Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sweating the small stuff

Reading Gretchen’s Tips for getting your SO to do chores without nagging, I had the same sentiment in my mind that she states in the last paragraph, “I admit that these tips are practically useless.”

The key word is practically. See, they are helpful in certain circumstances. My problem is not nagging. Heck, I’m the queen of lists. I have a pantrygirl’s list of chores hanging on my front door next to the family calendar of events.

My problem is I’m impatient. If I ask my husband to set the table, I expect is should be completed before a pot roast is cooked. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. My husband has this strange disorder. It’s a kin to Attention Deficit Disorder. As he clears off the dining room table he begins other projects. For example, I open our mail for the day and leave it on the dining room table for my husband to peruse. If he sees a bill he may get the idea that it is time to clean out the bill box and start shredding the old bills. Suddenly the table setting becomes second in priority in his mental to do list and he goes off to clean out the bill box.

While cleaning out the bill box, he will notice an advertisement to lower the car insurance if we take a defensive driving course. Thinking this is a good idea and that his wifey would be proud of such a cost saving measure, he leaves the bill box to go to research defensive driving courses in our area.

While he is at the computer searching defensive driving classes, he decides to check his work email to make sure everything is ok. Sure enough, there is a problem with a program and he stops the search to resolve the programming issue.

By this time, I walk into the dining room with a large pot roast in my hands to find the table is halfway cleared, in the living room our bill box is opened and bills are strewn in a large pile on the floor and on the couch is my husband with a hang dog look saying work pulled him in to fix a problem.

I will say my husband has gotten much better. To be honest, we both have gotten much better. My tolerance level has increased so I’m not upset at silliness like forgetting to take out the trash every night. Hubby is also much more conscientious and sets the table quickly before moving onto something else.

I chalk it up to being with the same person for 10 years. It takes that long to build tolerance and to learn to live with the quirks, at least for me.

Our current routine is actually much more balanced. Here’s a list of our to dos that we have divided:

Dog Walking/MedsMeals
Table SettingAlternate Side Parking
DishesPutting away dishes
LaundryPutting away laundry

We didn’t plan this. It sort of just happens and every now and then we switch off. It’s not so bad really. I think while we were still young and unbeaten we hemmed and hawed more often. Now we know one of us has to do it and instead of pushing each other’s tolerance levels, it’s better to just do it, be done with and move onto something fun.

I have one tip to add to Gretchen’s list, appreciate. An occasional pat on the back, even for the smallest of things, makes a person feel good.

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