« It's March, So It Must Be Time... | Main | Rorschach Test »

March 17, 2010

Poll of the Week

Ladies, take note:

Men do help in the home (say men)

Men say they do far more housework than they are given credit for - but women don't notice because men "don't make a fuss".

A survey of men said they spent 13 hours a week on household chores including cleaning the lavatory, taking out the rubbish and changing the bed linen.

But 60% of the 1,000 men questioned said their efforts were unnoticed by the woman in their lives because they did not like to make a fuss. Almost half said they felt women were more prone to showing off about the amount of housework they take on, reports the Daily Telegraph.

So, ladies, I do not want to have to bring this to your attention again.

You big show offs.

Update: In addition to being generally more helpful around the house than they are given credit for, men are apparently great lovers of Art as well.

Posted by Cassandra at March 17, 2010 08:45 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.villainouscompany.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/3572

Comments

Ok, this I would like to contribute to. Because of my wife's health problems, I do the majority of chores around the house. She helps when she can (putting the recycling in bags and such), but her only real chore around the house at the moment is paying the bills and filling out the taxes. I don't do it for recognition, or for praise. It needs to get done and she's frequently not physically able.

HOWEVER, that said, it still is a bit of a boost when she thanks me for doing some chore or another ("Thanks for taking out the garbage, sweety. I was going to mention that it was getting full."). Ladies, never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement.

But as to the snark, I can't speak for all men, but in my mind, no one does chores for praise or to "show off". I think the issue is simply that women point out when they have to take out the garbage as a means of encouraging their man to take it out next time, and the guy thinks she's seeking credit. This is nothing more than bad male/female communication. If you want the man to take out the trash, say "Take out the trash, will you?" Done. Don't hint, don't allude, don't imply. Ask. Anything else will be seen as at best vague and at worst (and more likely) as manipulative. Men don't communicate like that with each other. It's not what we expect.

That's where (I believe) the "show off" thing comes from. From the guy's perspective, when she says "I took out the trash," he's thinking, "Ok... do you want a medal or something?" And if he's dumb, he'll even say that out loud.

As for the "But 60% of the 1,000 men questioned said their efforts were unnoticed by the woman in their lives because they did not like to make a fuss", all I can tell you is those dudes need to shut up. Do the chore because it needs to be done, NOT because you want a pat on the head for doing what you are supposed to!

Posted by: MikeD at March 17, 2010 10:13 AM

I for one will admit I could do more house work then I do. The problem for me is every time I start do do something, like load the dish washer or do laundry etc. my wife comes running along and pushes me away saying I don't do it right. The real reason in my opinion is that I don't do it the exact same way she does it, but in the end, the dishes are clean and isn't that the objective?

Posted by: Frodo at March 17, 2010 10:23 AM

very time I start do do something, like load the dish washer or do laundry etc. my wife comes running along and pushes me away saying I don't do it right.

Heh :)

We women definitely do do that! However, I suspect that if The Unit were suddenly to get a righteous toilet scrubbing Jones on, my failure to give him a pat on the back would more likely be attributable to my having fainted....

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 10:34 AM

...If you want the man to take out the trash, say "Take out the trash, will you?" Done. Don't hint, don't allude, don't imply. Ask. Anything else will be seen as at best vague and at worst (and more likely) as manipulative. Men don't communicate like that with each other. It's not what we expect.

You know, I believe you Mike. I do.

But I will never understand. You're right - this is a big disconnect. I *hate* to be forced to ask my husband to do anything around the house, and in truth he is most likely to help out when we have someone coming over for dinner or are having a party. He is WONDERFUL about that and I show my appreciation every time he does it because I *am* grateful for his help.

He is good about some things and not so good about others, but then I'm the world's worst about taking the car to the shop or for an oil change so I don't get too excited about it if he doesn't leap at the opportunity to scrub the bathtub :p

I think guys often don't get credit for the things the do around the house that aren't "woman's work". That's one good thing about deployments - after doing everything for a year, I'm thrilled to have any help at all!

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 10:39 AM

This might make you laugh Frodo, but The Unit actually takes things I've put in the dishwasher out and repositions them.

Years ago, that used to drive me batsh** insane. Now, I just laugh. He is better than I am at fitting things into the dishwasher. But as you say, it ain't as though the durned dishes aren't getting clean anyway!

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 10:42 AM

"I think guys often don't get credit for the things they do around the house that aren't "woman's work"."
No such thing in my house, I've done the "women's work", plus fixed the appliances, patched the roof, fixed the plumbing, etc.. for 25 years, guess I'm just "showing off". But I'm a fixer the hubby is not, that's OK, where I get annoyed is I've also have done all the yard work, cut the grass (riding lawn mower), and other "men's work" thru out our marriage.

