Friday, May 10, 2024

I'm sure my wife doesn't take unfair advantage of the fact I can't leave a dirty dish in the sink

I should go back and watch the video of our wedding, because I can't remember the exact vows Terry and I exchanged back in June 1992.

I'm pretty sure the traditional "honor and cherish" was in there, though, which is why I can say with some confidence that she doesn't use my neurotic approach to housecleaning against me.

You can't cherish someone, for instance, and purposely leave the kitchen messy knowing your partner is absolutely incapable of walking away and leaving it dirty.

This is what I choose to believe.

Terry has always been a busy person. In the early years of our marriage, if she wasn't working full time, she was taking care of one baby or another. Or volunteering at the school. Or doing yardwork.

There is and always has been something on her plate.

Which, speaking of plates, is why I never get suspicious when I come home to dishes in the sink and miscellaneous items strewn about the kitchen. This, I tell myself, is not a case of her leaving it all to me, but rather her focusing on another important task with plans to come back later and clean it all up.

The thing is, I have some sort of mental condition that does not allow me to relax knowing the kitchen needs to be tidied. I simply can't do it. I must clean it and clean it immediately.

(Actually, this condition doesn't allow me to relax at all, period, regardless of the condition the kitchen is in.)

This sounds like a positive trait. Something to be admired. After all, who wouldn't want a spouse who tries to do their fair share of housework?

But it's not. It's annoying, both to me and to others. It's why I'm constantly picking up half-filled glasses around the house, dumping them, and putting them in the dishwasher, only to be asked 15 minutes later by a family member or guest where their drink has gone because they haven't yet finished it.

It's why I have to (HAVE to) scrape the pots and pans and put away leftover food after holiday dinners while everyone else is playing a family game I should also be playing.

My insistence on a clean kitchen is not a noble act, it is a compulsion.

It is borderline unhealthy.

Terry knows this. And I know my wife, so I will always give her the benefit of the doubt.

Of course, I also know how smart she is. And how tired she gets by the end of any given day. Who among us can stave off the temptation to sneakily pawn off a chore to our significant other when all we want to do is put up our feet and watch TV?

My wife is not immune to such impulses.

Yet whenever I come home from work and am greeted by a messy kitchen (which really isn't that often), I regard cleaning up as the least I can do in return for the three decades' worth of delicious meals she has cooked for me  and not some devious plan to leverage whatever mental disorder makes me this way.

But she's smart, that one, very smart. And sometimes I wonder...

No comments:

Post a Comment