I’m officially nominating my husband for sainthood. I don’t know if there’s an online form I can fill out or if there’s an application process, but surely someone with this much patience will be recognized by the Catholic Church. Maybe there’ll be a link on the Pope’s new Facebook page, kind of like the Like button, because that would really be handy.
My husband has put up with my complete lack of concern for all of the mundane day-to-day things in our lives for almost fifteen years, so he finally deserves some recognition. I’m really good at keeping up with important data like where the bodies are hidden, but when it comes to the mind-numbingly pointless things like investing for retirement, I’m out.
At the end of January, he gathered a ridiculous amount of paperwork that he claimed he needed in order to file our taxes. Now, right there, I would have been in federal prison ages ago because every year it’s kind of a surprise to me that people scramble to file their taxes. You wouldn’t think I would find it all that superfluous since I’m a state-employed teacher and the reason there are Nikes on my feet is because people pay their taxes, but I just don’t think of these things.
While he was working on the taxes, he took a break to come downstairs for some bread crusts and a glass of water, when he drew a deep breath from an oxygen tank that I keep handy for use during bouts of heavy thinking and announced proudly, “We put $10,000 in our IRAs last year.”
My second thought was, “We have IRAs?” Sadly, my first thought was, “Holy crap, we’re Irish terrorists? Oh wait, he meant…” Fortunately, another one of those really funny Geico car insurance commercials came on and distracted me from saying anything that made him think I don’t care about that.
And sadly, I don’t care about that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that we pay all our taxes since prison really sucks, and it’s wonderful that my retirement plan no longer involves the Rapture. But part of what makes us perfect for each other is he’s able to focus on these random tasks while I focus on the important things like making sure each child leaves the house wearing two vaguely similar-looking shoes and everyone who needs an exploding volcano project for school today has one. No, in the grand scheme of things the volcano isn’t going to make a huge worldly impact (pun intended), but the fact that we each delegate our own responsibilities is what makes our marriage work.
We have held on to our respective positions on opposite sides of our responsibility boundary lines for years, and these lines are not to be blurred. One of the husbandly roles I gladly gave over to my sweet darling early in our relationship was the concept of Man’s Work. Basically, he informed me from day one that there is Woman’s Work and Man’s Work. I was suspicious until I saw how this could work in my favor. According to his definition, anything inside is Woman’s Work, and anything outside is Man’s Work. Logically, cooking and cleaning would be Woman’s Work and yard work and oil changing would be Man’s Work.
Unless you take into consideration that there are discrepancies. For example, garbage accumulated inside, but then it has to be carried outside, so by right of exit I deemed it Man’s Work. Groceries have to be cooked in order to be eaten, but groceries originated at the store and then the trunk of the car, which are both outside, so cooking became Man’s Work. Cleaning something means it must have gotten dirty, and dirt came from outside, so cleaning is Man’s Work. He didn’t like where this was going, so he agreed to shut up and split the chores.
I do allow him his Man’s Work concept of yard maintenance, because getting to spend an evening nurturing his own three-fourths acre of the planet into green bliss is something that gives him some me-time. And because he has always claimed that I am not to do anything resembling yard work because (wait for it) it’s beneath me.
As I am his pampered and treasured wife, he believes he would lose esteem in the eyes of his neighbors if he allowed me to toil under a hot sun like a field hand. And I have faithfully cultivated that belief to this day. Of course, I’m not a moron. I know he’s only telling me that so I will keep my destructive, agriculturally-incompetent little hands of his shiny red riding mower. It’s not that he thinks yard labor is beneath me, it’s because he doesn’t want crop circles in his front yard. And because he’s seen the damage I can do with a motorized vehicle.
But I’m not too proud to take his explanation at face value and wave from the shade of the porch as his parched body makes another pass on that riding mower. I’m even happy to put on my pearls and high heels 1950s housewife-style and carry him out a glass of iced tea once in a while, gushing with praise of his lawn care skills while he mops sweat with a rag and tries to bring some of the color back to his sweat-drenched face. That man is a saint, I tell you.