So, for those not in the know, I work a non conventional part-time job driving up to my grandmother’s once a week to help her with chores, take her out to eat, and bring her a movie to watch. Yes, I’m expensing my netflix account on my taxes.
About a year ago, her cataracts were very bad and I started this gig with the idea that I might transition her to a true assisted-living facility. Instead, I saw her through surgery and correct eye wear purchases and while she is not as independent as she was before (girl’s gonna be 90 in June, she’s allowed to slow down), she has adapted her life such that for the near future she’ll stay in her apartment. (The apartment is in a retirement community that provides certain amenities to facilitate this.)
ANYWAY, that was a long-ass paragraph to sum up two points: 1) pretty obvious why I’m looking for full-time employment elsewhere and 2) while I do draw a salary from this endevour, Tom makes twice as much as I do.
Tom also travels almost 100% for work. So you add all that together, and it’s pretty clear who should be pulling most of the domestic duties around here.
Where is that pool boy, anyhow?
After months of slaving away where I spot cleaned the walls, mopped the floors, and dusted the ceiling fans – EVERY WEEK – Tom not only did not notice my efforts, he admitted he felt we weren’t equal partners.
I threw my hands up and sulked for a month or so. I call that period, “The Bones month”, because I probably spent a good portion of my non work/volunteer time watching seasons 1 – 5. I suppose we could also categorize it as “The dust bunny month” and “The month you should not walk barefoot in my house”.
But even I can get skeeved out at a mess and feel slothful. So I set about to work smarter, not harder. It didn’t take much observation to realize Tom only had a few domestic ideals I needed to adhere to in order for there to be (perceived) equality and harmony in our situation.
And herein lies the rule of the 3 Gs. As long as these 3 things have been accomplished by the time Tom’s bags hit the kitchen floor, he believes I am doing my fair share. I hope in passing on this wisdom I can bring peace to other domestic squabbles and allow people more time to watch TV.
1) Garbage. The man cannot stand to take out the garbage. The morning before he comes back, I take it out or at the very least check that it is not too full or too smelly to see us through the weekend. When the odd chance pops up that the garbage needs attending while he’s home, I do it or at the very least be the one to remember and handle it when we’re heading out somewhere.
2) Gas. I am the type of person who knows how many miles I can really get from my car when the gas light comes on. My trip thingy even includes a DTE guesstimate, but I have long since realized I can push it at least twice as far as the original warning. 28.5 miles my ass. For Tom, 1/4 tank means PANIC DANGER DANGER WILL ROBINSON GET TO STATION NOW. And my car is the nicer, more luxury car so it is the one we use over the weekends, and the one Tom will use if given a choice. If I want him to think I am a responsible, sane person who is dutifully taking care of hearth and home while he’s away, it will have at least a 1/2 tank Friday afternoon.
3) Groceries. This one, I will admit, I don’t think is an absolute must. There are times when Tom doesn’t mind, even enjoys, a trip out for provisions. But for the most part, he prefers these outings to not be a neccessity. He cannot come home to no toilet paper, low on peanut butter, or the statement, “Let’s eat out for the next 72 hours!”. And woe on to me if there is no diet soda in the house.
Granted, there is a tad bit more I achieve every week – some Friday rituals for a spic-n-span house (at a squinty, far away glance. Which is the eyesight setting through which I believe most men observe their domain). But really he’ll only notice if I get frustrated with him making a mess of things.
Just don’t check my ceiling fans.