Monday, February 22, 2010

Reclaiming my kitchen

"Our kitchen," Josh would say.

This is what we say, don't we? We married women. As in, "Get your shoes off my couch," and, "She had the nerve to come into my house and treat me that way!" We know that these are shared things, but saying "our" in certain situations takes the power out of the statements.

So, you may have been doing the math. I was gone for THREE weeks, with Sam, to California. That's a long time to leave a man alone ... with a cat ... in my house. So what was it like? No, no, not the trip. What was the house like? You know you want to know. What state of disrepair, what kind of chaos did I encounter? What did the kitchen look like?

First, there were NO eggs. Who doesn't have at least one egg in the house? Sure, there was one carton of egg whites - that I bought before I left so that Josh had a supply - but no real eggs. Second, NO milk. Oh, I exaggerate. There was about 1/4 cup of skim milk. Uhhhhh, Sam is 19 months and drinks full-fat ... daily. Maybe you would want to have some on hand since we got home in the afternoon and he would presumably go right down for a nap after having some milk? No? Third, there was a lot of laundry. A lot. Like three weeks' worth. That I am doing today.

Fourth, and maybe the best, was that the garbage was really full. I mean, oddly full, since only one person was here. NO! He didn't! I hear you, dear friends. But he did! He forgot to take it out to the curb on garbage day! In his defense, there were three garbage days and I think he only neglected the can on one of those days. I think.... That was a lot of garbage, though ....

The good news: We have a new fan in the bathroom - one that works and doesn't sound like a lawnmower. AND, the furniture in the rumpus room is arranged in a new way that works much better than the old way. AND, the house is generally clean. He even did a load of kitchen towels that were folded and waiting to be put away. (Because I know where they go.)

I can forgive the trespasses, even the grocery oversights. Really, he just shopped in that way that men do ... you know, for things they need like undershirts, protein bars, and tangerines. He can't be bothered with staples or things that would be useful to have when one gets home with a baby. He also can't be bothered to replace things he used almost all of, like perhaps the diced tomatoes that I assumed were still there for my use in Sunday night's dinner. (Lentil and rice soup with Isernio's sausage and kale)

I blame myself. I was out of practice. Out of the anticipating practice. You know, as a wife who does the shopping, you read between the lines and get things and know things. In hindsight I knew that the diced tomatoes were gone because he told me that he made chili and stew. That positively screams at me to check on my spice, bean, and canned tomato supply.

To Josh's credit, he ran out to the store (after I yelled "You can't just use all of something and not replace it!") and bought canned tomatoes.

So it sent me pondering, this episode. The chores have become divided, and the more years that pass, the more specialized Josh and I become at our work. For example, Josh is all about the installation and maintenance and understanding of electronics. If I were a single gal in my own house (wait, it is my house), I would need to do this all myself. But I remain blissfully ignorant because I can be. My specialty is the store run because I plan the meals and I know what Sam and I need for our meals at home during the day. In other words, I know what we need. Josh will volunteer to go, but it's really more than the list, isn't it? You have to be ready to bob and weave when life throws you curve balls like no Arctic char. To send him means that I have to go through the list and be really specific. Also, there is the whole Inspired Shopping element. You know, you are going down the list when you spot *gasp*chocolate covered almonds and you think, Yes, I need those this week. What will I miss out on if Josh goes to the store? There are lots of psychological layers to this shopping thing, is what I'm saying.

I think a therapist would have a field day with his stuff.


  1. This made me smile and also made me sad in a way. It's such a familiar story. I have a theory that men have been conditioned by society to be able to ignore certain thing e.g. that the rubbish needs taking out, that the toilet needs cleaning etc. etc. It's not their fault though - it's probably how they saw their household operating when they were a kid. Well, that's just my theory anyway.

  2. What the? resist...the

    What happened to the whole "Thank you, honey. It's so great to come home to a house that's neat and clean"? And now I come here to find my efforts belittled, the subject of ridicule.

    You must dedicate your next post to how awesome I am, or else I will have to start a rival blog detailing the injustices of being a scapegoat husband.

  3. I knew I should have used an alias when I set this thing up. I thought it was a balanced piece ....