Thursday, February 17, 2005

Can I make an observation?

In this house, it is an ill-wind that brings the words "Can I make an observation?"

I don't know why the observer never learns that in uttering that phrase, he or she might as well grab a sharp fiery stick and prod the soft underbelly of the observee.

"Can I make an observation" usually means: " I am about to say something I don't think you really want to hear, but I am going to say it anyway, although I will try to frame it in neutral tones so I sound more like an interested passer-by than an accusatory asshole, even though in this context I really am an accusatory asshole."

It doesn't help when the observer picks a particularly bad moment to start making such "observations". Take this morning, for example. There I was, standing in front of the closet doing that work-wear crisis thing, feeling especially bloated and cranky.

Actually, bloated doesn't begin to cover it. I feel like every ounce of moisture in my body has suddenly migrated to my lower belly region where it has congealed in one gigantic pooch of misery. On days like this, where comfy boy-jeans or oversized combats are out of the question, all I can do is scrabble around the wardrobe for one of my pairs of drawstring fat pants.

I have two pairs of these trousers, both of which are vile and heinous. The hems are too too long and drag on the ground. Also, I was finding that the drawstring tended to make my shirt bunch up in the front in a weird position over the pooch. So I cut the string off altogether, and now the pants just sort of hang in a limp manner below around my waist region. I say "waist region" because I am short waisted to the point that for all intents and purposes that part of my body barely exists.

Anyway, there I am, late, blemished, waterlogged and crabbit. I ask you, is this a good moment for E. to come up to me and say, "Can I make an observation?" No. No, it really is the worst possible choice of timing.

"What?" I snapped.

"This is a really messy house. I mean, there is stuff everywhere all the time. It's dusty. The counter tops are covered with stuff. It's messy."

"Well, I guess the fucking CLEANING FAIRY hasn't shown up this week then," I roared as E. beat a hasty retreat into the shower. I flipped him the bird, threw on my fat pants and stormed out of the house, wearing too much lipstick to compensate for the appalling state of my skin.

I've been stewing and mulling over about this all day. I know that there was probably nothing personal in the comment- E. was not intending to cast aspersions on my housekeeping skills, but GGGRRRRR AARRRGH, it irritated me. Especially since I can't remember the last time I saw him with a feather duster in his hand. Especially since I went into the kitchen straight after and it was all his crap all over the counter! Especially since, in all honesty, not a messy house. It's really not.

What this makes me think about is "The Deal". You know, the way couples negotiate the division of household labor, or even labour as we call it here, adorning it with an extra "u" for good measure. Everybody has to adapt to their particular circumstances, and almost everyone I know does their best to figure out what works best for them as a team, as a pair.

Our deal is fairly well set. We never sat down and agreed it- it just happened, due to our strange living situation. We both work demanding, full time jobs. E. does most of the grocery shopping (because he usually has the car) and most of the cooking because he likes it (and because despite my best intentions, I am really crap at it). He does all the chores involving the other flat. At the moment he also does almost all the commuting back and forth. And I do pretty much everything else here. The laundry. The bills. The ironing. The dishes. All the cleaning.

But sometimes, when I am having a very busy week at work, stuff slips. Only human, I tell myself. Despite best superhuman efforts, still only human.

I really would like to figure out a way to balance the juggling act a little better- to take better care of myself, of E., of us, and of our home. I can't see how I can do that unless we try a radical shift, like me working part-time. I'm just not ready to do that yet, for all sorts of reasons.

I suspect a more immediate solution might involve E. picking up his own goddamn socks for a change, but in all fairness to him, I think he has a lot on his plate as well. Which means something else might have to give. But what? There is not much give left, for either of us. At the end of the day, most of my remaining energy is sucked dry by the spectre of infertility. Leaving me exhausted and indifferent to the invading hoards of dust bunnies, those wispy barbarians now laying siege to my home.

10 Comments:

At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Growing up, whenever I heard the words, "Let me ask you something," from my father, I knew that in his casual tone that he was going to do something that would piss me off. He still does it to this day and can't understand why I get so upset.

My husband is immune to dirt, so it take a lot to get him to make a comment like that (and truthfully, with the mood I'm in, he knows that if ever made a comment like that that I would probably spit nails at him, so he refrains). One time, I felt bad because the house was so messy that I thought for sure that those british chicks that come in and make you feel bad about your messy house would be making a house call and I said to my husband, "The bathroom is such a mess and I'm much too depressed to clean it." Instead of taking the hint and saying, "I'll do it honey", he instead says, not even looking up from his book, "Don't worry honey, I can go a lot longer before it would ever bother me." Sigh. Anyway you can afford a housekeeper even for just say evey other month to do heavy cleaning? I find that can really help the stress level a lot. You've got enough on your plate just trying to make a living and deal with infertility, which does suck out everything out of you.

xxoo,
Emily

 
At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. What IS it with blogger? It takes forever for me to make comments and sometimes won't let me at all. The wait is painful to the point it's the equivalent of waiting for the HPT to turn into two lines (which we all know in my case, ain't happening). Ahem, just had to throw my annoyance at blogger out there.

Emily

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger Wavery said...

Get out the vaseline.

 
At 3:16 AM, Blogger Soper said...

The cleaning fairy will come for 20 quid (or so) a week, and E. can damn well pay for her if he wants the house to be cleaner.

Oh, and I think D and I have caught the flu. So don't expect any funny from me for at least a week, I'm outta commission.

 
At 4:59 AM, Blogger DeadBug said...

We lurrrrve our Cleaning Fairy, though I am still mortified that someone cleans our toilet for us.

Sounds like you two are at your limits, time-wise. Hope the stress backs the hell off one of these days soon.

And I know I'm a day late, but I wanted to extend my sympathy on the arrival of the bloody bitch yesterday.

--Bugs

 
At 3:58 PM, Blogger Baby Hungry Man said...

timely post - It's clean the house day for me here at baby hungry manor.

Its amazing how much filth two adults, two dogs and a cat can generate in a week. That said, the messiness of the house does seem to peak the less we are able deal with it.

rolling in my own filth and wishing you forebearance,
BHM

 
At 5:18 PM, Blogger dish said...

We're a two-person-working household, too, and it sucks for keeping things in order. Especially when you're running in the door only to leave right away and things just get left there-anywhere. We are trying, trying, trying to commit to each item having a "home" and making sure that if we take it out of the home, we put it back. We're still on the "find it a home" phase- should be interesting to see how long this lasts.

Good luck with the dust-bunnies! They're actually quite nice if you train them well.

 
At 6:09 PM, Blogger Pamplemousse said...

OK, 4 things:

1: Sorry the fricking witch found you. You are entitled to be crabbit!
2: To hell with the dust!
3: The Cleaning Fairy is living with Pollyanna and Hope yucking it up right this moment at you.
4: Does E really think the right time to draw attention to his own muck is just after your period arrives? Is he mental???

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger Patry Francis said...

Who has time to clean with all these great blogs to read? Great post.

 
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