Saturday, October 30, 2010

What Won't You Do?

by Jo Robertson

When I was a young mother, I visited my sister in northern Virginia. We stopped at a gas station to fill up and she asked if I would do the honors. I did so, got back in the car, and said, "I can show you how to fill up the tank if you don't know how."

My sister is very petite. She's barely five feet tall, but incredibly independent and rather ferocious when she wants to be.

She looked hard at me and said, "Oh, Jo, I know how to fill up the gas tank. I just like to maintain the illusion that I don't, so my husband will do it for me."

Now, there's not a truly deceptive bone in my sis's body, so I -- a true California independent woman -- was amazed at her subterfuge. She claimed she had no intention of ever putting gas in her -- or any other -- car.
There were plenty of other meaningful chores to occupy her time. She's also one of the most efficiently aggressive housekeepers I've ever known, always has a well-balanced hot meal on the table (even though there are only the two of them now and no longer the four children she raised), and maintains a well-stocked food supply in her larder and freezer, lest we should be attacked by aliens and be without water and other necessities at some point in the future.

I began thinking about the things I refuse to do or conveniently allow Dr. Big to do. Here's my list:

1. Yard work -- I see no redeeming quality about ploughing my fingers into Mother Nature's bosom to dig up weeds or in pushing a lawn mower around our massive backyard. I don't like to sweat unless it's on the treadmill.

2. Change a light bulb -- Any idiot can perform this menial task, but I've learned well from my big sis and convinced Dr. Big that (a) I'm too short or (b) I'm too dim-witted to change a light bulb. However, he seems rather to enjoy this little job.

3. Run the vacuum cleaner -- This is Dr. Big's own fault. I warned him when he bought that big-ass 200 pound vacuum that I would not push it around my deep piled carpet.

4. Open the mail -- Unless the mail is addressed directly to me in someone's handwriting, I figure it's junk and belongs where all junk goes.

5. Write letters in long hand -- God made email for a good reason.

On the other hand, I love to do these things:
1. Change the paper towel dowel or toilet paper dowel with surprising regularity -- This is a very good thing because Dr. Big seems anatomically incapable of doing either.

2. Iron -- There's something very soothing about ironing although I seldom do it any more. Many of you have agreed with me on this.

3. Bake -- Bread, cakes, cookies, candy, pies, love, love, love baking, not so much with the regular cooking.

4. Clean toilets -- mainly because dirty ones gross me out.

5. Write -- Seriously, I can spend hours and hours on writing a book when the going is fluid and smooth and comes out of my brain and fingers like a gift from God. Shiver.

What about you? What's on your refuse-to-do list?
What chores do you get husband, brother, father, or son to do for you?
What household chores do you enjoy doing? Any weird hobbies or pasttimes?


Jane said...

I don't vacuum either, but I do change the light bulbs and open the mail. I don't mind doing the laundry and dishes. I'll even sweep the floor, but I don't mop. I don't scrub the oven or clean out the fridge.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

I grew up very independent and didn't want to ever have to depend on a man for anything. I love my husband dearly and he will do whatever I need done, but I don't ask him to do things for me that I can do myself unless I'm ill or away from home. I'm just that way. The only thing that I can think of that I point him toward is dead animal disposal, like when our mole trap catches a mole. This is mainly because I have a very sensitive gag reflex and would most likely end up tossing some cookies in the yard.

Daz said...

Jane, have fun with the GR today.

The DH does most of the chores around the house - laundry and taking out the trash. I do kitchen things, though he helps out with dishes too. The cleaners do the cleaning. Pumping gas he always does if he's in the car. I do it on my own if I'm driving without him.

That said, I used to sort of help out with the laundry too until I accidentally (I will continue to swear it was a genuine mistake) put a dirty load in to wash without first taking out the clean load and the clean load got washed again. The DH was most exasperated with me. From that time on, he took over the laundry and does it all, right down to my hosiery and underthings. He still claims I did it on purpose.

The only thing I never, never, never do is carry bags - shopping bags, grocery bags, travel bags. You name it, I don't carry it. I was just walking down the street today, completely empty handed and the DH was walking alongside me loaded down with 3 HUGE shopping bags from our trip out. I had the thought that I would be in a lot of trouble if the DH was not around and there were bags to be carried. Woe unto me!!!

jo robertson said...

Whooo hoooo, Jane! You're my kinda gal in the vacuum department. So, who does it for you?

Congrats on getting the rooster. Maybe HE'LL do the vacumming LOL.

Ooh, I forgot laundry. I love to do laundry too. I think it's because I can watch TV while I fold it.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Trish. Whoa, you are up way too late on the "right" side of the country.

LOL on the dead animal disposal. I freely confess to being very independently "helpless" when it suits me. Dr. Big's of the generation (not I, of course) that likes to be the "man" of the house, but like my girls say, "We know who's really boss."

I do, however, wish I knew more about cars, besides checking the tire pressure or filling the tank. I'd really like to be more mechanical.

jo robertson said...

Daz, your hubby does laundry?? That's great. Has he made any really bad snafu's?

When we were first married, all of Dr. Big's underwear was pink. Yep, red shirt, white clothes, mixed in a commercial washer.

jo robertson said...

Daz, hilarious stories. I'm siding with your husband on the laundry situation. And carrying bags? More power to you, sister!

Donna MacMeans said...

I'm like Trish. I don't do animal disposal, but that's about the only thing I won't do -- and I suppose if I had too, I'd manage to do that as well. My husband normally does the outside chores, but if he's out of town, I'll cut the grass. If we need to clean the house for company, I'll do everything that needs to be done as will he. We make a good team.

Cath's Chatter said...

LOL...I refuse to mow lawns or 'cut grass' as most Americans say. We have a push mower and a ride on and I have never touched either, its called MANual labour for a reason!!!!!!