So now when I ask him to do something it's always, "why don't you take that trash out or why don't you do some laundry, today?" This perplexes him. Yes I've tried all the other avenues, "I would love it if you could help me with laundry today", batting long eyelashes... Doesn't work.
So when I ask why don't you I really want to know why don't you?

Then again I maybe I'm just venting here since I'm back in the work force and the Hubby has been enjoying his retirement longer than I'd like. Can I borrow your trivet, Cass, my cast iron skillet is a little bent. ;p

Posted by: Mrs G at March 17, 2010 11:27 AM

I think guys often don't get credit for the things the do around the house that aren't "woman's work".

You stole my thunder, woman! How dare you!. :-)

But yeah, I think men don't get the credit they deserve because when women think housework they don't think "Fix the garage door" and women don't get the credit they deserve because when men think housework they don't think "Change the dust ruffle on the bed".

As for the dishwasher, I've done that. Of course, I rearrange dishes *I've* put in there too. Not because I think it was done wrong or they get cleaner that way, but because I'm lazy. Every dish I can jam into that sucker is one less dish I have to wash by hand.

But I tell you, when it comes to housework, the best thing we ever did for our marriage was to hire a maid to come in every other week to vacuum, mop, scrub the toilets, etc as soon as we could possibly afford it. The LG, God bless her, used to suffer from OCPD (specifically criteria 1,3,5,6) to such an extent she literally could not sleep if she knew there was a dirty dish in the sink (after 14 years of being with The Slob she's gotten much better).

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 17, 2010 11:27 AM

Once I tried to watch and learn as she went through the household chores. They all looked like Kama Sutra positions to me as I sprang to life to offer my assistance in a manly way. She ended up spring cleaning the entire house while yours truly took a nap.

I think the house needs painting...

Posted by: vet66 at March 17, 2010 11:43 AM

...The Unit actually takes things I've put in the dishwasher out and repositions them.

The first thing my future wife did on entering my apartment, long ago, was reorganize my kitchen. The whole thing -- where the cans went, where the dishes went, etc.

Which was OK -- I certainly didn't care if they went here or there -- but then I took her home to visit my family, and she did the same thing to my mother's kitchen.

It's amazing she survived. But I suppose that's the thing about a true Southern upbringing; it prepares you for all kinds of events.

That doorway thing at MoMa, for example. Is this a problem for a Southerner? Of course not. He knows that all he has to do to pass through comfortably is to tip his hat and say with a smile, "Excuse me, ma'am."

Posted by: Grim at March 17, 2010 11:49 AM

Mrs G, are you by chance married to a Capricorn?

I hear they're awfully stubborn [looking around to make sure The Unit is not within reading distance] :p

I am not at all picky about the way something gets done - at least to the point of saying something about it or doing it over. I will admit to getting annoyed sometimes b/c I like things to look a certain way once a task is completed (i.e., I like the pillows and down cushion on our LR sofa fluffed and aligned just so, I like the counters - don't ask me why b/c Lord knows I am not a neatnik - shining and bereft of "stuff" or piles of papers. Basically if I'm going to clean something, I want it to look pretty when I'm done so I can bask in feminine something-or-otherness...).

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 11:57 AM

Grim, I am a once-in-a-while rearranger.

Of the two of us, I am the one who will no kidding pull everything out of the drawers and rearrange everything. Last time the spouse was in Iraq, I bought suit covers for all his uniforms and suits, shoe shelves for his shoes, racks for his belts and ties and sets of plastic drawers for the 900000 pieces of flair Marines have to wear on various uniforms :p

To his credit, he actually kept it pretty neat once I organized it. On the otter heiny, I did a less thorough job on my own walk in closet and 3 months later it looked like hell again. But at least everything "had a place", even if I'm not good about putting things away every time so it was easier to clean up.

He's a better "maintenance" person. I'm better at huge bursts of effort to fix stuff around the house that is unsatisfactory to my highly evolved feminine sense of propriety. Which is funny since I am not as picky as he is. But I do like order and am willing to work hard to create it.

I just wish I were better at the small things!

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 12:02 PM

He knows that all he has to do to pass through comfortably is to tip his hat and say with a smile, "Excuse me, ma'am."

Someone's in a good mood today :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 12:04 PM

I'm a fixer the hubby is not, that's OK, where I get annoyed is I've also have done all the yard work, cut the grass (riding lawn mower), and other "men's work" thru out our marriage.

