01 February 2011

Matters Domestic

I walk a funny line. I’m the person in the household who gets up and goes to work every day; my husband stays home and puts the girl on the bus. And gets her off the bus and makes her lunch and takes her to swimming and picks her up from after school activities and organizes play dates. And he does the lion’s share of the cooking, and has even taken over what used to be my purview: the baking. Just this morning I had apple pie for breakfast, the last of the apple pie he made on Sunday.

I take the paper, head for the train, talk to grown-ups all day long, and head home to dinner and spelling and reading and bath time and bed.

But then, this morning, before I left, I asked my husband to make sure the generator works and that we have enough extension cords and that we can run the electrical controls of the gas furnace with the generator – all because there’s this storm raging that’s supposed to dump 50 hours of snow, ice, rain and snow. I packed a couple of oranges and some clean socks, in case I don’t make it home, and got on the train.

If it had been the other way round, if we had an old-style traditional marriage where I was the stay-at-home wife, would he have asked me to check the generator? I doubt it. I tend to believe that electricity jumps out of the wall and I am sorely deficient in understanding how internal combustion works. So, while I kind of long for a sabbatical – I’ve had my nose to the salaried grindstone for nearly a quarter century – it’s probably just as well because I’m clearly lacking in some practical domesticity (not to mention the fact that I am a slovenly housekeeper).

At least I know how to balance the checkbook.

13 comments:

the sandwich life said...

I'm with you. Sometimes I wish I was the one that stayed home but frankly...things probably run better with my husband doing it...

liz said...

What the sandwich life said.

Angela said...

Ah yes, I know the life well!! I'm watching the snow fall outside my work window right now, while my husband got the kids off the bus for early dismissal from the same storm. He brought in tons of wood for the wood stove and makes sure all our laundry is done. But! I do still rule the kitchen. Just baked a batch of almond cardamom cookies over the weekend. Yum!

slow panic said...

I work at home and my husband has, a couple of times, been unemployed and sort of picking up some of the slack and it was nerve wracking for me. Maybe if I wasn't in the house all day. Maybe if I could have left and turned things over to him.

I do hate the house stuff -- the cleaning, etc. kind of the cooking. the cooking on demand...

I'm rambling. But I loved this post

de said...

Gah! Gender Norms, you make my head hurt.

Some friends of mine moved up to the CT suburbs from Manhattan a number of years ago. The woman had grown up in a town, the man in the city. She does everything around the house, because he literally had no idea about home and yard maintenance.

Responsibility falls on whoever has the most advantageous combination previous experience, aptitude, and availability. And when it comes to equipment, my main piece of advice to women is to make sure you don't need bigger muscles than you have to operate it, or it's nothing but in the way.

mayberry said...

I just really hope you don't need the generator!

PS my captcha is "miredinit" which seems relevant on several levels.

Stimey said...

I stay home and I would definitely ask my husband to check all the generator stuff before he left for work. Then I would stay at home and whine about how there is no power.

Also, I am highly amused that your emergency supplies are oranges and socks.

May the next couple of days be easy and may you not need the generator or the oranges.

Rima said...

As I sit here listening to ice pelt against my window, I'm just jealous that you have a generator.

Nadine said...

This made me giggle. Probably because I'm home and I was the one to make certain the generator works, there's enough firewood, cords, etc. And no one had to remind me. Then again, if I still worked I'd still be the one to make sure the generator works, there's enough firewood, cords, etc.
.....sigh......

Hoping neither of us needs our generator!

Mary G said...

I have a detailed, step by step instruction sheet about the generator pinned on my bulletin board. Himself does not trust me to remember and he's right. Half the time I can't get a movie to play on the TV.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I sure hope the weather is not as bad as they're saying. I don't know much about generators except that my husband loves his--for our every 10 year 2-hour power outages!

Patois said...

Man, I'm just glad I don't need to worry about a generator. Of course, that just begs for an earthquake to hit Northern California.

The Absence of Alternatives said...

I don't know about fixing cars and all these things stereotypically relegated to men and I have no interest in learning. It's not that I expect some prince charming to come rescue me should I am ever stuck, but that I thought I could just call AAA, a plumber or an electrician... It's kind of funny because I believe men in Asia are not expected to learn all these things either: labor is cheap. My father used to call the electrician down the block when a light bulb went out. He would come and even screw the light bulb in for us.