. Darrin loves them.

I have a friend who believes couples have complimentary traits which bring them together. He also believes one part of a couple is usually prone to neatness, while the other is not. I disagree with this theory. Darrin is not messy. He just likes piles. I also blame traditional domestic roles in our society because, as much as he would protest that he's a modern man and does his share of the housework, this is a foolish imagining on his part.

There are certain things I have never seen Darrin do (and if I ask him to do these chores, he looks as if I've requested that he create his own planet and solar system and suddenly has a number of pressing tasks that must be done in the next hour):

1. Clean the toilet. I have no idea why this is so difficult for him. You put in the cleaner, scrub it around with a brush, wipe down the surfaces, and flush. And given that we all have good aim and the surfaces have nothing on them to cause squeamishness, I see no reason why this task bothers Darrin.

2. Dust. This one gets to me, as well, but not because I dislike doing it. Our current home has those lovely popcorn textured ceilings and they're old enough that they constantly shower down very fine particles. This means that fifteen minutes after dusting, it's time to do it again. That's frustrating. However, this is not Darrin's problem with dusting. When I ask for help with it, he looks uncomfortable and squirmy, then says, "I really don't know how to do that." This causes me to have a very slight seizure while I process what he's just said, and when I explain that there's nothing to it, you just have to take a cloth dampened with dust spray and wipe down the furniture, he then says, "I don't know what kind of cloth to use." The conversation, when we had been married fewer than five years, would then become lengthy. Now I just say, "You don't want to do it." And he says, "Yeah."

3. Mop. This is a chore I actually don't mind. You sweep the floor, fill a bucket (easily located in its special place) with hot, soapy water, and swish it around the floor with a mop (also easily found in its special place) giving special attention to any spots that might need it. When I explain this to Darrin, he looks very confused and says, "Where is the bucket, again?" By the time he has failed thrice, to find the mop (hanging on the hooks he, himself, put up for that tool), I understand that while Darrin might mop the floor that day, it's going to take him at least five hours to do so.

There are other chores (such as the aforementioned folding and putting away of laundry), but when I try to have a discussion about equal labor and how both of us work and how it's unfair of him to expect me to do the bulk of the housework, Darrin reminds me that when the toilet or sink is clogged, he is the one who goes digging for the culprit. He reminds me that he has done the past 1,000,000 oil changes and maintenance on our vehicles, he is the one who fixes the lawn mower (several times) every year, and that he tries to make certain that the snow is always shoveled from our walks in winter. He says he's the only one who trims the hedges (because I don't want them trimmed--I like them HUGE), and that he fixes whatever is broken in our house. And he reminds me that, while he might not volunteer for a few jobs, neither does he expect me to do them--which is true. He doesn't. But it is also true that his method of just leaving the jobs undone is not really acceptable.

Darrin says I just don't always understand how he thinks. I believe this is a catch-phrase for: I don't want to talk about this anymore and I have no plans to do things differently so may I go eat ice cream now?

I suppose there are worse things than having to do more housework than I wish, but this morning, as I sit looking at a mountain of unfolded laundry, and notice the cobwebs and accumulated dust on my shelves and electronic devices, I'm wondering how evil I would be to interrupt Darrin's sleep-in. And as I'm pondering that thought rather seriously, I'm also thinking that perhaps now would be a very good time to go to the gym. Darrin will thank me later. He's very gracious when I let him sleep.

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