Sunday, August 10, 2008

Housekeeping

My husband is adorable. He is unbelievably good to me and I am not just saying this to sound humble: I don't deserve him. Ask my family. I still can't believe I "lucked" into such a happy marriage.

Having said that, Jeesh, husbands are so funny sometimes! And not funny as in, "ha ha." Funny as in, "Whattheheck?"

Here is what I don't get. Why can't husbands find anything? Is it just mine? Here are a few of the conversations Penn and I have shared, this week alone.

P: Honey, where are the CAR KEYS? (kind of annoyed-like, as if I've misplaced them)
K: Um, aren't they hanging on the KEY RACK?
P: Oh, yes, HERE they are! (like a big mystery has been solved)

P: Honey, do you know where Nicknack's sunscreen might be?
K: Yes, I know exactly where it is. It's in the third drawer of the secretary desk.
P: Oh, it is?
K: Yes, remember how I told you I was finding a home for the sunscreen because I was sick of looking for it all the time? And how I mentioned I would be putting all the sunscreens there? You nodded and said, "Uh huh, the secretary desk, third drawer, got it."
P: Oh yeah, now I remember. Uuuummm.... What is a secretary desk?
K: It's that big desky drawer thing in the Foyer. (to be fair to Penn we've only had it for a few months.)
P: Oh, okay. (a few seconds of rummaging) Honey, it's not in here!
K: It's definitely there, in the THIRD DRAWER! Did you look in the THIRD DRAWER?
P: Okay, I'll check again... (in a tone that clearly implies the attempt will be futile) ... (prolonged rummaging) Honey, it's not in the THIRD DRAWER!
K: (trying not to stomp over to said secretary desk, opening the third drawer, pointing to the label in the drawer that says "Sunscreen," pointing to the plastic container by the label in the drawer that is also labeled "Sunscreen."
P: Oh, I didn't know it was in a CONTAINER.

I seriously don't know why I bother to label things. I guess I need to invest in brighter label colors or use a much larger font size.

I would need a huge label, the size of a stop sign by our dishwasher. It would read: "Please load all dishes into the dishwasher. Not to be bossy, but kind of NOW, please. As opposed to later." Leonard is so, so helpful around the house. So I try not to nitpick about his one big flaw. He never, ever, ever loads his dishes into the dishwasher as he is finished with them. He leaves them on the counter or in the sink or on the end table or nightstand. Then later, once they've started to accumulate (assuming I haven't picked them up and put them into the dishwasher in the meantime) he loads them in.

And the same goes with recycling and garbage. Why not just empty that soda can and put it straight into the recycling bin or take the extra two seconds now, instead of later, to toss that paper towel in the garbage? I don't understand.

I'm guilty of this sometimes, too. When I'm feeling lazy or I'm super busy. But with Penn, it's just the way he always does things.

It's making a one-step process into a two-step process. Also, you have to look at those dishes, etc. for however long, when you could hide them away. And when one of us loads the dishwasher we almost always have to fish a fork out of the disposal, or scrape some goopy half-dried oatmeal off the cereal bowl.

My mother says my Dad is exactly the same, and he is in all other respects, a neat freak.

My in-laws have a similar housekeeping difference of opinion. Penn's Dad feels the dishes should be done right after dinner so that they can relax for the rest of the evening and wake up to a clean kitchen each morning. Penn's Mom says, "Who cares if dirty dishes sit in the sink all night when no one is awake to see them?" She'd rather tackle them in the morning, when she has more energy.

So Penn's Dad does all the family's dinner dishes. My MIL cooks, so it's now a pretty square deal. But growing up, both of Penn's parents worked and his Dad actually got home first and therefore did the cooking and the clean up. I guess it was worth it for him to just do them himself, rather than live with those dishes on the counter.

So that's kind of where I am about all this housekeeping minutia. I load a dish or two in the dishwasher almost everytime I walk through the kitchen to try to avoid the dreaded big-kitchen-clean-up that seems to be required whenever you let a kitchen sit unattended to for half a day. And I organize the keys and chapstick and spare change and receipts and pens that Penn dumps from his coat pockets each evening. The pile of whatever doesn't bother him. It does me. And I label everything that will sit still long enough. It gives me peace of mind to know that, for example, our maps have a home and I know where it is. And if only Penn would read the drawer label, he, too, could find a map someday when he needs one.

Of course, I'm selectively neat. Remember how Monica, from Friends, was so insanely organized? She even had a "ribbon drawer." Yet there was that secret, locked closet that no one could open. When Chandler finally picked the lock a huge pile of clutter fell out - Monica's secret shame. I have an entire room like that - our Study. It's 50% perfectly organized and labeled and 50% big jumbled mess. My mother even came for a day to help me organize it. She was so disappointed when she came back a month later and it looked bad again. I've gone in three or four afternoons to finish the room, only to be sidetracked by small projects. I just feel overwhelmed.

I have a timeline to attend to it, because of the room shuffle we'll be doing before the baby arrives in November. Nursery changes ownership from Nicknack to baby. Guest Room becomes Nicknack's Big Boy Room. Study becomes combination Guest Room/Office.

I also may need to invite houseguests for additional motivation. That always does the trick.

Being married is an interesting, challenging, and mostly fun balancing act. It's pretty amazing how two seperate people with different upbringings, habits, philosophies, tastes, priorities, interests, etc. can become so one-minded. Before marrying Penn I worried that we would ever be compatible enough to live together happily. Now I feel like we are the most compatible couple I know.

Except for my occasional quibbling about household details and our every-few-year argument (which is notable, as we rarely fight) about whether or not we could please give away that wretched, gigantic, utterly useless, unattractive, space-wasting, and ridiculously heavy-weight comforter he moved from Connecticut with in 2001 which he refuses to part with. Ugh.

8 comments:

Janelle said...

Oh, this was so funny. And so true! Great to have a post from you. Hope you are feeling good!

Ashley said...

Thanks so much for visiting my blog and commenting! You are so nice!!!

Kim said...

I have a friend who always tells her husband, "Everything is not in front or on top"

I like using that one ;)

It's good to hear from you again :) Hope your pregnancy is going well. Time has passed so quickly!

Blessings!

Jules said...

Ha! You wouldn't believe how "kindred spirirt" we are. Are husbands are simuliar...we don't have a dishwahser, but I have a neat way of stacking them in the sink so they look half way descent while yet being dirty. No, he'll stick them on the sink, unrinsed so the crud is hard to get off later, or he'll leave them on the table. When it comes to laundry he'll put his things away, but leave mine laying on the bed or hanging in the wash room. He's already right there with his stuff, why leave the rest for me to put away when you're already right there beside it? We share a dresser and a closet. (I don't seem to have this same problem). I love my husband and he is a dear. He does help out from time to time, but yes, why make a one step into a two step? Makes no sense to me. And our office/study sounds very much the same. 1/2 neatly organized and 1/2 a cluttery mess. I put something away each time I'm in there and each time I go back in I think "how did it get like this?" :o) I feel your housekeeping "frustrations". *smiles*

The Small Scribbler said...

Oh, the finding gene. Stuart doesn't even bother to look anymore because he knows what he's looking for is right in front of him. He just calls me and in a second or two, I will have located what he's looking for. It's always at his eye level or right out in the open.

November. That's not too far away. I'm excited for you guys.

Kate

annalee said...

so funny! that is definitely one way i am reminded on a daily basis that men and women are "wired" differently!

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

We're about to do some of that room shuffling ourselves...and oh man, our study will need a dumpster!

Shannon said...

That is so funny and SOOOO true!