Helen said...

Well done Jane have fun with him

With me if I can get someone else to do anything for me I will LOL, but seriously I do not like putting petrol in the car either if I really have to I will but normally hubby does that for me he also cooks dinner 5 nights a week while I am at work and after 14 years of mowing the lawn (after Hubby's surgery) I now pay someone to do it for me I just couldn't keep up with working 40 hours a week doing housework and doing the lawn so something had to give LOL.

Hubby does what he can and then I have to do the rest although i do get my children to change light bulbs for me because I really don't like climbing up on things either.

Have Fun

Daz said...

Jo, believe it or not, the DH has never made any big snafus. He even sorts by color to wash - blacks, whites, bright colors, light colors, reds and of course, sheets are separate. On top of that, all my clothes are line dry only (as decreed by moi!) so he has to hang every single stocking, panty, bra and everything else. He does it most patiently with the odd good natured grumble. Yes, the DH is a treat!

Daz said...

I also do not do wildlife in the house. Once there was a frog in the toilet and I freaked out. The DH was overseas (in Korea, I think) and I rang him completely beside myself, not knowing what to do. He thought it was hilarious and had a great laugh with his colleagues as I rang while they were out to dinner, while he explained the frog removal procedure - involving rubber gloves (flushing did not work)to me. Fortunately, we no longer live in the sticks and wildlife does not visit the 17th floor apartment I'm currently living in. *grin*

barb said...

well Done Jane

I suppose I am a bit independent... I used to mow lawns in my younger days as DH used to work long hours and needed a rest on Sundays LOL... haven't done them for a few years ... I don't mind putting petrol in the car... I have been known to take his and fill up .... I don't mind doing the laundry but not too happy about the ironing.... not too happy with housework and shopping either but I do it...

Susan Sey said...

Hey, Jo--

I refuse to clean the bathrooms. I mean, I'll DO it--I have little kids, so I need to--but given my druthers, I'll just wait for my husband to do it. He's a very hairy man, & hairy men shed, & I just don't care to deal with that.

Nuff said. :-)

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Unlike you Jo I do not iron, I have one somewhere I am sure but I also won't take the time to find it.

Other than that I do everything else. I don't have to mow the lawn any longer but sometimes I do just because I can and I got a neat lawn mower with a bag, and it is self propelled. Still paying on that but it was worth it.

Cybercliper said...

I don't do yard work mostly because DH does not want me to play with his 'toys'. The thing I won't do is anything with the fuse box - electricity scares me to death so if a fuse pops I'll head for a candle and wait for DH.

I do like scrubbing though. I find it calming and if I come home from work and start scrubbing, DH leaves me to it because he knows I'm working through something.

jo robertson said...

Yay, Team MacMean!

LOL, Cath'sChatter, on the MANual labor. I'd never heard that one. I'll be sure to keep it in mind. Every once in a while my husband teases me about mowing the lawn. We have an electric mower so I'm sure it isn't too hard. It's the edging that gets me. Dr. Big keeps the yard looking quite nice.

jo robertson said...

How nice that your husband is able to cook for you, Helen. That'd be worth its weight in gold to me. I'd be willing to do just about anything for that -- except mow lawns, ha ha.

jo robertson said...

Wow, Daz, you've got a keeper there. I don't think I could pay or trick my husband into hanging clothes on the line. I used to do it back in the day when I didn't have a dryer, but more often than not I forgot about the clothes, it'd rain or them and I'd have to start all over!

jo robertson said...

Daz said, "while he explained the frog removal procedure."

I'll bet they got a lot of laughs out of that phone call, Daz. Hilarious! We get the occasional slug crawling up through the pipes into the shower, but that's about it.

Seventeenth floor!! I hope you have a sturdy elevator.

jo robertson said...

Barb said, "I don't mind doing the laundry but not too happy about the ironing.... not too happy with housework and shopping either but I do it..."

Do you think it's because those household chores are so repetitive and endless that we don't like them?

I trained my children early to do lots of chores like cleaning the toilets. Of course, they were thrilled at first to be able to do such a grownup job!

jo robertson said...

Susan said, "He's a very hairy man, & hairy men shed, & I just don't care to deal with that."

ROTFLMAS, Susan! Why is it that someone else's hair seems gross, but our own, not so much.

My middle daughter has so much hair it takes over the earth. Growing up, she always left hair stuck to the floor with hair spray. With three girls, there was a lotta hair hanging around.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Dianna! I think I found your iron LOL.

I'm waiting for the kind of mower that can be operated from remote control inside the house!

jo robertson said...

Cybercliper said, "DH does not want me to play with his 'toys'."

Hmmmmm, doesn't sound like all the men I know LOL.

Ooooh, I'd forgotten the fuse box. That's a tricky one. I THINK I know where it is LOL, and I have flipped the switches over when the power went off, but I'm a bit leery of electricity too.

Yes, cleaning furiously is a good way to work through issues.

catslady said...

Actually I rarely put gas in the car either lol. I have done it only a handful of times and only under desperation. I always do something wrong lol. I will not cut the grass because the mower is impossible to start and too hard to push. I use to do all the other yard work which is quite a bit because we have an entire hillside. I did it all by hand too. Then one year he got impatient and trimmed things with a weed wacker and I right then and there refused to ever trim a bush again. Ok I've done a few but not very much and I will help him clean up lol. I have nothing to do with the cars. But other than that, I think I do everything else. Oh, yes - if he is around he has to kill the spiders lol.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Catslady, thanks for stopping by.

LOL on your husband killing the spiders. He likes that, huh? One of my grandsons won't let us squish the spiders. We have to scoop them up and gently deposit them outside. This is tricky because northern California is the country's spider haven!