Monday, October 08, 2007

Christie Asks: Just Like Hunting?

I spoke to my mom over the weekend about her husband’s recent angioplasty. (Is that right? She can never get the names right of procedures. It’s the one where they put stents in.) Anyhow, in the middle of this detailed discussion of the location of the procedure (no, not on his body, I mean geographically, in San Francisco) and the difficulties in parking and her worries over security as she left the hospital late at night for the underground garage down the street, she also told me about his post-op instructions. One in particular stood out in her mind.

He was not to do any vacuuming for two weeks.

Mom was startled. Was the doctor (very cute, we both should marry him she said, and not just cute cute, but cute and distinguished) a mind-reader? How did he know that vacuuming is her darling hubby’s one and only contribution to the process of cleaning house? Well, cute and distinguished M.D. said, "I know from experience with my patients. That’s the only housework that men ever do."

So I started sifting through my mind. Now, I usually like my blogs to relate to romance books in some way, so I started thinking if any of my heroes ever showed signs of any kind of cleaning. Um, no. I think I usually mention a weekly service they use for their own home. And then there was once where I had the hero scraping the hull of his boat. I’ve had heroes who worked in a bar and I remember them wiping things down and putting chairs on tabletops. But even they never got close to actual cleaning—but if I did write a scene with guys doing something around the home…yeah, it would probably be vacuuming.

In my own life, with a husband and two sons, I must admit vacuuming is the only chore that I’ve regularly given them besides emptying the dishwasher. Which is a shame, I realize now, when they should be regularly cleaning the bathrooms, and we all know why.

So what’s the reason that vacuuming is the provenance of men? Is it like hunting in some way? You know, the wide field, the sweeping back and forth looking for prey, er dust bunnies… I do see it as the closest household task to mowing the lawn, so maybe that’s why it’s regularly assigned to men.

What’s your take? And what household cleaning chores have the men in your life routinely accomplished?


Candace said...

It's the power tools. Vaccuming requires big, noisy power tools. That's why men will do it when they will do nothing else.

When my dh retired (18 months ago), he took over floor care at our house. Because we have mostly tile and wood floors with wall-to-wall only in the bedrooms, that mean mopping, too.

Except... he doesn't use a mop. He went out to Sam's Club and bought a big, honking, electric "mop" with rotating heads that squirts water/cleaning solution on the floor, scrubs, and sucks it up.

I swear, if we could figure out how to involve power tools in cleaning the bathroom, men would do that, too.

Michele Hauf said...

Ha! Oh, ladies, I got a hubby that does toilet scrubbing. I just use the big innocent doe-eyes and the fact that my teeny-eeny muscles just never seem to get it clean. And ohhh, look at his big strong muscles. I bet he could clean it like that!

And he does. :-)

Works for the shower walls, too.

But no vaccuming. Of course, we have hardwood and ceramic tile floors throughout.

Now, this is why it works. You know, we women, we never forget a thing, right? Of course not, because even if it doesn't pertain to life right now, we know if we file it away, we'll be able to use it sooner or later.
So, at the beginning of our marriage, the hubby would laugh when I balked at doing something distasteful, like washing dishes or scrubbing toilets, or yeah, cleaning up kid puke. He'd just say, "Ha, I'm from the farm. You should see the things we used to do. That's nothing."
Oh yeah? Well if it doesn't bother you, then you can do it.



Debra Dixon said...

At the risk of being run out of town on a rail, Saint Hubby does all the cooking. The laundry. Cleans the kitchen. Takes out the garbage. Vacuums, of course. Takes the animals to the vet. And pitches in with all the other cleaning.

He also golfs every Sunday, has bowling league once a week, takes guitar lessons weekly, and spends time down at the local hot rod shop because he's rebuilding a Chevelle down there.

Hey! As long as my house is reasonable clean, I pat him on the head and say, "Have a nice time, honey."

Betina Krahn said...

Wow, Deb, we should all be taking lessons from you!

My husband used to do vacuuming and laundry. The boys hated it because he did everything together. . . all at once. . . whites and colors together. . . so they often had pink tightie-whities and sport socks. UGH. I was just grateful it got DONE. He also helped with bathroom fixtures at times-- like when cleaning for a party or for overnight guests. He was the one who insisted on installing an in-house vac system. . . which he paid for with the $1000 bonus that came from a patent he got! But I adored that system. . . it was a BEAM and was terrific. Wish I had one now!

My sweetie is a major cook and will even clean up after himself. He's extremely neat and straightens things, but he doesn't vacuum. He will do laundry at times and knows how to separate color from white. He keeps the cars maintenanced and spotless and full of gas. . . also proof-reads for me. Now that's a MAN.

Betina Krahn said...