Yanno, I get the biggest kick of telling my spouse that it's his job to stand around looking vaguely muscle-y and Love Slave-ish...

Men's work is never done. Heh.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 12:07 PM

Capricorn? Heh, YEP! I'd be happy if I could pry him from the computer chair! So a trivet AND a crowbar please that should do it ;P

Posted by: Mrs G at March 17, 2010 12:13 PM

You know, pretty much every man I ever dated was a Capricorn. It's weird, really.

They are stubborn as mules, but so sweet when they want to be that it kind of makes up for it.

Kind of...

You're going to need the trivet :p And the crowbar.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 12:22 PM

There are many things the Empress takes care of at home that she never mentions nor do I notice. It took a six week visit to her family in Korea a few years ago to give me some insight into the magnitude of keeping a house clean and in order. I do the laundry, iron, and wash anything that I find dirty in the house. It's still not much compared to what she does, but now she has to find the mess before I do. I still wouldn't trade her jobs, I'm a hard person to take care of….

Posted by: crazy mike at March 17, 2010 12:49 PM

"why don't you take that trash out or why don't you do some laundry, today?"

I got plenty of reasons why not.

Because it's not fun. Because there's a game on. Because I wanted to do something else and didn't get around to it.

Or because the couch cushions are cold and they need my ass to warm them up.

*running away*

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 17, 2010 01:02 PM

...men are apparently great lovers of Art as well.

I *beg* your pardon?

That Gay Test John posted was only a *gag*...

Posted by: BillT at March 17, 2010 01:23 PM

Several years ago, on a rare off-day from work, I decided to help CINC Domestic while she was at work. I separated the family laundry by colors, washed the whites (twice!), ran everything through the dryer and folded the cleaned laundry. She had the good grace to thank me (patting myself on the back), but...*sigh*.. forbade me to ever do it again.(?) She claimed every time I did the laundry she had to buy new clothes b/c I shredded some of her favorite blouses/under garments. My thought??? What woman doesn't like to shop for new clothes? :)

Posted by: ziobuck at March 17, 2010 01:48 PM

*snort*

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 01:52 PM

Housework, my style:

Dishes-Boys, get in here and do the dishes.

Laundry-Kids, put your dirty clothes in the hamper so your mother doesn't have to pick them up. Oh, and run a load of your own while you're at it.

Mowing the lawn-Turn the horses out into the back yard, they like eating the grass.

Walking the dog-Let him chase the cats.

Work the vineyard-Tell your friends and neighbors they get free wine if they help harvest. Darn, I almost blew out my elbow drinking beer last harvest.

What? Who says I don't "help?"

Posted by: Allen at March 17, 2010 02:19 PM

"But I will never understand. You're right - this is a big disconnect. I *hate* to be forced to ask my husband to do anything around the house, and in truth he is most likely to help out when we have someone coming over for dinner or are having a party."

I did forget this part. You didn't say it, but it spurred me to remember. I said:

If you want the man to take out the trash, say "Take out the trash, will you?" Done. Don't hint, don't allude, don't imply. Ask. Anything else will be seen as at best vague and at worst (and more likely) as manipulative. Men don't communicate like that with each other. It's not what we expect.

I, however, did NOT mean to imply that the man has no obligation to TRY and pay attention when his lady speaks and attempt to pick up on the subtle. Overcoming communication barriers is NOT a one way street. Ladies, do try to be more "male" with the communication. Fellas, try to look for the underlying request within what sounds like a suggestion. Men aren't stupid, we shouldn't try to get away with "Sorry honey, but I never heard you actually tell me to take out the garbage." You did so, even if she said "I really think the garbage should go outside tonight." If you've been married for over a year and do not recognize that she just made a request, I question your veracity.

And while I don't know your husband, Mrs G, might I suggest instead of saying the following:
"why don't you take that trash out" or "why don't you do some laundry, today?"
or
"I would love it if you could help me with laundry today"

Try:
"Take the trash out."
"Do the laundry today."
"Help me do the laundry."

Yes, I know this appears to be "nagging". Ladies, I assure you, that it's not. It's an order, certainly. It works remarkably well on men who have military backgrounds. And even on those who don't. "Nagging" would be "Have you taken out the trash yet?" followed by "I really would like the trash out sometime today." followed by "I thought I told you to take out the trash." It's the repetitiveness. If the guy answers any of the declaratives I suggested with "No." There's going to be a follow up (i.e. the reason he won't). If not, he owes you the reason (in 'guy rules' at least). So ask for it. Once you have the reason, if you disagree with it, tell him you do and why you disagree (e.g. "I know the game is on right now, but the trash has fish in it and is stinking up the kitchen. Wait till the next commercial and take it out then."). This works because unless he can logically convince you that the chore doesn't need to be done (difficult but possible), his only other excuse would be laziness, and no man likes to be called on that. So he'll do the task rather than admit he's lazy.

