Small accomplishments are easily overlooked, even when those small tasks have a way of adding up.
If you’ve ever caught your significant other doing an odd job around the house, give them some high praise. Chances are they’ve been busy when you weren’t looking.
I found the leaf blower in the shed this week. It’s a powerful tool that will blow a hole in gravel better than an overly-ripe salmon in Butte Creek.
My guess is that these codified rules have more to do with preserving relationships among neighbors than protecting our sleep patterns.
When I fired up my leaf blaster, I not only made noise, I soon decimated the homes of multiple spiders. I zapped mimosa tree junk into towering drifts. I also learned that leaf blowing is a skill, a skill I lack.
I forgot to the close the bathroom window and later discovered soft dust all over the sink.
I can’t blame myself for amateur leaf-blower manipulation. Keeping the patio clear of tough loquat leaves and purple privet berries had been one of those tasks done behind my back. The patio was not “magically” kept clear of spider webs and piles of elderberry debris. The Handsome Woodsman fired up the rowdy machine when I was busy doing something else.
In fact, six years ago I would have vowed to never own one of those obnoxious machines.
DIVISION OF LOUDNESS
It’s funny how romantic partners make lists in their heads about what chores one person should and could do around the house. When the Handsome Woodsman was alive, I wanted recognition when I did the dishes. I also made a mental note that next time it was his turn to do the dishes. Sometimes I’d leave the dishes in the sink for several days, in case he didn’t notice it was his time to do the dishes.
Of course, this is silly, childish and totally not the way to give 110 percent in a relationship.
It gets worse.
When he didn’t read my mind, I shared my ideas about division of labor via a black felt tip pen and posted a “honey-do list” on the fridge. Sometimes I plastered a note on the exit side of the front door. The exclamation points were always implied.
Undone chores, expected household tasks, the unfairness of it all, can lead to high pitched laments and the waving of arms for dramatic effect.
(Dave, if you somehow can hear me or read my thoughts, I’m truly sorry).
He always forgot to put his clothes from the washer to the dryer. The result was wrinkled clothes, which did not bother him in the slightest.
“I can’t have you running around in wrinkled clothes,” I said while transferring his clothes from the washer to the dryer. “Gals will assume you don’t have a girlfriend and will try to hit on you.”
As a trade-off for the clean laundry, of course he should do such-and-such around the house. This such-and-such would be dictated entirely by my whim.
What I didn’t know, and what I know now, was that he was probably busy doing a lot of other things around the house when I wasn’t looking, including operating a noisy piece of machinery. I’m guessing that if I had asked Dave to wear a “boyfriend cam,” I would have noted a number of laborious tasks. He might have even been working while I was making lists to post on the refrigerator.
I can’t say I’m entirely happy I found the leaf blower in the shed. It made me sad really. A lot of things in that shed make me sad. I open the shed door and smell grease, which reminds me of him, which makes me sad, so I close the door.
I’ll forgive myself for not organizing the shed this summer. Besides, organizing the shed had always been his job.
Yet, I must admit I feel powerful with the leaf blower in my hands.
Last week — as my arms zigged and zagged — I cursed the mimosa tree, the worst tree ever. With the leaf blower, I could have blown mimosa gunk into the middle of The Esplanade.
Bagging the lawn debris is an entirely different, and far less satisfying task.
When I think about it now, it was at about that time in the yard duties when my guy would ask me for some help.
If someone has a chain saw lying around, let me know. I might want to see how that feels in my hands.