my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?

8.01.2005

Domestic Scorekeeping


The dynamics of living with someone are interesting, in a morbidly fascinating kind of way. Like the extent to which one (ok, I) will go to justify not wanting to do something because -- well, because I don't want to.

This is where the arcane principles of domestic scorekeeping come in. I initially learned a variant of this in counseling during my first marriage. There the therapist merely referred to it as "points" and "keeping score." He didn't really delve into the art and science of it -- and that situation was much less benign than the one I'll describe for you.

There are a certain number of tasks that need to be performed to keep a household running semi-smoothly. (For gracious living, you need to add a whole other level of tasking, or hire a servant.) Anyway, these tasks include laundry and its folding, vacuuming and dusting, meal preparation, bathroom and kitchen cleaning, grocery shopping and pet care (which includes walking, watering and feeding the pooch). Each of these jobs are worth points in your and your partner's minds.

If you are like me, and I know I am, you will pull out a small subset of tasks that you don't particularly mind and start hyping them as much, much more complicated -- and pointworthy --than they really are.

Meal preparation is the easiest to build points on. Most men don't cook and will respond favorably to not having to -- PLUS if you make a lot of noise while slicing and dicing, frying and mixing, it looks a whole lot more arduous than it is. Throw in some deep sighs and some homemade baked goods ... and you've got justification for wildly disproportionate points being assigned to cooking.

My other domestic scoring secret is laundry. I mean, what does it consist of? You sort the clothes, put them in a machine, transfer them to another machine ... but here's the point building part: you have to FOLD THEM. Here's where physicality and deep sighs again become important. Do the various loads and then stack them in an obvious place so that it looks like a veritable mountain-o-apparel.

Stall on folding them until all the other clothes are dry so that the task looks absolutely insurmountable. (Careful, though. A certain amount of finesse is required in that Jim doesn't like his knit shirts wrinkled -- so they have to end up fairly near the top of the mountain so there's not a lot of stuff landing on top of them). Still, this is a point builder second only to meal prep.

So, by having appropriated just these two tasks, along with the occasional bathroom and kitchen cleaning (these alternate; mustn't look like a shirker), I have weaseled myself out of vacuuming, grocery shopping and pet care!

Hey, wait a minute! I'm still dusting! I've got half the bathroom/kitchen duty! And I LIKE grocery shopping.

Who's zooming whom?

Today's fragrance: Celtic Woods by DragonflyBlue, with notes -- I think -- of lavender, cedar, vetiver, sandalwood and amber. Sweet without being cloying woods, cut with something not-so-sweet, the lavender and vetiver? More of an autumn than summer fragrance; nice for fall.

7 Comments:

Blogger robmcj said...

Funny and true. But if your partner reads it then the cat's out of the bag.

My partner gave the game away when she let slip that she loves doing washing.

"If you are like me, and I know I am" - I must use that some time.

Is that Bonnie Prince Charlie on your icon?

11:22 PM

 
Blogger ParisLondres said...

Hello M darling! I detest housekeeping duties and I mean I detest from the bottom of my heart. I do enjoy grocery shopping, cooking (when my mood is right) and I do not mind doing laundry. However, never ask me to iron anything - that is for someone who can iron. Well I cannot and I hate it so very very much. My ironing lady is godsent and I pray that she will keep doing a fab job. I do sound lazy don't I? I am not - honestly!!

:))

1:18 AM

 
Blogger ParisLondres said...

P.S: As my DH is a true virgo - so I have to bear his super neatness ALL the time. He sets examples that I really do need to follow. ;D Someday I will become a perfect woman! I have this great magnet in the kitchen that says - "Dull women have immaculate houses".

What do you think of that magnet?

I worship it of course!

xoxo

1:22 AM

 
Blogger WinterWheat said...

LOL! I love Anne Taintor.

Brilliant tactics.

The one household chore that elicits *genuine* sighs and grunts of effort from me is making the bed. We have a king-size bed and an even-bigger-than-king size down comforter whose white flannel cover must be washed, dried, and reapplied to the comforter. It takes up the whole washer and dryer by itself and usually twists itself into a knot so it doesn't dry completely, which means it must be hung over the stair railings to finish drying. End result: It takes all day to get the bedding done for that ONE bed, and by the time I've put the duvet cover back on, my back is killing me. I've finally told G that this is a job that requires Herculean upper-body strength and an intact spine, not to mention a handsome, chiseled face, so now I do the washing/drying and he does the assembly. If effortful grunts and sighs don't do the trick, try flattery.

7:40 AM

 
Blogger Jonniker said...

Oh lordy, I thought I was the only one who acted like doing the laundry was akin to having bamboo shoots shoved up my fingernails.

11:26 AM

 
Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

Somehow, some way, I ended up doing absolutely EVERYTHING at my house. hrmpf.

I didn't know about the point system.

1:19 PM

 
Blogger actonbell said...

HA! great entry--I love it! I've gotten out of most housework by simply being incompetent, and having the sonoflucypez as a husband. He likes things neater and cleaner than I even care about, poor thing.

3:37 AM

 

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