No one likes cleaning the house. Most people feel some type of satisfaction after the job is done, which seems to make the distasteful task worth it all. Not my wife, though. She hates housework and cooking, but she does love doing laundry and hauling wood to the fireplace. Since I love to cook, which is fortunate, because I love to eat, the fact she doesn’t cook works out well; my clothes are clean and the fireplace warm. But do not, repeat, do not mention two words to my wife– vacuuming and housework! If you do, you’ll be met with a little piece of Ireland you didn’t know existed. Eventually, she looks about the house and exclaims, “This place is filthy!” and with a huff and a grumble, pulls out the dust rags and the vacuum cleaner, and attacks the mighty chore. After the place is all shine, I usually ask, “Now wasn’t that worth it?” I’m always met with a resounding, “No!!”
The fact that getting my wife to clean is as much a life event as a wedding or a funeral doesn’t bother me that much, because I’m not adverse to grabbing a toilet brush or dust rag, so if I’m not satisfied with the look of a particular room, it’s just as much my duty to start cleaning as it is hers. There are advantages to NOT cleaning the house, according to my wife, and the bounty of excuses never ends.
Number one on my list of favorites is the yearly excuse for the entire month of October. Hallowe’en’s coming and the house is already decorated, complete with dust, cob webs and real live spiders. I must admit, not buying rubber spiders is a plus and it’s a bonus that the little critters are self-storing. Eat your heart out, Morticia Addams!
Another gem, though sometimes embarrassing, is internet labeling. As guests are entangled or ducking the spider webs, my wife exclaims, “Welcome to my web site!” Most guests still stick around, even if it’s to avoid getting tangled in webs on their way out. Besides the strange looks we get, there are a few strained smiles. Eat your heart out, Vincent Price!
“It’s good for the carpet!” is another dandy! This I call the “auto detailing” excuse. My wife figures that if rubbing compound removes scratches from auto paint, the abrasives left on the floor will somehow shine the carpet. Sand, coal dust or ashes, you just can’t get enough of them. Eat your heart out, Stanley Steemer!
When verbal excuses fail, my wife takes action using a tactic I call the “Piss in the gas tank” excuse. Sabotaging the equipment isn’t easy, but it’s extremely effective. The victim is the vacuum cleaner, a machine hated equally by her and the cat. Much like a demolition derby driver, my wife casually smashes the poor thing into walls, cabinets and furniture hoping some essential part of the vacuum will fly off into space saving her from continuing the onerous task. If that doesn’t work, sucking up a throw rug or carpet fringe is a sure vacuum stopper.
I do protest when the vacuum cleaner is bashed to pieces this way, but my protests fall on deaf ears, as my wife quotes General George S. Patton’s answer to French villagers who implored the General not to crash his tanks through their homes, “This vacuum has no reverse!”