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A Willing Man

twit picTweeted this photo a month ago, not fifteen minutes after I’d finished vacuuming. Then I cried.

In an average week I spend anywhere from ten to eighteen hours taking care of the hearth and home.  By that I mean I spend between ten and eighteen hours vacuuming, washing dishes, doing laundry, paying bills, walking the dogs, emptying the litter box, taking out the trash, et cetera, in addition to the forty plus hours I work at my jobs, in addition to the work Michael does around the house, and I’ll tell you something, that man more than pulls his weight around here.

Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of headlines about how marriages where the husband helps out around the house are happier and less likely to end in divorce than marriages where the wife shoulders most of the household chores.  I think this is an incredibly interesting topic because I’ve had a personal theory about this for years, a theory something along the lines of how I would die of apoplexy if I ever lived with another man who was incapable of taking care of himself.

No, Kevin, I’m not writing about you, I know you think this post is about you, don’t you? Don’t you?

You guys, I once lived with my friend Kevin and the fact that we’re still friends is kind of a miracle because I was the worst roommate in the entire world.  I did things to that poor guy that I can’t even type here, but to give you an idea of what a really terrible, awful roommate I was, I will tell you that whenever I knew he was bringing a girl home, I would poop in his toilet and not flush.

Hello, future potential employers!

Anyway, I did that horrible thing because I was… I was… I’m drawing a blank.  He got me back though.  He once hid all of my oranges.

Where was I?  I was a terrible roommate, but at least Kevin could take care of himself.  Sure, he left his groceries on the porch overnight, more than once, and I’d find his shoes in my bathroom and his underpants on the TV, but he worked hard and he was patient and kind and he helped with the chores.  And we’re still friends.

I’ve lived with other men over the years, I’m not talking about family members, I’m talking about roommates and what not, and the ones that didn’t help with chores?  They are no longer a part of my life, not even a little bit.  So my theory evolved from my inability to maintain relationships with men who refused to treat me as an equal.  Because that’s what it comes down to folks.  If a physically able man who hasn’t hired full time help won’t chip in with the chores, he’s either a completely dependent child or he thinks he’s too good to stoop to a woman’s level and take care of the home.  Am I being a little brash?  Probably, but I’ve watched too many women I love sacrifice themselves for a guy who doesn’t give back and I’ve been the girl who gives everything and finds herself alone and empty hearted.

When I mentioned the headlines about husband’s who help with housework to Mike he looked at me thoughtfully and said, “Of course.  A husband who helps with chores is the kind of man who helps.  He’s considerate, he’s thoughtful, he’s kind.  Of course his marriage is happier and less likely to end in divorce.”  He spoke the words on the tip of my tongue.

Seriously Humbled

spider in the bathtubjpgPhotograph by Grendl on Flickr

The other morning the bedroom light bulb burned out. Normally I would just let Mike fix it whenever he got home, except I was working from home and it was so gloomy and gray that the bedroom was too dark to work in.  I tried turning on the snake light, but that didn’t help. I turned on the salt lamp, but it was still too dark.  So I climbed up on top of the refrigerator to reach the cabinet where we keep the light bulbs, then I climbed up on our bed and stood on my tiptoes to reach the light fixture and I was really impressed with myself, you know? I was thinking about how I used to be this mousy little twit and now I’m this tough chick who lives in Harlem and rides the subway and changes her own light bulbs.  I turned the little fake brass knob thingy to release the glass dome fixture-cover-thing, and right when I got the knob thing off, something fell out of the fixture and brushed past my face.  I blinked and sputtered and believing the fallen debris to be dust, resolved to immediately wash the fixture cover. I bent down to set the cover on the bed and that was when I realized that the thing that had fallen from the ceiling and brushed my face was a dead spider.

I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t completely lose my shit.  The worst part was that I knew the spider was dead, I knew I didn’t need to be freaking out, but I couldn’t help it.  I didn’t scream, not like a horror movie scream, it was more like a growl.  A roar.  I roared and jumped around in circles and clawed at my face and laughed, because I knew I was being ridiculous.  The dogs started howling and barking, I’m guessing because my roaring and wild flailing was pretty alarming.  I knew I was acting like a maniac, but I couldn’t shake the creepy feeling that there were hundreds of spiders caught in my hair that would soon be walking all over my face, so I ripped off my clothes and jumped in the shower. I stood under the water, hot as I could stand it, laughing, shaking, sobbing and repeating over and over again, “I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok.”

This is why whenever people tell me about how much they want to learn to fly a plane, or go sky diving, or climb Mount Everest, I just smile and tell them to have a good time.  As far as I’m concerned, being touched by a dead spider is a survival experience.