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Sunday, September 20, 2009  

Swept Away

Trash and I don't really divide household chores based on gender roles. It's based more on what each of us is good at. For instance, she's much better, not to mention faster, at cleaning and organizing, so that kind of thing typically falls to her. While I, on the other hand, am way better at most video games, so those generally become my responsibility by default.

Another area where my abilities exceed hers is in sweeping. Some time ago, I realized that she lacks the finesse for it. She tends to push down on the broom too hard, causing the bristles to bend back. At the end of her stroke, the bristles spring forward, catapulting the dust and crumbs across the linoleum. This is counterproductive at best, as much as the cats enjoy chasing after them, so I'm happy to be in charge of this task.

Now, the thing about having a four-year-old and cooking at home a lot is that the kitchen floor gets messy in a hurry. It needs sweeping almost every day, sometimes twice. But you know what, I'm not going to schlep the kitchen table and chairs out into the living room every day so I can sweep under them. I'm just not.

So I sweep more around them, generally. I assumed Trash would approve. Does she really want me devoting a half hour of every day to the kitchen floor? She does not.

Then one day during dinner she happened to look down at the floor by her feet. She said to me, "I thought you said you swept in here today?"

"I did," I confirmed.

"What's this down here?" she asked.

Without looking, I assumed she was referring to a few stray crumbs or maybe one of those little drifts of Exie-fur that sometimes spontaneously self-generate and start wandering the house, as though this is his way of trying to have kittens.

"Well, I didn't do a full sweep," I admitted. "More of a partial sweep. I just don't want to do a full sweep every day, you know?"

"That's a sausage," Trash said. Even that might not have been so bad, only we hadn't had sausage for two days.

You never stop working on a marriage, you know. Even having been married eighteen years and one week like we have, there are still things that come up that need to get worked out. The full sweep/partial sweep issue was one of those.

After picking up the sausage (which had clearly exceeded the five-second rule by a factor of several tens of thousands), I explained to Trash my philosophy of the partial sweep versus the full sweep. Partial sweeps were for every day -- literally. Full sweeps are, im theory, for certain circumstances: it's been more than a week since the last full sweep, a catastrophic mess has just occurred, or someone is coming over. Admittedly, in practice, it was more like the "or" in that last sentence was replaced by an "and," and the "someone" was "a celebrity or a social worker."

Trash made a reasonable point, which is that the partial sweep is fine for everyday -- provided it doesn't leave entire servings of food on the floor. In those cases, I should feel free to deploy fingers.

It's worked out well ever since then. My partial sweeps have become fuller, and the full sweeps have become closer together.

Just don't tell her how seldom I move the center island to sweep under there. Even I don't want to know.

posted by M. Giant 9:17 PM 1 comments


How did a full sausage survive on the floor with multiple carnivorous animals in the house?!

By Blogger Kate T., at September 21, 2009 at 9:54 AM  

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