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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 9:05 am | Fair 52º

 
 
 
 

She Said, Z Said: Chore Wars

Leslie Dinaberg and Zak Klobucher use new math to decipher the division of labor at their home.

She:  The division of labor at our house is a complicated equation at best. It’s not like we ever came up with a list of chores and divided them up. It just kind of evolved. And it works for us, mostly — except you can’t help yourself from telling me how to do stuff.

{mosimage}Z: That’s absurd. And I think you need to edit that first line. It should read, “Except you can’t stop patiently explaining to me the CORRECT way how to do stuff.”

She: The best piece of marriage advice I ever got was from Ramey, who said that if you want your husband to change diapers and wash bottles, don’t try to instruct him, but praise the way he does it, no matter how badly. Maybe she should have given YOU that advice. 

Z: Again, some judicious editing may be called for. I’m pretty sure what Ramey meant to say was, “When you wash dishes, you need to use clean water, not the dirty water that the dishes have been soaking in.” I’m quite sure you misunderstood her.

She: And somehow you think that telling me how to wash dishes is going to get me to wash more dishes?

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Z: No. It’s a disease. Hello, my name is Zak, and I’m a control freak — but only about pointless little things that are of little consequence.

She: True. You don’t give me useful advice or instruction on anything that’s important.

Z: See? I care. 

She: After almost 20 years, why do you still think that I’d ever take your chore advice to heart? If I tell you to do something, you get disproportionately mad and say that I’m nagging you. 

Z: Oh, no, I’m so sorry you feel that way. Let me explain. It’s not that I feel like you’re nagging me, it’s just that you’re wrong. I’ve already figured out the best way to do something, so to have you tell me how to do it isn’t very efficient. I may lash out as if I’m nagged and annoyed, but really I’m just trying to save us both some time.

She: So all of those half-finished projects that are sitting in the living room, your office, Koss’s room, the car, the bathroom, the kitchen, the garage of the house we lived in in 1999 — I shouldn’t bring those up because you’re still thinking about the best way to tackle them, huh?

Z: No, I already figured it out, and letting things percolate is part of the program. It’s math. You wouldn’t understand.

She: And how’s that working out for you? It’s not working out too well for me.

Z: So now you care about having a clean house? Have you even met the vacuum cleaner or the toilet bowl scrubber?

She: Well, I do care about having a clear path to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It’s not like I’m saying I’m a wonderful housekeeper. Even in the best of circumstances it’s one of those chores that would be better outsourced to, like, India or Sri Lanka.

Z: No argument there. Also, I think I’ve gotten much better. I haven’t mentioned anything about mopping styles in years. And I rarely get the chance to help you improve your dishwashing technique, what with your “chapped hands.”

She: I’ve done the dishes almost every night this week that dishes got done. I definitely need a mani/pedi, and some combat pay. Actually a massage would help, too. Do you know how hard doing dishes is on your back? 

Z: And I almost never make fun of your cooking anymore. Of course, not much has burst into flame lately, so there’s not as much to work with.

She: It was one or two little fires, and neither of them had anything to do with my cooking. Now I know that you don’t use paper napkins to pull things out of the oven. My mom never told me that, and nobody ever told me you shouldn’t hang a child’s artwork above the stove.

Z: So this is the advice I would be allowed to give you?

She: My lack of common sense is a completely different shortfall from my cooking abilities. At least I remember to feed our child! And who do you think picks your clothes off the floor, the laundry fairy?

Z: Yes.

She: Laundry is invisible to you. But if you’re going to ignore it, can you at least not sit directly on top of it?

Z: It’s so warm and cozy and a good place to drink a beer. Reminds me of my childhood. Besides, isn’t that the point of this whole exercise? I think that’s a sign of the evolved male. I’m so past giving you laundry advice, that I’m able to completely ignore it.

She: Yes, dear.

Leslie Dinaberg and Zak Klobucher are still married. E-mail them at [email protected]

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