Sunday, August 5, 2012

Spousal Abuse

If you’re in a situation where you’re cohabiting with a member of the opposite sex then you know all the fun that can arise from the idiosyncrasies of their species. Yes, you love them and yes, you may have even tried to train them (how’d that go?) but there are some battles that have been waged and will continue to be waged for now until the end of time. 

When people say ‘opposites attract’ it most often pertains to personalities but informal research on my part (I asked two friends) indicates that there can be a larger issue involved. Apparently, the odds that you will find a partner who shares the exact same temperature-comfort-zone as you do are so slim as to be impossible to calculate. And so, the battle of the thermostat begins. Every couple handles it differently. In our house it is a stealth war. J turns it up in the winter and down in the summer and I quietly (meaning when he’s gone to the store) change it. Not even just for the day. I’ll go in and completely reset the daily schedule for every day of the week. Then I relax, my fear of astronomical utility bills assuaged. That is until, as I sit in my office tapping away (or goofing off), I hear either the furnace or a/c unit come on. Curses! And so it goes. We NEVER discuss this but simply accept that the other is completely, absolutely wrong.

Given this chasm between us when it comes to heating and cooling our house it was a momentous event last night when I turned to J and announced that he was in control of the thermostat for the night hours. We’re having a bit of a heat wave and between that, sky rocketing pollen counts and the crows that begin their noise from hell at 5:30am I realized that open windows were not a good idea. I left it up to J, went upstairs to read and he, high on the testosterone of owning the thermostat went outside to kill something and eat its heart. 

I survived the night without frostbite and was even able to fall asleep to what seemed like the unending noise of the air conditioner. I’m pretty sure it didn’t shut off once so cannot go that place of what-is-this-costing-us. Instead, let’s move on to another area of the home where the genders seem to be speaking different languages: the dishwasher. Things can go two ways here. Either your partner doesn’t understand how a dishwasher works and thinks that leaving his dishes in the sink will render them spotless and reshelved or he will put them in the dishwasher but will believe it should be run with only two plates, a glass and a fork.

 This is NOT a full dishwasher

Let’s cut straight to the chase: dishwasher loading is a science and unless you are naturally gifted with spatial organization skills OR have taken advanced level courses in the field, you should leave it to the experts. This would seem to contradict my previous assertion about men who leave dishes in the sink but not really. Some things, such as plates, only have one location in most dishwashers. They stand upright on the bottom rack. Period. A chimp could handle that, so load your own plate. Same thing with silverware, it has its own basket so there’s not much question where it should go. There are other minor issues like not nesting one spoon directly with another or all forks facing the same way but those can be dealt with.

Where things get sticky is the top rack and the multitude of objects that get washed up there; most notably the delicate plastics and wine glasses. Cram glasses too close to each other and you will get breakage or they won’t get clean. This is where the science comes in. In my 30 years of dishwasher loading I have yet to break an item through improper placement despite the fact that I consider a dishwasher ready to run when it contains all 8 dinner plates, all the forks, at least 6 glasses and 3 wine glasses, and 3 plastic storage containers with lids. Now it’s ready to go. Thankfully, this is an area where training has paid off. J will ultimately load his own dishes but will leave the organization of items and the timing of when we run the dishwasher to me. In return, I don’t question how safe the leftovers in the fridge are. Food safety and when we throw things out are his domain. 

These are just two areas in the home that are rife for misunder-standing and ongoing battles. Thankfully, for us we acknowledge our individual weirdness and are all right with pretending not to ntoice things but changing them when the other isn't looking. It's called love.

How about you? Any covert operations going on in your home? Habits that make you nuts?


Nicole said...

This is hilarious! Yes, temps are always an issue.. Soo many things..

1. I don't do leftovers. He thinks throwing them out is a wasteful act.

2. I hate being hot or cold. He is like you - prefers to suffer to save money!

hahaaa.. I could go on and on!

Kathy said...

Love the thermostat battle!
At my house in the winter, I am bundled up like Nanook of the North and hubby wears shorts. Shorts!

In the summer it's so cold in the house sometimes I have to go outside to get warm!

Abby said...

I live alone so I obviously don't have these issues, but the office thermostat is always a ridiculous endeavor. We're no longer allowed to touch it and master control is in our boss' office, but there are two settings--the surface of hell and an arctic blast freezer. That's why it's 95 degrees out and I still have my space heater on at my desk.

When I lived at home though, there were MANY things. One that comes to mind was people putting dirty dishes/glasses NEXT to the sink instead of in the sink. You came that close. Just set it in the damn sink already.

Wisper said...

Yes! That sounds a lot like me and my husband. Sometimes the battles are stealthy and covert and seemingly peaceful. Other times, not so much...

Meghan @ Crazy Casa K said...

Made me laugh - so true! Found your blog through Writer's on glad I did :)

DJrelAt7 said...

Funny post... I live alone still but I can only imagine what crazy things me and my future husband will be doing lol

Stopping by from Write On Edge

The General Gazette said...

I can completely relate to the A/C and Heating dilemma. Glad to know I am not alone in this struggle :)

Catherine said...

Glad to hear I'm not alone in this war! I didn't even get into laundry which is enough to make me insane.

Abby- I worked in an office like that once and hated it. It is such an obscene waste- a/c on but so cold people need space heaters. Yuk.

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