Airing it out…

It’s all about the laundry, you know.

My husband and I had a “spat” last night… yup, the good ‘ole grab-the-keys-and-stomp-out-of-the-room kind… and nope, I’m not the one who fled‑he did. It had to do with laundering clothes. He is in the habit of grabbing all of the washables, and by the armload, dumping them onto the patio (which is where our washer and dryer are situated). Then, as the clothes leisurely make their way through the wash, spin and rinse cycles, and the fluff and dry cycles, aided and abetted by said husband, days (usually at least a week) transpire. By this time, a number of my more choice clothing pieces have sustained weather damage. Who’d think that a bit of sun and wind will do anything? It’s not like it’s winter… or there’s torrential rain, and yet, a favorite corduroy top has become sun-bleached through this process, not to mention the many clothes that have become ripped in the overladen washing machine, or shrunk beyond recognition in the dryer. Ah yes… the struggle of laundry. And folks at work wonder why my “business appropriate” clothing is not quite up to snuff.

So… last night, as he was dragging the laundry hampers outside onto the patio, I stopped him. I asked him to sort out enough laundry for a load and to do a load at a time.

[A tangent here: why is it that the most intelligent people somehow manage to revert to the hamster-running-‘round-on-the-wheel instinct when they do some things? Why are we all so resistant to doing things in a way different from what we’ve become accustomed to, no matter how ‘outgrown’ the process, even if we may perhaps recognize the logic behind the newly introduced way? My parents taught me to do things in a certain way. It was of their opinion that they’d pretty much exhausted all possibilities and come up with the best way. More often than not (having tried the other alternatives), I’d have to say that they were right, and conceded to their greater wisdom, through trial and error. Why work hard when you can work smart?]

He told me to stuff it (or at least that’s what my son said he told me, because I was halfway down the hall, hauling back the hamper into the bathroom and must have missed that remark, or maybe I’ve become desensitized, who could tell?). Then he did the grab-the-keys thing and disappeared. At least a half hour must have elapsed before I decided to track him down. The cell phone went directly into voicemail, so I made my way down the stairs in search of his truck. He was in the garage, installing the bike hooks he’d purchased about three weeks ago and clearing up the garage area. I told him that the scene we just had was lame; he said something about everything always having to be done the way I want; I said something about him never listening to what I ask and then was at a loss for further words. This is the way our conversations go. They’ve gone this way for as long as I can remember, even in therapy. The therapist had said that we don’t listen to each other. No shit.

When we were first married, he humored me every Saturday by assisting me with the cleaning. I’d tell him what his part was, and then he’d do it. I’d go so far as to demonstrate and pick out which cleaning products were to be used. At first he protested that I was being too controlling, that if it wasn’t done my way, it wasn’t done right. So, I’d bite my lip and let him have at it, and then sometimes, discretely, tidy up behind him. After several months of this, he decided one Saturday morning to inform me that weekends were play time, and that this cleaning business was seriously cutting into his leisure time, and so, he wasn’t going to do it anymore. I was floored. What does one say to that? I pondered whether I was maybe a bit too much of a clean freak (which, incidentally, I was cured of, if that was ever the case). Apparently the concept of “cleanliness is next to Godliness” was never hammered into his psyche. Nor did he have a mother who followed him into his room with gloves to see if the dusting had been properly done.

Hmmm… so… married couples are supposed to have longer lifespans, eh? Perhaps the aggravation keeps the heart pumping, when aerobic exercise ceases to be an option.

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