Oh and he also takes care of the pool and power-washes the pool deck regularly. So he's my pool boy, too!

Christie Ridgway said...

Ah, I do see the lure of power, Candace! We have a shop vac a blower and a power washer, all which the dh loves to operate. The kids mow the lawn with the gas mower.

Christie Ridgway said...

Laundry! Wow. You that get men to do the laundry are Actually, I just read something in the paper that the local college calls the 2nd week of the fall term "Pink Week" because the kids (young men AND young women) have yet to learn to separate.

I actually like to cook, though I get tired of thinking up what we should have. The dh pitches in and does a fine job with something grilled, rice, and salad.

Michele Hauf said...

Pink Week, I love it! Never heard of it, but makes sense. My kids wash their own clothes, because they know Mom is the one who will probably send back pink undies and socks. And of course, I don't mind that at all. :-)

lois greiman said...

Men can vacuum!!!!! Wait until I tell them!

Christie Ridgway said...

Lois: Tell them that it involves power and requires lots of muscles. They'll be right on it!

YvonneLindsay said...

The reason I prefer my dh to vacuum is purely because he does it better. He shifts furniture, I don't. When I vacuum its a kiss and a promise job (albeit on a very regular basis) but when he does it... wow! What really bugs me is when he regales our kids with stories of how he was never allowed to leave the house until he'd done all the chores his mother had set for him every Saturday, i.e. clean the bathroom, wash the floors (kitchen/toilet/bathroom), mow the back lawn (his brother did the front), and tidy his room. I just shake my head and ask 'why did all that have to stop?'

Christie Ridgway said...

Yvonnelindsay: My husband's family had a live-in from the time he turned two. Oh, man, was I worried he'd be too spoiled.

Well, he still has to be nagged to make a bed, but all-in-all, he's a very hardworker.

Your dh moves the furniture when vacuuming! Fab guy. Now let's see if you can nudge him to just do one other of the chores he did for his mom. (Though I'm thinking that might be an embellishment intended to show your kids how good they have it--along the lines of the mile long walk to school in the snow.)

Helen Brenna said...

Yvonne just busted my theory that my husband's mother did everything for him. Funny, he doesn't like power tools either. Hmm. I think you guys have something there.

I want Deb's husband. Watch out next time I come to town, sweetie!!

byrdloves2read said...

My husband has never done housework - bad back injury from the war - but we always hired someone to clean while I was working. Once I retired I figured I ought to be able to keep up with it. A year and a half later, he suggested we pay a cleaner again. Bless his heart!

Dara said...

Lucky Deb! Mine cleans the kitchen after I cook (he appreciated my cooking because his mother is a lousy cook!) He never vacuums due to dust allergies, but does all the ironing, which I hate to do. So, it all works out in the end!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Eat your heart out, guys. The cowboy is a jack of all trades, and mine--being an Indian cowboy--grew up in boarding schools. He's always been better about cleaning up after himself than I am. I'm not allowed to do his laundry because no fugitive red sock ever finds its ways into the washer on his watch. He has no red socks.

He will, however, admit that when it comes to deep, thorough cleaning. I'm better at it than he is. I'm obsessive once I get going. I'll keep at it until every layer is completely disinfected and I'm wiped out.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Byrd, my dh hired a cleaner, too, a gesture that led to peace and harmony in the nest.

YvonneLindsay said...

Christie, my dh was born in Northern Rhodesia and until they came to New Zealand they had household and garden help. I reckon my m-i-l was just so used to ordering people around to get the kind of spic and span home she loved, and was proud of, that when they came here it was only natural she'd order her menfolk around. Ha!

Helen, my dh is a total power tool junkie, but he loves working with his hands with old fashioned tools too. I think he's just a tool junkie, come to think of it.

Byrd, your guy, and Kathleen's, sound like absolute gems. I'd be happy enough, though, if someone just kept up with the ironing and folding that breeds and multiplies in the laundry. My youngest is pretty good but wretched school and sport interfere all the time!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I suppose I shouldn't complain--the cowboy is handy with power tools, including the vaccuum, and he's a pretty good carpenter--but why can't he figure out the toilet paper holder? And if a light bulb burns out we'll sit in the dark until I change it.

I wonder how many cowboys it would take to change a lightbulb? That's a sight I want to see. All those W's...

Christie Ridgway said...

Okay, is it just me, or can Kathleen's cowboy do anything (or nothing at all) and he'd make me happy. He sounds wonderful.

Byrd: I bless your dh's heart too! A year ago this month, my dh had his second back surgery in three's still not right. He has to be very careful of what he does. Consequently, I actually do a lot more (stuff like getting the garbage cans out when the kids don't do it), but I tell myself it's all burning calories.