I may be in the minority, but the truth is that I don’t take enormous pride in my home. I want it to be comfortable, clean and know where stuff is when I need it. If that stuff happens to be on the counter, stuffed in a drawer, an overflowing dresser, well, so be it. At least I know where it is!
This would have worked out perfectly if I had found a man who was not caught up in the whole tidy décor thing. When I said ‘I do’ to Paul and we moved in together, I learned that my guy was a neat freak, a pretty decent cook and liked his home to look nice. He enjoys shopping for furniture and accent pieces that will give a room personality. Who knew?
So how are we working this out? We compromise with a pretty clean, reasonably tidy home with fairly decent décor. I still have piles here and there, but for the most part I do my best to keep some order. My excuse for my less-than perfect standard is that I work full-time. Something has to give in order to bring home that paycheque!
Here’s how Paul and I share. All that stuff I said earlier about not fussing over my home does not parlay in the fashion department. I like my clothes thoroughly cleaned, hence the four different kinds of laundry detergents. (Hey, if they make a laundry soap for dark colours, I’m buying it!) I like my clothes properly pressed and smelling fantastic. (By the way, there’s a laundry detergent for smelling fantastic too!) I sort the laundry, use one of my four appropriate detergents and hang to dry when needed. Paul could care less if a red shirt gets washed with a white pair of underwear – so, I do laundry detail. Paul is the household repair guy, from plumbing to anything mechanical. I’m our social director, keeping track of birthdays, school pizza days, planning parties and anything social.
About dinner: Before I met Paul, I thought that a big bowl of popcorn was a fine dinner. So Paul does the cooking. He’s a meat and potatoes guy – I’m a salad and stir fry kind of girl, so each meal has a meat, a starch and a veg or two. I’m the cleanup crew after dinner. I do like ‘clean’ even though I don’t care about ‘tidy’. I like the dishes rinsed before they go in the dishwasher and the counters and table wiped and clean. I like to dust – more of that whole clean thing. I admit that I pick up a pile of magazines and papers, wipe the table underneath and plunk them right back where they were!
We do have a cleaning woman come to the house every two weeks to give the floors, toilets, carpets and windows a good clean. She comes on a Tuesday and by Thursday of the same week, we find ourselves spot-cleaning the milk spilled down the cupboard, the crayon that ran across the walls and the endless Cheerios found under our feet.
When it comes to outdoor chores, Paul delivers the garbage to the curb and cuts the grass. I’m the gardener — planting, trimming, weeding and watering. In the winter, snow shovelling is a family event. We all have our own shovels, even two-year-old Davis!
Paul and I work pretty well as a team and chores get done, sooner or later. One night I’ll put Davis to bed and read while Paul makes tea. The next night, it may be reversed. Madison and Mackenzy, our twins, just turned 11 and are starting to help out a little around the house. They garden with me, clear the table, load the laundry, help fold and occasionally even Swiffer!
Davis is even getting pretty good at putting away his toys as long as we sing the catchy tune ‘everybody clean up’ about 27 times. So, feel free to drop by for a coffee. I can guarantee the mug will be clean, our outfits will be freshly laundered, you will pick Cheerios off of your socks and have to move a stack of magazines to sit down. If that works for you, it works for us! PC
Published in Winter 2007