Now, if he says "Yes" but doesn't do it, call him on it. Trust me on this one, if he didn't get up and do it immediately, give him an immanent deadline (during the next commercial, after this show's over, at halftime, etc). Because there's two reasons a guy says "yes" but doesn't perform a chore. One reason is that he meant to but forgot (99% of the time, this is what happened to me). By giving him a short term deadline, you're protecting him from himself (and again, trapping him between his pride and his laziness). The other reason is that he didn't actually MEAN "yes", but didn't want to say "no".

This part is critical, ladies. If it was the latter, here's how you nip that right in the bud. Ready? Say the following verbatim:
"DUDE! [if you're over 55, it's acceptable use a different exclamatory] If you don't want to do something that I ask you to, man up and tell me so!"

One, you've just used a male communication and hit him in his integrity. So he should react as if he's broken a promise. Yes, he should have known he DID make a promise when he said "yes", so that's why we're rebuking him. A guy would never tolerate a buddy telling him he'd do something if he didn't mean it. By placing yourself in that "buddy" role, it will spur him to treat you with a male communicative response and be honest in the future. The objective is to have him deal honestly with you at all times. Doing so requires that when you ask a direct question (or make a direct request) he responds in a direct manner.

Now, there is an important corollary to this. You MUST drop the subject after calling him out. If he asks questions, respond honestly and directly. But under no circumstances should you ever follow up a "man up" declarative with continued rebukes. The intent here is to sting him, not flog him. This may mean you need to take out the trash yourself, but I doubt it.

Posted by: MikeD at March 17, 2010 02:20 PM

"My name is LittleRed and I reorganize pantries and freezers."
[Organizers Anon members] Hello LittleRed.
"It started when I found bulging cans as I tried to jam one more thing onto an overloaded shelf. And that was OK. It was a safety matter. But then I started sorting. I couldn't help it. And he was very understanding. But then," [lowers head in shame] "I cleaned out the freezer. All the mystery meat. The unidentifiable things that might once have been vegetables. I'm sorry . . ."

Dad (retired) just does stuff. When I visit, I just do stuff. Mom comes home from work and practically falls over from exhaustion, while thanking us for doing stuff. But we agree that Dad still doesn't quite have the laundry thing down. Water conservation is a grand idea, but you don't have to fit EVERYTHING into one load. Really. Please?

Posted by: LittleRed1 at March 17, 2010 02:23 PM

I do something that is sort of close to that, Mike.

If I need help (not often) I generally say something like, "I need your help. Can you put the casseroles back on the top shelf?" (he hates it when I climb on things - he thinks I am going to fall and break my tuckus).

But I am not at all good about asking. At all. To a woman, it is so obvious that certain things need to be done that it feels like you are nagging no matter how you bring it up. Because another woman would have noticed.

I pretty much gave up years ago, but a funny thing has happened in the past few years. He does things now without my asking at all. He is very good about remembering the trash and the recycling - I never, ever have to remind him.

The truth is that I "forget" to do things he has asked me to do, too. I don't do it on purpose. Generally I just get distracted. So I cut him a lot of slack b/c he is in some ways better than I am about certain things and I figure it all evens out in the end. When he goes outside in the snow to de-ice the windshield for me without my even asking because he knows how much I hate the cold, or when he turns the heat on and tells me to get in the car before loading the groceries in the back of the car, I know how lucky I am.

After all, I'm really no prize. I have never figured out why he puts up with me.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 02:31 PM

Water conservation is a grand idea, but you don't have to fit EVERYTHING into one load. Really. Please?

LOL! True story time. When the Lovely Bride and I were dating, I was living in the barracks. She was over on a visit one day and I had laundry I needed to do. So we're chatting as I untie the laundry bag from the bunk, and she follows me to the washers.

I don't recall what we were talking about, but she got very quiet as I proceeded to dump the entire contents of the laundry bag into the washer (whites, coloreds and all), set the washer to warm and start it up.

"Aren't you going to sort them?" quoth she.
"No, I got it on warm*," says I.
"Ok... you are NEVER touching my laundry."

To this day, the only clothes I am allowed to wash is my own. Not even the sheets or towels am I allowed to touch.

* Since whites need hot water and coloreds need cold, I compromised and put both in on warm. In my defense, the only whites I owned that the public would ever see were my PT socks. And if they were not pristine white, I doubt anyone would notice.

