Years ago when the nest emptied, K-Mac and I worked out an equal distribution of duties in the household. She would cook, clean, do the laundry, sheer the sheep, tan the hides, pull all teeth, change all tires and keep the firewood coming. I would supervise and play the banjo to lift her spirits. If I had time, I might also point out things like a crumb on the floor that the vacuum missed or note that I didn’t have any clean underwear and what was up with that.
It worked beautifully until I told her about it. There were discussions, of course. Points given and points taken—sometimes at the end of barbecue skewers. Admittedly, some voices got tall. Some emotions climbed the chimney. Some faces went from no-way-Jose red to condensed-milk white. Windows rattled in that jet-breaking-the-sound-barrier way. TV news trucks sniffed into the neighborhood like bloodhounds on a stink bug.
Ultimately, K-Mac won a mandate to form a new government—by necessity, a coalition government—in which I assumed the role of Loyal Opposition. Translation: as the dust finally settled, I couldn’t help but notice that I was sweeping it up.
Afterward, photos were taken, speeches given, promises made and, on a personal note, tears freely shed. For a new day had dawned, the sun blurping up at the brink of our brave new world in a barfocative nimbus of bismuth pink.
Footnote: For the record, I assumed several new (though completely bogus) titles in the new regime:
Chief of Police (Kitchen)
Duties: clear table after meals; put away, throw away but don’t go away; scrape and load dishes into dishwasher; stop making so much racket out there; wash the big pots by hand; stop whining; wipe down the sink, stove and countertops; stop saying ‘Eeeuwww, gross’; neatly and rationally organize the dishwasher; stop saying ‘If only we had more coffee mugs;’ remove kitchen trash to garbage cans in garage; stop making so much racket out there; stop comparing yourself to a poor, manipulated waif in a Charles Dickens novel.
Director of Food and Beverage Replenishment
Duties: Make grocery list; include items other than beer; like vegetables; and fruit (duh); no humongous (or any) bags of Snickers; no 50 pound cans of mixed nuts; collect all grocery store bags; don’t forget to take grocery bags with you; stop whining that carrying grocery store bags make you look like a girl; an old woman; stupid; completely whipped; check eggs for cracks; put eggs on top in basket; don’t put anything else on top of eggs in basket; like the milk; or the cantaloupe; don’t say you forgot; again; seriously; no Rolling Stone, Fantasy Baseball or Hunky Man Abs magazines; no gallon size tub(s) of ice cream; no National Inquirer (unless Elvis-sighting story); don’t lose grocery list; when you do, don’t use old grocery list in your coat pocket.
First Lord of Sanitation. Remember to take the garbage out the night before garbage-pickup day; Don’t forget to take the garbage out the night before garbage-pickup day; take the garbage out on garbage-pickup day; don’t say I forgot to take the garbage out; don’t forget to take the garbage out; remember to bring in the empty garbage cans; don’t forget the empty garbage cans; make sure our empty garbage cans aren’t two blocks away in the middle of the street; retrieve our garbage cans from the middle of the street two blocks down; don’t say ‘oh we can always get new ones;’ don’t get new ones; take them back and get our empty cans out of the street; don’t run them over.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2014, all rights reserved.