July 27, 2006

Domestic Gods and Goddesses

Or maybe that should read "domestic demi-gods," or maybe "domestic guy who kind of thinks he might be related to a god but is totally kidding himself.

In my almost decade of marriage to Hublet, I have had to make some, erm, concessions to cleanliness. Before we started dating, my apartment was always spotless--fresh-smelling, disinfected surfaces, no needless clutter. Now it's not that I am totally anti-clutter. I wrote a thesis, after all, which means that for months and months there were piles of articles, books, and papers surrounding my computer table. These piles, however, were organized. And after a while, I would tire of the piles and go on a great PILE PURGE, which involved labeling and filing and RUTHLESSNESS WITH MY DISCARDS. So I am no stranger to clutter, but I do have a point at which I reach critical clutter mass, and just start tossing crap out.

Hublet has no such point, which I discovered during our dating years as he slowly moved his thesis into my apartment and onto my kitchen table. Then we got married, and he moved the REST of his stuff into my apartment. Clutter Ahoy! He attracts random bits of paper like a magnet attracts random bits of metal. And his piles, they are not organized or neat--they are slidey piles, of the sort that explode into showers of paper if you look at them wrong. As he is a schoolteacher, you can imagine what this is like. It makes me crazy, but I've managed to deal with it by piling the clutter during the week, and then going nuts on the weekends and tossing out or stuffing into his bookbag everything that isn't nailed down.

Hublet also has a different attitude about cleaning. He does it, but it takes him about 4 times as long to do a particular chore as it does me. It also takes him about 4 times as long to come to the conclusion that yes, the chore needs doing. And the end result is never quite the same as mine.

I try to cope with this by never being around Hublet when he cleans, because I have a bizarre Tourette's-like reaction to his efforts whenever I am.

Did I mention that Hublet also has a tendency toward bizarre spills? And have I mentioned the grape juice stain that resides ON MY KITCHEN CEILING? No? Well. Never mind.

As I say, I am learning to cope. But sometimes, I am forced to confront Hublet's unique domestic handicaps, as when I reached into the refrigerator for Hublet's no trans-fat buttery spread and withdrew a tub of Country Crock that was covered in duct tape.

Silvery duct tape that was kinda raggedy around the edges, as though the taper in question hadn't had easy access to scissors. In a KITCHEN. And did I mention it was a LOT of duct tape? Yes. A lot. It was like a silvery Country Crock mummy.

I merely held up the vessel in question for Hublet's inspection, and he looked extremely proud as he said:

"I dropped it and it sort of exploded but I fixed it."

Only Hublet could drop a plastic container in such a way as to cause its surface integrity to be annihilated. And only Hublet would respond with duct tape.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at July 27, 2006 11:14 AM

You don't know many men, do you? :-)

Posted by: Michael at July 27, 2006 11:49 AM

You don't know many men, do you? ;-)

Posted by: michael at July 27, 2006 11:51 AM

"Then we got married, and he moved the REST of his stuff into my apartment."
That's where you ran off the rails. Once you got married it became OUR (as in yours and his jointly) apartment. Or is it one of those "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine too" situations.

BTW, in our marriage, I'm the neat one and I appreciate the issue because of my wife's willingness to fill up every closet with random stuff piled waist high, and when the closets are full, every hallway, but in marriage you have to make compromises (as you have done).

I assume "hublet" will get equal time on this blog to complain about things that you don't do exactly the way he would do them, and I hope you can avoid blowing your top when he refers to you by the diminutive "wifelet" which, if you think about it, is pretty insulting?

(Sorry but I'm in a bad mood because I tripped over some of my wife's "stuff" in the hallway this morning without much hilarity ensuing.)

Posted by: Locomotive Breath at July 27, 2006 12:42 PM

At my daughter's birthday party, one tiny girl managed to squirt green glitter paint on my nine foot ceiling - she wasn't even aiming for it. All I could do was laugh.

I am the messy one in my family. Unfortunatly for my husband, our children are taking after me.

Posted by: JP at July 27, 2006 01:30 PM

LB -

Dude, seriously.

When we got married, we still referred to our formerly separate residences as "mine" and "yours." We were in "my" apartment for less than a year before we moved into the house, which we do call "ours." It was an innocent recurrence of old terminology, not a treatise on the state of our marriage.

The Hubble/Hubster/Hublet has comments access, and I'm sure he'll reply soon. It was his idea for me to post about the duct taped Country Crock, in fact. As for the "insult" of the nickname, if he doesn't object to Hublet (and I'm thinking he doesn't, because he's not the type to suffer silently), then you might want to take the term as he does, and as it's intended: a gently goofy endearment.

And you might want to ask him about my tendency to shed shoes everywhere--I'm sure he'll be happy to share. But at least I've never stained the ceiling with grape juice!

Posted by: BAW at July 27, 2006 02:56 PM

I dunno. I still think I'd like to read an obscure study, painstakingly transcribed and published online in a manner that in no way suggests a bizarre sociopathy, that explains your behavior as typical woman weakness.

Posted by: marc at July 27, 2006 03:20 PM

I cast you out of Marc, demon!
Out, demon! Out! Out!

Posted by: BAW at July 27, 2006 03:32 PM

Duct tape is an approved repair for cracks in aluminum airplane skins. I don't see why it wouldn't work for dishes.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at July 27, 2006 03:55 PM

I laughed out loud at this one! Hell, I'm still laughing.

I've live with two neat-freak men, so I know they're not all slobs. But this one I'm with now is a real challenge. I feel your pain!

Posted by: Sage at July 27, 2006 11:22 PM

Oh please, you have seen strange and unnatural spillage until you've spent a week with Hellbilly. I joked when we moved into our new house that I was going to have to buy him an adult sized sippy cup because of his propensity for dropping/flinging/spilling liquids--he can just LOOK at a glass and have the contents go flying yards in every direction. And I would always know when he spilled something because he would boom out with his rallying cry of "SIPPY CUP DAMN IT!"

Posted by: Feral Girl at July 28, 2006 09:14 AM

I have BBQ sauce on my kitchen ceiling. That story involves a plastic bottle and a microwave.

Posted by: anonymous at July 29, 2006 04:36 AM

Yeah, like "Hublet" has any option but to "like" being called that. Maybe, as an experment, he should try calling you "the little woman".

Posted by: Locomotive Breath at July 30, 2006 09:00 AM

p.s. and duct tape is like "THE FORCE": it has a light side and and dark side and it holds the universe together.

Posted by: Locomotive Breath at July 30, 2006 09:52 AM

Our household is similar but gender reversed. I am the neat one who follows my wife and children around with a sponge while my wife is more adept at the use of duct tape. We have tomato sauce stains on our kitchen ceiling. I'm still not quite sure how they got there. My wife explained it had something to do with a sneeze. I can't say I wasn't forewarned however; on our first date as I picked her up at her apartment I nearly slammed myself in the face by stepping on the rake that was in the middle of her living room floor. I didn't see it because I was paying too much attention to the various piles of stuff I had to step over to get to the sofa. But I've adjusted. We celebrate our 10th anniversary next Wednesday.

Posted by: John Hudock at August 4, 2006 08:57 PM

It is true about the rake in the living room and John having almost no clear floor to negotiate my apt. After years of trying to hide my true nature from my dates, I decided that this was the only path to true happiness. He didn't run, so, he passed the test!

Posted by: Barbara Hudock at August 5, 2006 10:33 AM