Posted by: MikeD at March 17, 2010 02:34 PM

"To a woman, it is so obvious that certain things need to be done that it feels like you are nagging no matter how you bring it up. Because another woman would have noticed."

And that's the problem. The Unit (like most other men) is not a woman. And while you've been married longer than you haven't (I believe), your communicative patterns were set long before the two of you met. So breaking out of them is hard. If you're willing to accept that suggesting he do something might mean that he doesn't actually do it, rather than ask outright and feel like you're nagging, then by all means do that which will be less uncomfortable for you. Just don't hold it against him if he took your suggestion as a suggestion rather than a request. Yes, it'd be more comfortable for you if he would just respond as a woman would (or notice in the first place as a woman would), and I encourage guys to do so. Reaching out is good for both genders. It encourages understanding.

But Cass, I gotta tell you... I myself am Cleaning Impaired (I SO want to get that to be a recognized disability). I don't see dust until it starts forming intelligence. And as far as I can tell, the only thing a vacuum cleaner does to a carpet is put parallel lines onto it (and pick up piles of crumbs). I like cleaning bathrooms (of all room cleaning chores, it's the one I dislike least would be more accurate), because dirt is actually clearly seen on tile. It isn't camouflaged like on a carpet.

Posted by: MikeD at March 17, 2010 02:52 PM

I have my faults (being stubborn is one) but generally speaking I'm pretty understanding. When I was younger, not noticing seemed equivalent to not caring :p

I'm older now and I realize that we think differently and rarely see things the same way so I don't take it personally (unless of course I've really had a bad day and we're all prone to sense of humor failures).

Consequently, I have learned to be far more assertive and direct than I like to and he has learned to be less so. I've learned to shut up (!) sometimes and he has learned that sometimes I need him to explain things to me.

Not all the time :) But sometimes.

It kind of works out.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 03:05 PM

I confess, based on a personal poll (as well as other non-scientific polling throughout almost six decades on the planet), that I'm an oddity amongst retired military male spousal units. I actually enjoy washing dishes. There I said it!

I don't need any pleas, positive feedback, or bribes for 'later favors' from the better half to enjoy the theraputic aspects of cleaning pots & pans in Palmolive (60's TV "Madge" would be so proud of me!). In fact, I've actually got into verbals with the CINC for doing "the kid's chores".

Truth be told, as I student I earned FOOD by working in a high school cafeteria as....a dish washer! The cafeteria ladies always heaped praises on me for my work ethic and glutted me with home-made, fresh baked, out-of-the-oven chocolate-chip cookies. Now that's positive reinforcement.

The one thing that truly irritates me is when the mother-in-law (on several occasions) tells the wife that "You sure have your husband trained right!" Wifey knowingly tells her otherwise.

Posted by: ziobuck at March 17, 2010 03:45 PM

Those kinds of remarks always sound patronizing to me, too. I've garnered similar ones for "letting" (!) my husband smoke a cigar in his own house from time to time. I think it's supposed to be a back handed compliment but it never quite comes out that way.

I actually don't mind hand washing dishes. I don't like loading the dishwasher though :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 03:55 PM

as far as I can tell, the only thing a vacuum cleaner does to a carpet is put parallel lines onto it

You say that like it's a BAD thing...

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 04:27 PM

Not that it's bad (but why is it good), it's just that my mother, my wife, and every other woman I've ever met seems to be under the delusion that it's picking up dirt. I swear, they take this delusion so far as to put dirt into the bag (or canister for the bagless vacuums) so I'll see it when I clean out the vacuum!

Posted by: MikeD at March 17, 2010 04:56 PM

I *LOVE* my Dyson Animal Ball vacuum. One of the reasons we had a short haired dachshund is that our beagle used to shed everywhere and I hated having to vacuum both the rugs and the furniture every freaking day to keep from having dog hair everywhere.

It picks up everything, is easy to use, and I even like emptying out the canister b/c I kinda like "throwing away" all that dirt that was in my carpets! It's kind of pricey but well worth the expense.

Yeah. Women are sick.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 05:03 PM

The Engineer suffers from OCD. I don't have to say a thing. However, every month I have to clean my pantry, alphabetize the spices, go through the fridge and freezer to plan meals, clean the appliances and ensure there are no science projects in progress.

I also have to reorganize my pots and pans on the shelf. My base cabinets do not have shelves, and that just zings the helk out of me, so I bought a set of stainless steel shelves. It works.

The counters and island have to be cleaned before bed.

I am not a neatnik, per se, but clutter in a working kitchen...ew ew ew ew ew ew...

