After years of cleaning services, I decide Tim and I should start cleaning our home. “Cleaning is not a bad thing,” I asserted. “Think of it as starting a new form of exercise. We will turn on good music and focus on nurturing and appreciating our home.” I knew better than to mention saving money. Tim has no aversion to saving money, but there is a large field of nuggets in his head to pick from that doesn’t involve him cleaning the house.
“I’ll do the floors,” Tim offers. I wait for him to add to his list, but his silence suggests this is it. I recall one of my daughters moving in with her engineer boyfriend and having a similar conversation. He needed to help with the cleaning. “You do the dusting,” she told him. He said he didn’t know how. She quipped, “Google it!”
Tim is waiting for me to say something. I do. “How about you do the floors, wash the tiles, vacuum the carpet, and dust throughout, including the baseboards and blinds?” The look on his face was somewhere between disbelieving and incredulous.
Before he could ask me what was left for me to do, I said, “I will clean the two and a half bathrooms and the kitchen.”
“What is there to do in the kitchen?” he wants to know. “I tell you what,” This is how he phrases many of our transactions. “I will do all the floors and half of the dusting.”
“Ok, I will do all the floors, carpet, tiles, and dusting. You just do the bathrooms and kitchen.” I’m hoping the emphasis on all and just will find a way into his subconscious.
He says, “I don’t know about that.” I have no idea what that means. Then he gives me the look of You drive a hard bargain. I’m hopeful. Tim believes that a happy wife makes for happy life. Have that going for me. “Have you noticed that cleaning crews assign the least senior person the bathroom work? He hadn’t. “Ask any of our women friends,” I’m getting a little heated, “which job they would rather do, and they will tell you, floors and dust.”
“I don’t know about that,” he says as he retreats into his study. Behind the closed glass doors, he’s looking around, possibly thinking, I’ll have to dust AND vacuum this place. I wonder if he’ll get rid of his shelves and everything that requires wiping. Later I get a text from him, “Are we allowed to hire a cleaning service for our part of the cleaning?”
By the end of the day, I’ve changed my mind about who does what cleaning. I don’t mind cleaning my home, and Tim, for whatever reason, seems to loathe it. Tim cooks most nights, does dishes every evening, and takes care of the house and car maintenance.
“Tim, I have a better plan for the house cleaning. I will clean the house. You get a free pass.”
Instead of agreeing, he says, “No, I have a better plan than that. I will do the floors and the baseboards with a Swiffer. I’m not crawling on the floor to clean the baseboards.” Did he think I’d object to a Swiffer?
Happy Wife. Happy Life.