Monday, October 11, 2004

Childishness and Cleaning

When I'm at home, I hate to be told what to do. Or how to do it. I am overly sensative about the Parent-Child-Adult roles, and anything that comes close to placing me in a child role results in a Rebellious Child (Passive-Aggressive being my mode of preference). I think about this when I'm doing work around the house.

Like this last week, when I was cleaning. I really enjoy a clean house, it's one of life's little joys as far as I'm concerned. Coming home or walking around and noticing that everything is in it's place, the place is neat and orderly, the carpets vacuumed and floors washed, the surfaces dusted, the furniture polished, the bathrooms clean and mirrors sparkling, the bed made, etc. All of it gives me a little thrill.

Which is kind of funny, because I stop before the point that gives me a thrill. In fact, our house is pretty much never at that point. When I do a good cleaning mode going on, I'll get the kitchen and vacuuming, sometimes the bathrooms and rarely the bed. I don't mind cleaning. Once I get started it's an enjoyable experience. I enjoy the moment, the action I take, the effect of my work.

I don't like the thought of cleaning. Maybe it reminds me of chores growing up, when my mother told me when to clean and how to clean. (As an aside, Mom once sat me & my sister down and told us how to clean the toilet. Julie thought it funny I never cleaned the outside fo the bowl and I thought she was simply daft for not understanding you had to clean inside the bowl!) And more than disliking the thought of cleaning, is when Kristi asks me to clean. Actually, she does not ask me to do that very often. She's much more likely to ask me to do something to the yard. This never fails to piss me off.

I'm not saying it should make me mad, but it does. One of the things I think about is how she doesn't do shit in the yard. If all I ever did in the yard was water (and most years that is all I have done in the yard) it's still hours a week. Watering the pots, cleaning off the patio, setting up and moving the sprinkler across the lawn; it's not much, but it's a heck of a lot more than the 5-15 minutes a month she spends in the yard. To her defense, she doesn't like yard work, doesn't like getting dirty, and doesn't have much experience doing the work.

Now, as I write this, I am perfectly aware that I'm whining, but the point I'm trying to make is that this is how my childish mind reacts when she asks me to do anything more than water. Heck, sometimes I get mad when she asks me to water.

New Story / Same Topic: Years and years ago, a good friend made dinner for a bunch of us, including his roommate, my girlfriend, and someone else from the crowd we hung out with. He and I had a reservation to play racquetball for that evening and he asked if my girlfriend would clean up while we went to play. She cheerfully said "Yes" and proceed to clean the table (and eventually the kitchen) while we ran out the door to our scheduled match. What amazed me about this interaction was the idea that he even asked the question. I couldn't imagine asking her to clean up.

So let's combine these items. I don't like be told what to do. I don't like others to ask me to do work around the house. (Please note, I'm much better if you ask me to work with you.) And I don't ask other people to do work around the home.

In the years we've been married I've only asked Kristi to do something for me a couple times. And I don't think it has ever been to clean the house or work in the yard. Recently, I have asked her to make me a meal when I've been working and I'm hungry.

I'm starting to think this is a problem, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I don't have this problem at work, I got over it early in my career.

Hmm, well it's something to think about. Feel free to post your advice, but you should know I may ignore your message if it sounds like you're telling me what to do. :-)

Update: This post should not be interpreted to read that Kristi is an ogre (she is not), nor that Kristi does nothing around the house (truthfully, she is the primary caretaker of our home). Rather, this post should be read only as a commentary on my own thought processes...

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