Down East 2013 ©
We had a little get-together to celebrate my sister Irene’s birthday last week, just the family. If you’re not going to spring clean, the next best thing is to have a party at your house. They say you should have two a year: one in the warm weather and one in cool. That way, you’re motivated to do a couple of good, deep cleanings, and get your yard in order, to boot.
The yard is Charlie’s department. He’s got one of them rider mowers that he just loves. Has a little shed with a ramp he keeps it in. I plant the annuals, take care of the potted plants, do a little weeding from time to time. And I come up with the punch list of bigger things that need to be done out there: Charlie’s “Honey Do” list. I’m very good at that. And he doesn’t complain, God bless him. Actually, I think he’s better with a list of chores he can cross off. (Trouble comes when he starts improvising.) But so long as he sticks to my list, he’s great. And Charlie is always so proud of what he’s accomplished.
“Ida, I moved that little lilac like you wanted.”
Even if I’m in the middle of doing something, I make sure I to go outside and do some appreciating That’s the most important part of any “Honey Do” list, and don’t you forget it. Your task as the maker of the list is to tell him what a great job he did, how nice it looks. Oh, and don’t forget to say thank you. Throw in a batch of his favorite cookies, and you’re golden the next time you ask him to do something ‘round the house.
Now, this is not a vice-versa kind of thing. After a day of vigorous house cleaning, your husband is not going to come home and start admiring all your handiwork. Ain’t gonna happen! It’s not that he doesn’t care. It’s that he doesn’t notice. You could be at it all day, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, washing knick-knacks, curtains, and rugs. You may have even cleaned out a bookcase or some shelves. How about the linen closet and the catch-all drawer now all nice and neat? He’ll just walk in and go, “What’s for supper.”
Don’t waste time and energy getting mad at him. It’s just a fact of life. The thing is, you have to tell him what you’ve done, and in some cases, show him. “Honey, come see the catch-all drawer!”
Once you point out all the hard work you’ve been doing, if he’s worth his weight in salt, he’ll go, “Thank you,” or “That looks great, Honey!” Which is your opening to say, “I thought we’d go out to dinner tonight. How about a Bonanza burger? Then we can stop by the DQ for Peanut Buster Parfaits.”
Needless to say, that kind of evening is a lot more fun than the alternative. You know what I’m talking about. After a day of house cleaning, you spend the evening banging and slamming things in the kitchen as you get dinner ready. Or moping around the house, staring forlornly into space, sighing. Giving him the silent treatment, and when he asks, “What’s the matter?” You reply, “Oh, nothing.”
Take pity on him and yourself. In a world where so many things are out of our control, this, for heaven’s sake, is doable. Take time to appreciate your husband, and point him in the right direction so he can appreciate you. It’s a short step from there to a big night on the town.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
(Listen to the podcast of Ida's column here. )