Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Venus and Mars #2

'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a family man in possession of a few empty days in-between Christmas and New Year, must be able to instigate a reorganisation of the home.

However little known the feelings or views of his wife may be on first encountering this plan, this truth is so well fixed in the mind of the Husband that all cupboards are considered his rightful property until negotiated otherwise by his Beloved...'

My sincere apologies to Miss Austen for paraphrasing the opening passage of her wonderful novel, 'Pride and Prejudice'. Which title, by the way, is a pretty good summary of Husband's and my respective attitudes to his recent project of getting the Boys into the same bedroom; Pride, from him, for making it happen, and for amongst other things; making trips to the skip and the storage facility, negotiating Homebase in the holiday season and last but not least, installing 4 shelves that have actually - counter to expectations - stayed up. Prejudice, from me, because I didn't get to plan it...

They say opposites attract. Whilst I think that this is not always the case, there are certainly aspects of my personality and Husband's that seem to confirm that it is.

For example. I like to live a tidy life. A place for everything, everything in it's place. Obviously two small boys have forced me to modify this somewhat, but overall it's the only way I'm able to live without itching. The keys always put back in the same spot. The milk in the same shelf on the fridge. Washing hung the most efficient way. Anal? Perhaps. But it's the only way for me to keep a lid on the chaos. Sure, if you live a bedsit and have few possessions, this level of control is not necessary or desirable, I agree with that. But once you acquire a Husband (especially MY husband) and children, you have to make a choice. Either you spend hours fruitlessly searching for the smallest train / lost glove / vital piece of lego each day, or, always put them back in roughly the same place and save yourself the trouble.

Husband, on the other hand, comes at this from the opposite end of the spectrum. When we met, his start point was that if something is dropped on the floor, then it can't fall any further - and should be easy to find. Now, he's moved on a little from there, just as I have moved on a little from an over-regimented life, and most of the time we meet somewhere in the middle. I tolerate the nest of shoes that breeds under his side of the bed. He ignores my putting stuff into useful piles (prior to ignoring it entirely and leaving it there - useless but tidy - for the next week / month / year).

So it always come as a nasty shock to me when he has one of his periodic 'I can't live like this anymore! We are going to sort things out - NOW!' fits, and then actually - horror! - does something about it. One of his favourite sayings is that you have to create chaos to remove chaos. Which is what has happened here in the few days before and after Christmas.

I would have been very happy to muse on the possibility that the boys go in one bedroom together and what needed to be done to make that happen for weeks. Oh, alright. MONTHS! Anything to put off actually having to do something about it. I would have planned it meticulously; worked out where to buy the right boxes to put stuff in on the new shelves once we eventually got round to booking a handyman to come and put them into the cupboards; pondered which quilt to buy for Boy #2's new bunk when I finally got to the point of organising the new mattress; and gradually got my children ready for such a tumultuous move etc etc.

Husband, on the other hand, parachuted in from Mars for a few days over the Christmas break, decided that now is as good a time as any to make it happen, and just did it.

God, that pisses me off.

(But thankyou, my darling. You are a wonder, a marvel, and I promise to get that year-old insurance quote sorted out by at least the beginning of February. Or March, at the latest...)


  1. I'm afraid I am the 'side of the bed paraphernalia collector' and dropper of all things. However, since having children there has been a modicum of change in my behaviour and I do have more tidying spurts. Not enough to keep my baying 'super tidy' husband from chelping though.

  2. I relate so much to this post! I paralyse myself sometimes because I have to do everything Right. In swoops some lovely man of my life (I am lucky as I have SEVERAL) and Just Gets On With It! I have so many things done as a result. But it pisses me off too! :-)

  3. Ha! This sounds familiar. It's that old thing of men getting the hire unfamiliar car and setting off before they've even read the manual. Whereas we would never set off, we'd be so worried about getting it right...

  4. OK, I had several "that's me" here. Three cheers for everything in its place. Including The Husband.

  5. Ditto what Modern said. Whilst not adverse to change I do like to plan every little detail out before committing myself otherwise I'd need 'committing' Fortunately my DH is not one to initiate changes as it may require decision making and organisation which he avoids like the plague. On the upside he is quite tidy, although shoes do get left in what I consider to be inconsiderate places.

    To make you feel better about my mention of our weather, it has come with a new influx of unwanted insect life which now requires lots of toxic spraying. Am I forgiven now? My Mother told me how cold it is in the UK when I spoke to her overnight (Midnight, and thus 2009, arrived here at 3pm GMT, so a good time to 'phone), and I was glad to hear that she didn't intend to go out while it was frosty or if it snowed.

    I do hope 2009 brings a change for the better for everyone who needs it;-)

  6. I like to have everything in its place too, trouble is it never stays there very long! Happy new year to you. x

  7. You have to create chaos to remove chaos!!! Isn't that like fixing something that ain't broke; creating work for yourself. Hmmm. SOunds like an excuse to get praise and look good for doing something that didn't need doing in the first place!
    Happy New Year.

  8. My ex used to say "It makes a mess when you skin a rabbit"". We lived on a farm, and I did like rabbit meat to cook in stews. These days I think of the analogy of my cupboards - they LOOK ok at the moment - from the outside - but there's a big mess all over the floor during the tidying-up process....
    I suspect that's what your man means.

  9. Oh, I'm sooo on your side on this! Except, imagine being you and marrying someone who is even more regimented and tidy and then lurches into sudden hyper-organisation without consultation. Equally annoying, I suspect...

  10. A very funny post, cheered me up on a particularly gloomy morning, Thank you.
    Darling husband chucks everything on the floor, chainsaw, pants, dog, spanners, combine harvester manual...then, as you say, once in a while has a fit at the mess and stomps about clearing it up.. I daren't mention he made it!

  11. Laura, we can't all be the same - and as I said, opposites sometimes do attract! Thanks for the visit and comment, btw!

    Katherine, I live in anticipation of the day when I have two boys who tidy without being asked. (Like that's ever going to happen!)

    NVG, ah yes, but which of us knows how to open the petrol cap?

    Modern, Husband in his place? That'll be the day.

    Sharon, thankyou - and a happy new year!

    GBS, ah, that lovely half hour after the cleaner leaves when the house is all tidy. It is only half an hour though - then chaos descends again!

    EPM - you said it!

    Sparx - do you, perhaps, speak from experience?

    Frog, well, I suppose at least I don't have chainsaws to deal with!

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