Posted by: Cricket at March 17, 2010 06:21 PM

I got a bagless (not a Dyson) because I got tired of running out of bags because of all the pet hair (when I still had a roommate, before I bought my house, there were 4 dogs and 4 cats, believe it or not!).

Spent most all last night running one of those carpet cleaning machines. I did it until there was no more solution. Dad had to finish the floor today. Tonight, I need to clean my bathroom. Have a houseguest this weekend: my best friend gets in tomorrow afternoon. Probably should do a load of laundry tonight, too, because I can't see myself doing much of that this weekend...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at March 17, 2010 08:06 PM

I'm with Cass on how to approach the "I need help with stuff around the house" issue. Just as when I am speaking to my children, I do not ask. There is no question mark at the end of my statement. Instead of, "Can you please do the dishes tonight?" it is, "I will cook. Dishes are yours." Pretty simple.

I learned a long time ago - when Princess Trouble was just a toddler - if you ask, be prepared for them to say no. "PT, can you please put the toy down and come here?" PT invariably would say "NO." and go on about her way. Which then led to a bit of a power struggle and was exhausting. Instead it is, "PT, please put the toy down and come here." There are specific consequences for disobedience in our household and she doesn't like them so she obeys. Pretty simple.

Please don't think that I treat my husband like a child - I do not. But both of us prefer the straighforward/no games/no BS/give me the BLUF/tell me what you need up front approach. Need me to take the trash out? Tell me. I'll do it. Or I'll explain why I cannot. Pretty simple.

MacGyver knows I HATEHATEHATE to fold and put away laundry. Hate it. So 9 times out of 10, he does it. I scrub the bathrooms, cook most meals, keep the house clean overall, tend to the kids, etc. We work as a team. On a team there are people who are better at defense than offense and vice versa. Same here. He's better at loading the dishawasher (my spatial abilities are weak) so he taught me the most efficient way. I tried my best to be open to his teaching because I knew enough about myself to know that he was better at it.

Thankfully neither of us is OCD though I do tend that direction. But our house is lived in (read: messy from time to time...like right now) and comfortable. No one has to worry about coasters or only sitting on the "daily couch" around here. Make yourself at home.

And, in looking at my kitchen floor, I see I need to sweep and mop.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at March 17, 2010 09:18 PM

Instead it is, "PT, please put the toy down and come here." There are specific consequences for disobedience in our household and she doesn't like them so she obeys. Pretty simple.

That's what I did with my boys.

I started out all nicey nicey and it had about as much effect as a gnat flapping its wings in a hurricane :p

I soon learned to either scoop them up silently and move their intrepid little bodies without saying anything or to keep to simple statements of what I wanted them to do. It does have the effect of facing them down. They have to decide, "Do I feel lucky???" :)

Well, I worked all last night so I'm going to bed now. I'm exhausted.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 17, 2010 10:18 PM

Cricket, I love ya like a sister I've never met, but darlin':

"The counters and island have to be cleaned before bed."

does NOT jive with

"I am not a neatnik, per se..."

Just so ya know. :P

Posted by: MikeD at March 18, 2010 09:59 AM

Not sure if you saw this one Cass, but it explains everything ... men don't do housework because we don't want to hurt womens self-esteem!!!

Helpful Dads Can Hurt Mom's Self-Esteem
(click my name for link to article)

Posted by: Frodo at March 18, 2010 11:35 AM

Oh, Frodo. I love it! Thanks so much :)

I know you're kidding but I think that article is spot on. Post coming up after I get a chance to break for lunch!

Posted by: Cassandra at March 18, 2010 12:14 PM

Posted by: John (Master of Inanity) Donovan at March 18, 2010 02:14 PM

You guys are all about the giving :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 18, 2010 03:10 PM

My sources back home informed me that KtLW has *two* ladies pop in once a week to take care of the household chores *I* used to do.

Meaning, just about everything except cooking and doing KtLW's laundry (ref. MikeD's tale).

And people ask me why I only go back to the states for two weeks each year...

Posted by: BillT at March 18, 2010 03:12 PM

You guys are all about the giving

It's just our nature.

'Cuz we *rock*...

Posted by: BillT at March 18, 2010 03:15 PM

You guys do indeed :)

There's a reason men and women are different and I'm all in favor of it!

Posted by: Cassandra at March 18, 2010 03:18 PM

Fooey! Frodo's comment wasn't there when I started mine. You can dump both of mine and save some server space, Cassie.

Posted by: John (Master of Inanity) Donovan at March 18, 2010 03:21 PM

Yup -- all about the giving...

