Division of labour

It is important to have skills, as well as the knowledge of whether, or not, to use them. I would like to think that I play to my strengths in this regard, though folk who know me would probably say that ‘play’ rates higher than ‘strengths’. It would be a fair comment.

Neither my wife nor I are particularly fond of housework, reckoning that Life is too short for compulsive cleaning, and that time sans duster may even be prolonged with a little healthy immunity garnered from exposure to the odd germ. Probably the 1% not blitzed by a well-known cleaning product.

Chores do seem to happen, often by the ‘Oh-my-God-there’s-folk-turning-up-for-a-week-in four-hours-so-we’d-best-get-tidying’ technique. The more mundane tasks of daily living occur by the democratic process of who is most available. Certainly, our evening meal tends to be cooked by whichever one of us is first through the door.

It may well be that my only actual skill is waking up early. For this reason, most mornings it is I who stumbles through the house, between bedroom and kitchen, to fire up the kettle and brew a pot of tea for us both. I suspect that the vacuum cleaner is registered in my name, too, especially as I was given special dispensation to purchase a second machine for the garage and our cars.

Thinking back to the cooking, I have also been elected as rice-steamer-in-chief. Everyone deserves their fifteen minutes of fame, eh?

All these domestic situations came to mind this morning, shortly after the contents of the airing cupboard had suspiciously materialised on our bed. I set to, grouping clothes and underwear by type and owner’s gender. And it is here that I remember the shortfall in my skill set. I am allowed to put away my beloved’s knickers and bras, but on no account must I try to file her socks. Pairing is tolerated, presumably as the essential mahjong-ness of the task is good therapy to avert early onset dementia but, on pain of death, I must not try to guess which of the three sock drawers would be the most suitable repository for individual pairs. Nuh-uh.

Windows are my preserve, too. Both as in cleaning the glass inside and out, as well as computer maintenance.

Some tasks can be achieved together, but in all honesty, both of us would acknowledge that this isn’t our strong suit. Changing the bedding is a case in point, with strong opinions regarding the insertion of the duvet into its cover, not to mention the final orientation (it’s nearly, but not quite, square). Still, if we come to blows, the pillows are handily nearby.

If our far-travelling guests for the festive season are reading this, I hope that it has lessened your concerns about the prospective baggage handlers’ strike at some UK airports, on the basis that you’re now more worried to learn that we won’t begin the week’s chores until 1pm on Friday.

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