I’m a bad housekeeper but my hubby is worse, or at least he pretends to be.
He messes up any attempt to clean–a crafty but transparent plot to avoid housework. Supposedly he can’t remember how to sort lights from darks, or that you’re not supposed to wash plastic bags in the dishwasher.
He can’t ever find stuff, either. “You keep changing where things belong!” he complains, like it’s my fault we’ve lived here six years and he still doesn’t know where the ice cubes are.
Eh, I forgive him. At least he works hard at his day job. In fact, he’d been working so much overtime he hadn’t mowed the lawn for a month.
I knew we’d either lose the dog in the back yard or we’d get another nasty association letter informing us we’d lowered our neighbors’ property values again.
So I decided to help Hubby out. After all, I’d appreciate him helping me out sometime, maybe by picking up his dirty socks, or by hanging his clothes on hangers instead of doorknobs.
Inspired, I studied the manual of our Honda mower (an excellent example of “How To” in an easy reading format) and pulled the machine out of the garage.
It started right up. Holding the manual between my teeth, I proceeded to mow the lawn. It turns out mowing is actually a lot like vacuuming, only you have to empty out the bag more often.
I was making neat little vacuum tracks on the lawn when all at once our little cul-de-sac became the most heavily traveled pedestrian thoroughfare in the county.
Several passers-by felt the need to stop and tell me either a) they thought it was great I was doing what my very lucky spouse should be doing, or b) they thought it was rotten I had to do what my no-good, lazy spouse should be doing.
I realized, wow, this is what dads everywhere experience when they’re caught changing their kids’ diapers in public. The insight kept me humble, so I downplayed my marital contribution by telling everyone my scheme about the dirty socks.
Despite all the interruptions, I finished and put the mower away. Then I had to figure out how to work Hubby’s precious edger, a monster with more gearshifts, levers, and knobs than a front-end-loader.
It’s his pride and joy, the biggest edger in San Diego. He bought it in Texas, where Real Men use weed whackers for whacking weeds, not edging lawns.
But the edger manual wasn’t written by anyone who spoke an Earth tongue as a first language. So I gave up on it and instead hosed the lawn clippings off the driveway and down the street to my neighbor Rita’s house. She always appreciates that.
I didn’t tell Hubby–I knew he’d notice my noble gesture on his own. A week later he did notice something. During every sprinkler cycle a geyser the size of Old Faithful gushed in the middle of our lawn, sending gallons of water down the street to wash grass clippings out of Rita’s gutter (something else she’d appreciate).
“How long has that been going on?” Hubby asked, pointing at the fountain in our lawn.
“I don’t know. Usually I sleep through the sprinkler cycle.”
“A sprinkler head’s missing. Did… did somebody… mow the lawn?”
“Yeah,” I said proudly. “I did! No need to worry about it this week–I mean, last week.”
“You mowed off a sprinkler head!”
“Really? What was it doing in the middle of the lawn?”
His face showed a sudden alarm. “You didn’t touch my edger, did you?”
“No, I couldn’t figure it out, but if you showed me how…”
“Please,” he interrupted, “no need to touch the lawn again. Damn! Now I have to replace that sprinkler head.”
Jeez. The way he was going on about it, you’d think he had to chisel melted plastic bags off the bottom of a dishwasher.