Posted by: BillT at March 18, 2010 03:24 PM

Nah. I like your comments :)

Posted by: Cassandra at March 18, 2010 03:32 PM

All about the giving...uh huh. Suuuure you are.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at March 19, 2010 02:50 AM

I was in the back room finishing ironing my work clothes a few Saturdays ago when my wife entered and stated, "You cook for yourself, do the laundry, clean the house… You don't need me anymore". I tried to be clever and told her that if I needed someone to clean the house I would hire a maid, a cook to prepare my food, and take the dirty clothes to the laundry. I told her that what she provided and I could get no where else was companionship. When she smiled I thought I did pretty well until the expression on her face changed to what my children call "The Mommy Look". She then posed a question I had not considered, "What about sex?" She had the door, a chair was between me and the window, and I kind of knew that saying "Yeah, I need you for that too" wouldn't impress her. The alarm on the drier came to my rescue and I took my time in the basement folding clothes and putting the last load of clothes in the drier when the washer was done. When I came back up she stated that hadn't answered her. When I said, "I think you know the answer already" the smile came back and I survived another brain fart.

I do as much as I can because what I don't do she will, even though doctors have told her to stay off her feet as much as possible, avoid stairs, and don't lift anything over ten pounds.

It never occurred to me that I could do too much.

Posted by: crazy mike at March 19, 2010 08:18 AM

MikeD, I am a Virgo, married to a Capricorn.
He has OCD when it comes to home maintenance.
I don't have a honey-do list. He will
go into the kitchen and either scrub the floor
or clean off a counter.

There are two areas in my house that have to be clean. Not necessarily white-glove, but clean.
The kitchen and the bathroom. Clutter, such as the 18,000 loads of clothes on my sofa, I can live with.

I need something to do while watching 'Pride and Prejudice,' or 'Lost in Austen,' so folding clothes it is.

I had boys, and I never discovered that elusive female hormone that went all giggly at the sight
of a toilet that needed scrubbing. I don't think
such a hormone exists. We taught our children to
clean up after themselves, and so, the housework
really isn't an issue.

But then, being a Virgo can be annoying to those around me...

Posted by: Cricket at March 19, 2010 09:22 AM

Piffle, Mizz Cricket -- you know us Virgos are too skeptical to believe in that astrology nonsense...

Posted by: BillT at March 19, 2010 10:06 AM

You're right...but every now and then the nitpicky detailer comes out. Books have to be put in the shelves. I am not particular about classification, only that the area in question is clean. 26 years ago, I had my parents' books classified according to the Dewey decimal system and alphabetized.

My mother in law hates to see height or size variances. She hangs the laundry from smallest to largest. I love the woman to death, but that is ONE thing that will send me around the loop.

OTOH, when I was in theatre, I hated marking up my scripts. The director grabbed my script to 'The Bald Soprano' and crinkled it up, smoothed it out, sprayed water on it, tossed it in the air and stomped on it, just to see what I would do. There was a deathly silence. I told him, totally deadpan, he had no respect for Ionesco.

The whole group was laughing, but I had to admit, he had a point. I learned to mark my scripts, my books, and when I got a copier, I copied pages to mark...so you see, I relapsed.

Posted by: Cricket at March 19, 2010 04:15 PM

My husband has reformed me, over the course of three decades, from the most incredible slob you can imagine to something like ordinarily messy. The maids in my college dorm used to bring each other to my door and peek in and exchange glances with each other, then beckon to others to come look. Having grown up with a pathological housekeeper who seemed only to want to extirpate all signs of living inhabitants from the home, I was prepared to rebel. After all these years, though, I've become used to order, and now I actually try to help maintain it. We've found that he's much better about some kinds of order while I'm in charge of others. For instance, I think he'd rather die than scrub a bathroom or pick up dog productions of various sorts. On the other hand, he not only arranges things so that everything has a place and is fairly easy to find, but you can ask him about something that got put away months or years ago and he can tell you EXACTLY where it is. If you need to know where something is built into a wall, the chances are excellent that he not only has an in-progress construction photograph but can actually FIND it. Since I can't remember where I put something an hour ago, this is a skill I appreciate no end.

He cooks, I wash up. He changes light bulbs; I polish silver. I don't order him to do stuff, and when he does a chore that he normally does, I don't always notice or comment. I do make a point of lavishly appreciating anything he does that I would ordinarily have done, like feed the dogs or take out the trash. We both have a habit of forthrightly inviting the other to come admire something we've just completed, like a gardening chore.

Grim, seriously, your wife rearranged her mother-in-law's kitchen? You need to tell us more about your mother. She's obviously one in a million.

