Oct 30, 2013

USH: Unapologetic Suspension of Housekeeping

I recently opened a can of worms labelled 'Things About Me You Wish You didn't know' and the first thing to crawl out was a taste for TFTT. That's 'Tasty Food, Tasteless TV' whenever hubby travels for work. My husband left for 10 days recently and out crawled another revelation: USH or 'Unapologetic Suspension of Housekeeping'.

You know this phenomenon, right? It's when that last pretense of keeping the home in order kind of quietly evaporates. Not that I keep a sparkling home when he's in it either, but at least the laundry pile gets the attention it deserves.

From him.

I add this in the interest of full disclosure and being the generous, open person I am.
And honest. I'm really honest too.

Look, I'll do 'honest' again: as if it isn't noble enough that he keeps us all in clean togs, he also wears the mantle of being the put-away-er. Or is he a putter-away? Putter-away-er?

When I occasionally take a shot at it - and the stars must align just so for this to happen - I usually make neat piles inside the basket. Or on nearby table-tops, on the floor behind the door and other, thoughtful, convenient places. The piles that belong to him, anyway. Mine, I put away. My very valid excuse for his homeless linen is that I don't know his underwear filing system.

Ok, I do - because it's so obvious given his uber neat drawers and closet. But really, that's the point exactly: it's his fault for having everything all so organized because how can I possibly meet those standards? As always, my mediocrity eases his life in comparison: my dresser drawers can always be counted on to greet him with an undaunting, low-stress mess of unmatched socks and tangled unmentionables. All he has to do is toss my stuff in and shove the drawer shut on it all (if he can). If a sock gets caught on the over-stuffed drawer's edge and is left peeking out, I take it as a sign of plenty and smile gently, with warmth and gratitude at the sight. I mean, it's just underwear after all, not the Shroud Of Turin.

Compare, if you will, the pressure on me to fit say, a stack of folded undershirts, into the empty rectangular space left between the neat towers of his under-things. I need to have invested in Edge Matching  and sometimes even then I need to re-visit my Stacking Order! This is not to say that hubby is a Type-A neatnik either. The teetering piles of paper on his desk, at constant war with gravity, are testament to his laid-back ways (and a constant source of frustration to me as I try to figure out just how he stays on top of everything, all the time, given his messiness). I'm even used to gently shutting the study door, on my occasional forays into his territory, to keep his paper towers intact. But move the party to where his clothes live and the landscape totally changes.

While we're there, lets also discuss shirt folding, shall we? Hubby of the Immaculate Closet, does GAP store-window worthy tri-folds wherein collars retain their upright form (not flopping listlessly any which way) and stay respectably in place. The buttons line up obediently just below while arms are tucked away symmetrically (no bulges!) on either side. Do you realise this means that buttons must be buttoned?! ALL OF THEM! Not just the first and last one so the stupid shirt panels line up. Also, it significantly increases Stack Height (technical term) and now only 4 out of the 7 freshly laundered shirts will slide into the drawer. What am I supposed to do with the stragglers then? Spawn extra hangers, undo hours of work and trek into the wilds of the closet where other items of clothing have ended their misery by hanging?!

Of course, I have no objection to him treating my shirts this way. After all, one strives to craft an inclusive community where other peoples' personal preferences are respected even when they are divergent from ones own. And if it suits him to slip a few perfumed drier sheets in between my shirts when stacking, I mustn't complain either. Now that I think about it, he's never done this. But I'm sure he means to so I think I'll quietly hand him the box of drier sheets next time he's at it. Also a gentle suggestion that his dearly beloved will be a much more pleasant experience in the dark hours of early morn when she's chivvying their sleepy, grumpy son to get ready for school if 'Lavender Meadow' was wafting off her person instead of coffee fumes inadequately masked by Spearmint toothpaste. It's the small things in life that matter the most, after all.

Anyway, burdened as I am with the inhuman pressure of living with a Laundry Pro, when he is away for a while, I strive to uphold the legacy but often slip. On his recent 10 day long trip, I thought I'd pay him a tribute by doing the laundry that had piled up in the basement. Plus our son had run out of undies and I wanted to save the 'just turn them inside-out' tip for the college years when I'll really hate doing his laundry. (He won't stay sweet smelling for ever, the grapevine informs me.) So I braved the cobwebs in the basement and trekked down, engaging a Daddy Long-legs the size of a baseball to get to the detergent. Aside: I really must get down there more often with that can of Raid that Laundry Dude won't let me usually use. I'll take my chances with cancer in the distant future over having monsters lurking in the basement. No one has proven to me yet that they won't eat people when all the flies are gone.

Over said 10 days I diligently hauled 3 loads of fresh smelling linen up 2 floors, revelling in my industriousness. Every time, I rewarded myself with a well earned cocktail and re-runs of Season 1 of 'Downton Abbey' (that Lady Mary SO needs to be taken down a few notches. Just wait until you meet the hot Turk, Mary...he'll show ya!). Lest you think I'm not a person of unwavering determination, let me clarify that the shows were just soundtrack for folding and stacking. Incidentally, have you noticed a good cocktail requires a snack to go with? And that it leaves no hands free for other tasks, like say, folding laundry? I've noticed that too.

Then came my 2nd consecutive weekend of single-parenting, bookending a week of the same in which karate, soccer, a head cold (me) and a night of vomitting (him) happened. I spent the weekend running our son around to various enriching seasonal events like his soccer league game, school Halloween party, Diwali play rehearsal, a play date, the mechanics to renew my very-expired inspection sticker (What? Comes once a year - that's seasonal!) etc. Then I touched up the chipped paint on our living room walls, let down all the storm windows, turned on the heat and picked the last tomatoes from the garden. The green unripe ones for a curry, red ones for pasta sauce - both headed for the freezer and to feed us during a deadly winter storm when we get trapped inside and might otherwise have to resort to eating the spiders in the basement. Or each other. You'll agree I had reason to pat myself on the back come Sunday night as I looked at a gleaming kitchen, stocked freezer, organized toy bins, straightened out coat closet and........3 tangled piles of clean laundry hiding behind the bedroom door.


I'm on season 2 of Downton Abbey now, we are all out of vodka and hubby's undershirts are respectably folded. When he returns tonight to the good ol hearth he will be greeted by clean clothes, gently scented with a unique bouquet of Lavender and Raid.

Under the desk, in his study.

Because from now on I'm adopting the USH way of life: Unapologetic Suspension of Housekeeping. The alternative is a terrible thing to behold.

Oyonisms (almost 7):
As we drive past a gas station: Gulf is 100 year old now, you know
Me: Huh? Who?
Oyon: Gulf. You know, like the 'Gulf of Mexico'?
Me: I'm pretty sure the Gulf of Mexico is older than that. Do you mean the gas station?
Oyon: Of course, I mean the gas station! 'Gulf of Mexico' is how they like you to pronounce their name.

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