Monday, June 10, 2024

A gentle insanity

I had had a long day at the computer working my online job.

Afterward, since Older Daughter had made lunch and left the kitchen a mess, as usual, I tackled the dishes.

While my hands were in the dishwater, Don came over and kissed me on the back of the neck. "I'll say it again," he said. "If you ever want me to do the dishes, just say so."

His offer was just the latest in a long, long, long line of offers from family members to take over the dishes. And each and every time, I've refused.

Cleaning the kitchen, it seems, is one of the most hated of domestic chores. Endless women have spilled endless quantities of ink on how unfair it is that they have to do the washing up rather than someone else.

Not me. I will push everyone else out of the kitchen when it comes time to clean up, so I can clean up by myself. Why? Well, two reasons.

One, I realized decades ago that I'm very territorial in the kitchen. I don't like anyone else involved in the cleanup process. And two – heresy to admit it – I like doing dishes. Honestly, I do. I think it's for the same reasons I like weeding. It's mindless, I can take my time and work at a steady pace, it feels good to move around after sitting at the computer for so long, and it gives me satisfaction to tidy a messy area. I feel relaxed after I'm done.

That's why family members are often leery about offering to help clean up. They know I'll refuse.

"Well, it's a gentle insanity," Don hedged with a smile. He, too, thinks I'm a little crazy that I don't mind washing dishes.

"If you want to take over a chore," I suggested, rinsing a plate, "how about the bathroom?"

Because here's the thing: Don cleans our bathroom far better than I do. Under his industry, it comes out positively sparkling.

He agreed to give the bathroom a deep cleaning once a week – Friday was his day of choice. As I finished wiping down the kitchen, I thought with satisfaction that the distribution of chores in the Lewis household is just about perfect right now.

Seriously. Older Daughter does the cooking – something she's good at and enjoys far more than I do – and she can make a mess to her heart's content. (I've given her full permission to trash the place in whatever capacity it takes to creates those incredible meals she makes.) Don has taken over a chore I will only tackle at reluctant and too-distant intervals.

And I get the kitchen cleanup to myself, just as I've always like it. Whatever works.


  1. I always clean as I go when working in the kitchen. Makes things a whole lot easier in the end.

  2. I think the same about ironing...mindlessly pushing an iron over a wrinkled shirt and Voila! a beautiful smooth item waiting to be worn.

  3. I get it! The kitchen is my territory, my escape from insanity. I solve all the world's problems while cleaning the kitchen 😂

  4. After retirement, my husband always wants to clean up the kitchen, saying I cooked so he can clean. After 50+ years doing it, it's hard to give up. Sometimes he does, sometimes I do . . . but I always go back and check to see if it's like I want it left. I, too, enjoy cleaning up. However, he is terrific when we have company and always cleans up afterwards.
    Just don't make me dust - ha!!!

  5. I also like to be the only one in the kitchen cooking and then cleaning up. I do a few big holidays, so sometimes it is a lot of work, but since they are my guests, let them enjoy and I clean up. at my age, well past retirement, sometimes I do leave a few things for the next day.

  6. Laundry is my thing. I love to sit and sort socks and fold towels.
    I often joke the only good thing about living in a commune is each person could pick their favorite chore, and everything would get done.

  7. Patrice, our agreement has been (for many years) that one cooks and the other washes the dishes. As my cooking skills are dismal, my washing skills have been upped in value.

  8. I've always loved cooking, but dishes not so much. In doing them, I offer it up as penance for any sins, lol! But I agree that leaving the kitchen sparkling clean after meals is wonderful. Mama J

  9. Cleaning kitchen and dishes is the only way to assure everything is cleaned and not smeared.
    Practical Parsimony