Posted by: Texan99 at March 20, 2010 10:27 AM

I've mentioned her once in a while, usually around election time -- I normally like to consult her opinion to see where her mind is, as she is very far to the left of me. She is an educated woman, holding a Master's degree in Arts Education.

She is a true Southern lady: firm of purpose, polite but immovable in her intent, and while she was of course furious she did not let her guest realize it at all.

That's not to say that I didn't realize it: I think I was off with my father doing something at the time, but as soon as I came home and saw her rearranging things I knew she was in deep, deep trouble. Yet my future wife had no idea how badly she had erred.

The wife seems to have been forgiven, however, once the grandchild came along. And she's been a good wife to me, which I think probably was a small argument in her favor; though not on the same level as the grandchild, you understand.

Posted by: Grim at March 20, 2010 10:39 AM

...but you can ask him about something that got put away months or years ago and he can tell you EXACTLY where it is.

The following vignette is submitted for your edification and/or amusement:

Scene I: the kitchen of stately Tuttle Manor.

The Players: KtLW and Self.

KtLW stands near the kitchen sink, performing a ritual sacrifice to the carrot gods.

Self stands near the stove, depriving several pounds of innocent potatoes of their jackets.

KtLW: "Get me the thing."

Self: "What thing?"

KtLW: "The thing! The *thing*!!"

Self: "Ummmmm -- this "thing" -- is it bigger than a breadbox?"

KtLW: "You idiot. I'll get it myself."

(KtLW bends down, opens the cabinet she has been standing in front of, and removes a colander. Aha, says Self to self, "thing" must be womanspeak for colander...)

Scene II: same setting as Scene I, three days later.

The Players: same as in Scene I, in relatively the identical positions and performing similar tasks.

KtLW: "Get me the thing."

Self (to self) "Ah. Thing = colander. No problem."

Self turns from the stove, walks over to the cabinet KtLW is standing slightly to the right of, opens the cabinet door and triumphantly produces the colander.

KtLW: "You idiot. I told you to get me the *thing*! Never mind, I'll get it myself."

KtLW then walks over to the utilitystuff drawer, opens it, and withdraws

(as the Good Lowered is my witness)

a ladle.

Posted by: BillT at March 20, 2010 03:01 PM

It's of critical importance that married people learn to read minds. My taller half can say, "Who was that guy who was in that . . . you know . . ." and I'll say, "You mean Paul Newman?" All that's necessary is that the conversation have been taking a turn that I know will make him think of Cool Hand Luke. As the guy in the cartoon said, "You know what I think?" "Yeah."

Posted by: Texan99 at March 20, 2010 03:39 PM

I'll go you one better.

KtLW will ask, "Who was the actor who -- ?"

And all I have to answer is, "He was in that John Wayne movie."

That gets her going for an hour on how Hollywood has gone to the dogs since John Wayne died. By the end, she has completely forgotten her original question and I get credit for raising a subject she can rant about.

Win-win-win.

Posted by: BillT at March 20, 2010 03:58 PM

KtLW: "Get me the thing."

Bill, I feel your pain. Growing up in my mother's house required me to pick up a bit of telepathy. Case in point:

Mother: "Michael, get me the..."
me: "Garlic powder?"
Mother: "Yes."

If I did not get her the '...' (whatever the '...' was at that time) I would get in trouble for not obeying her. Mind you, I COULD get out of it, IF there was another witness in the room to inform her that she did not, in fact, finish her sentence. But without that witness, I was at fault.

Posted by: MikeD at March 23, 2010 10:29 AM

Oddly enough, the two family members who do that "Hand me the whatsamajigger"... thing in my world are men :p

And yes, I can almost always figure out what the "whatsamajigger" is, just like I can almost always tell them where to find "that thing" that they lost last week.

Drives me nuts.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 23, 2010 11:33 AM

...said the man with the steering wheel in his pants.

Posted by: BillT at March 23, 2010 11:55 AM

"Hand me the whatsamajigger"

I used to DREAM of being asked to hand her the whatsamajigger. Because that would prove she didn't actually ask for a specific item. She would swear up and down she had asked for the whisk (or the garlic powder, or the salt, or the vanilla, or the colander, or the Constitution of the United States of America, or the... you get the idea), when in reality she had actually said, "Get me the." She did not process that her sentence had ended prior to identifying the item she was seeking. In her mind, she had completed the sentence. In actuality it just ended.

Posted by: MikeD at March 23, 2010 03:29 PM

Post a comment

To reduce comment spam, comments on older posts are put into moderation 5 days after the last activity. Comments with more than one link also go into moderation. If you don't see your comment after posting it, try refreshing the screen. If you still don't see it, your comment is probably in the moderation queue.




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)