Let me start by saying that the universe smiled down upon me when my husband came into my life. He has proven time and time again to be my better half, the stable rock that keeps me centered, the greatest father and companion I have ever met. He works hard to support our family and has the gentlest of loving hands and I couldn't imagine a better partner to travel with on this journey of life.
He's also a conniving genius.
We have been married for 13 wonderful years, and while I wouldn't change a thing, I want to make it quite clear that I've caught on to his tricky little game. And I want to put it in print in case any other husbands (or wives) have been keeping this one up their sleeves. I'm on to you, dear.
It all started when we were first married. A new wife, I took my household duties very seriously. Having been raised by a laundry fanatic, this was to be expected. My mother separates whites from colors meticulously and even irons T-shirts. I knew I would never live up to this standard, but I was very careful about cleaning our clothes.
And then it started happening. He threw in a load and forgot to remove the lip balm from his pants pocket and the entire load of clothes was spotted with grease stains. After copious scrubbing on my part, the wrong was righted, but not for long. Soon enough he did yet another load with an ink pen left in his pocket. There were red shirts tossed in with the white load and I finally snapped.
"You are no longer allowed to wash clothes!" I yelled.
I think he smiled.
The kitchen is my territory more than the laundry room, because food and clean counters make me exceedingly happy. Knowing this, my dear husband used to sometimes offer to load our dishwasher when the pile in the sink got to be too much. I take my dishwasher seriously, too, and will spend a solid five minutes rearranging the entire thing so that I can fit in one more cup or bowl. So when he loads the dishwasher with one giant item and leaves eight plates stacked up on the counter, steam starts coming from my nose. There were top-rack-only items in the bottom, and a sweaty baseball hat put in with our dishes and I finally snapped.
"You are no longer allowed to load the dishwasher!" I yelled.
I think he smirked.
Taking out the trash has historically been a job for the male of the family. Strong in strength and no fear of odors or frigid mornings, for the most part my husband usually has this simple task and does it without complaining, unlike myself who whines about it whenever I have to do it. It's not that hauling out a trash can and a few recycling bins is difficult, it's just the principle of it all, I think. But I take my recycling very seriously. I check all of the numbers, break down the boxes, rinse out food residue. So when he took out the recycling one morning and mistakenly also put out a giant cardboard box full of flower bulbs that my children sold as a school fundraiser, I wasn't so happy. (Nor were the customers who were kind enough to chalk it up to a donation and empty flower beds.) As you might guess, I finally snapped.
"You are no longer allowed to take out the trash!" I yelled.
I think he grinned.
And then, while hauling things to the curb the next week, I began to plot a little myself. In the future, I just might do a really bad job mowing the lawn or shoveling the driveway or stack wood in a dangerously wobbly fashion. Game on.