AUGUST 17, 2010
By Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret
“So how is your wedding planning going?” My co-worker with the mullet asked me the other day.
“Oh, well, you know. It’s going just fine. Not too stressful, pretty easy,” I reply.
“Easy! Weelll! That’s good. You got your date and everything?”
“Yep. November this year.”
“November? Well that will be different.”
“…” I wasn’t quite sure how to respond.
“Well, I will be divorced by August hopefully. And, I cannot wait, I will be celebrating!” she replied.
“….Well that’s…great. Good for you?” And then I just turned away and pretended to be busy.
(In case you’re wondering, this blog is about marriage and tact.)
I do not know if other ladies sporting a diamond ring on the left hand have experienced this much, but for me, it is almost a daily, at least weekly, occurrence. Perhaps it is the nature of my job–meeting strangers, gesturing with my left hand to this bank of elevators or that hallway (I’m a front desk girl, remember?). But for some reason when people see the ring on my finger they feel this pressing, very urgent need to comment on it.
Switch is a book about motivating people to change — in corporate, social, community, or personal settings. I was reading along, minding my own business, enjoying the read until BLAM! I got to the part about checklists.
The Heath Brothers, apparently living in a world where husbands have no personal accountability, said if you’re frustrated because your husband can’t remember to pick up the dry cleaning, leave him a note in the car to remind him.
What the frick, guys? What world do you live in? If my husband can’t remember to pick up the darn dry cleaning he should write his own darn note to himself. Really, Chip and Dan, take some responsibility. Wives have enough to do on their own without micromanaging their husbands. Geez.
Maybe it’s time to Switch to taking responsibility for your own to do list.
A few women I know invited me to join their team for the Housewife Olympics. I had never heard of it, so they invited me to their first training meeting.
Once there, at the house of one of my potential teammates, I was given the Housewife Olympics brochure, which explains each event. It seems there are four individual events and a relay. Here are the details:
The Laundry Challenge
Show off your folding and sock matching skills in this fast-paced event. Includes
- Fold full dry load
- Switch washed clothes to dryer
- Start new wash
Winner completes all tasks with fastest time. Points will be taken off for mismatched socks, putting non-dryables in the drier rather than on the drying rack, and forgetting to empty pockets and pre-treat stains. To make the task more challenging, a recording of a crying baby is played throughout the event.
The Kitchen Clean-Up
Display your sparking clean kitchen skills in this challenging event. Includes:
- Clear table
- Unload clean dishes from dishwasher
- Rinse and load dishwasher
- Scrub pots
- Wipe counter
- Sweep floor
Winner completes all tasks with the fastest time. Points are taken off for clean dishes in the wrong place and for dishes that come out of the dishwasher still dirty. This event is made extra challenging by random visits from kids sent in to your kitchen space to play, argue, and/or pester you for dessert.
The Big Bill Pay
Arguable the most challenging Housewife Olympics event. Includes:
- Pay eight bills
- Balance a checkbook
Winner completes task with the fastest time. Points are taken off for incorrectly balanced checkbook or running out of money. During this event the wifelete will be interrupted four times to help with homework problems.
The Company Super-fast Straighten
This challenging event is all about speed and presentablness. Three rooms – living room, powder room, and playroom all have to be cleaned and straightened for unexpected company. The winner cleans with the fastest time and rooms are also judged based on dust and fingerprint visibilty, clutter elimination, and dirt and debris removal. Perfection isn’t the goal only presentability. Creative solutions are encouraged. This task is made more challenging by the occasional child entering to dump a toy bin, track dirt, or pee sloppily.
The Relay Challenge
The final event is a relay in which each team member must complete a leg of the race:
- Get three kids of various ages (7,5,3) dressed
- Make a meal that all three kids will eat at least part of in 30 minutes or less
- Get kids out the door and into the car with all appropriate gear. Each kid has a backpack, water bottle, and a change of clothes
- Drop kids at assigned activity locations: soccer field, baseball field, and gymnastics gym
When I asked my friends which event would be mine, they told me the Company Super-fast Straighten. Since my house is on the market, they said, I have the most experience with fast, creative cleaning. Which is true.
So, how could I say no to this opportunity to show off my housewifely skills? Who knows, I could come home with a gold medal in housewife-iness. I’m already in training, so why not?
Filed under: Wifey Rants | Tags: get off your iPhone, housewife, housework, man up dude, Marriage
I love it when my husband helps around the house. Really, I do. I especially love it when he helps out on his own, without being asked.
But sometimes he does things that, to him, seem really helpful while in reality, well, not so much.
The Top Things My Husband Thinks Earn Him Points But Really Don’t
- Doing laundry (without including the kids’ smelly soccer uniforms)
Help with laundry is so great, but leaving the smelly, muddy soccer clothes in the hamper just means I’ll have to do another load later… which kind of cancels out the help.
- Getting the kids into pajamas (but leaving their dirty clothes strewn across the bedroom.)
Great, the kids are ready for bed. But who’s going to pick up all the dirty underwear, socks, and t-shirts you flung across the room? Oh, that’s right, me.
- Loading the dishwasher (well, loading only his own dishes into the dishwasher).
“Oh, gee, thanks honey. Loading your one plate and glass into the dishwasher is so helpful. Did you happen to see all the other dirty dishes on the table… Honey, honey, where did you go?”
- Unloading the dishwasher (but putting stuff in the wrong place because, even after 10 years, he still doesn’t know where we keep things).
Okay, if you don’t know where the dishes go after ten years in the same house together, you’re not cleaning up enough. Seriously.
- Helping to get the kids out the door to school (by saying “Come on, guys, get your shoes on” while checking email on his iPhone).
If saying “get your shoes on” worked, I wouldn’t need help getting the kids out the door to school.
- Setting the table (by saying “kids, set the table” while checking email on his iPhone).
If “kids, set the table” worked, I wouldn’t need help getting the kids to set the table.
- Helping to make dinner (by playing Wii with the kids to “keep them out of the way”).
Now I just feel like the cook.
- Packing his own bag for vacation (when I’ve packed myself and the kids).
…And made the reservations, and gassed up the car, and loaded the car, and dropped the dog at the kennel, and packed the cooler, and, well, you get the idea.
- Coming home early enough to help with bedtime (and then getting the kids all riled up).
Once bedtime is done, I’m off duty (for awhile, anyway) so anything that makes bedtime longer – not helping
- Offering to give me a backrub (while really expecting more).
If it leads to something more, great, but sometimes a backrub should be just a backrub.
Posted by cat
Filed under: Wifey Rants | Tags: equal partnership, housework, space-time continuum
Dear Dr. Einstein,
I don’t usually write to dead scientists but I need help: it seems time passes differently for my husband than it does for me.
The other day, I made breakfast, loaded the dishwasher, washed the pans, wrangled the kids into their clothes, got myself dressed, and started the laundry but my husband only had time to put on some clothes.
And last week when we had to get to the train, I was rushing around like a mad woman – we were running late! But it was clear by the way my husband was moseying along that time was passing differently for him and he had plenty of time.
How can this be?
Is it a problem of relativity? Could our house be operating in parallel universes? Could he be living in an overlapping time-space continuum? Does his E not equal MC2?
Please, Dr. Einstein, tell me: can you help align time in our home? I’m desperate. In the time I’ve written this letter, cleaned the play room, paid the bills, and folded the laundry, my husband has only taken a shower.
Thank you in advance for your assistance,
PS: I also sent a copy of this letter to Dr. Emmett Brown. Maybe his flux capacitor can help?
Crap. I just found out from Dr. Oz in TIME Magazine that I’m the Chief Medical Officer of my family.
On top of being in charge of the bills, the retirement and college funds, the kids’ education, the food, cleaning and laundry, the dog, and childcare PLUS being personal assistant and chauffeur to two darling children, PLUS making time for my own interests, I’m solely responsible for my entire family’s health care?
That makes me Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Education Officer, Chief Communications Officer, and now Chief Medical Officer… Wow, the whole damn Board (except Chief Technology Officer — thank you, honey!)
Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m in charge of my own health care. But up until now I thought the kids health care was a responsibility shared between me and my spouse. It turns out, Dr. Oz informed me, I’m wrong. And not only is the kids’ health care all my responsibility, but my husband’s is too. Who knew!
According to the good doctor:
“…[Y]ou can tell your husband 10 times to get a colonoscopy and he won’t do it, but if you tell him he has an appointment on Friday, you’ll be discussing his results on Saturday.”
What the…?! All this time I thought my husband was a grown man who could take charge of his own health care (and put his own dishes in the dishwasher, but that’s a different blog post). How wrong I’ve been. Apparently, when it comes to health care, my husband is just another child — albeit one who can drive to his appointments and doesn’t need me to hold his hand during shots — and I need to treat him as such by making all his appointments. Not just the yearly physicals, but the specialists, too.
Wow. Thank you Dr. Oz for setting me straight. I’d hate to treat my husband as an adult and hurt his feelings.
I’m sure my husband would love it if I took over scheduling all his appointments and reminding him when they are — or better yet, inputting them into his Outlook calendar for him. Who wouldn’t enjoy having a personal assistant coordinating their life? But I’m not a personal assistant, I’m a wife. And I expect my husband to man up and take responsibility for his own health care with me by his side, not leading him like a child.
Gosh, Dr. Oz, have I set my expectations too high?
Posted by Cat
The last word: He said he was leaving. She ignored him. When Laura Munson’s husband asked for a divorce, she ducked instead of fighting. He needed to learn, she says, that his unhappiness wasn’t really about her.
Fascinating article about a woman refusing to buy into her husband’s “midlife crisis” and callousness. Don’t know what to think of this. On the one hand, she seems like a total wimp not just leaving the ass. But on the other hand, hard to comment on other people’s relationships.
Maybe men (and probably some women, too), eventually need time to be an asshole during a marriage. And if they are given the room to be jerks – but at enough of an arms length to keep the kids safe from the crisis, if possible – then maybe there is room to start anew. It won’t be the same but maybe that is a good thing.
Marriage is fraught with so much emotional, political, spiritual and intellectual baggage. It is no wonder so many marriages fail.
Do you think she was right to wait his midlife crisis out or should she have given him the boot?