I had an epiphany, the epiphany led to dangerous self reflection and the result is this confession. As a man, as a son, as a husband, this is where I come clean, where I purge and unfortunately rat out my gender compatriots. To the wives of the world I lay prostrate, to the husbands, I’m sorry I have laid bare one of our many dark secrets.
Fresh strawberries, light yogurt, crushed ice, skim milk and Splenda blended to just the right consistency is a great topping to an evening of television fun. Like the wild man that I am I started depositing the above ingredients into our blender, without measuring anything. I then scraped out the last of the yogurt from the container and dropped the spoon into the blender to get all of that yummy stuff off. I sliced the strawberries, ate one, sliced a couple more for good measure and took the container to the blender base to blend. As soon as I hit high on the blender I remembered the spoon because of the god awful racket coming from what was left of my blender.
The liquid that was to be a cool, sweet refreshing smoothie started seeping out of the bottom of the blender all over the counter top. Being the guy I am I didn’t immediately understand what I had done and lifted the blender from the motor and more liquid quickly flowed from the now broken blender and started to run down the front of the cabinets and onto the dogs water and food dishes. Maggie the dauschund thought that was pretty cool as she lapped up the yogurt and milk. I quickly moved the dripping blender to the sink, dripping the goodness from the wounded appliance on the floor, on my feet and in the sink.
This is where the epiphany and ensuing self appraisal began. I grabbed a bar towel and started to wipe up my mess, which was a pretty impressive mess at this point. I had milky, yogurty, strawberry liquid everywhere and I tentatively dabbed, then mopped with the lone bar towel. I saw where I had managed to get the goo on front of the cabinets and on Maggie’s dishes and took a half-hearted swipe at the mess. Clearly there were still remnants of my mistake on the floor, on the cabinet doors, on the busted blender base but I started to move on anyway leaving it for someone else.
Herein lies the confession…. my name is Marty’s Husband and I’m clearly a half-ass cleaner. I have gone through life hitting the big spots, the obvious puddle on the counter, while blowing off the small spots, the sticky stuff, the stuff on the floor and the cabinet doors and the crevices of the blender. I was struck by my own dereliction of duty to my house.
When Marty and I roamed and ran the house together I used to take great pride in doing the dishes after supper, the easy dishes. I almost always, make that always, left my bride with the worst pan, the caked on pan, the burned food on the bottom pot, the pan too big for the dishwasher. I took credit for the dishes done, but I had dear Marty cleaning behind me.
It’s wasn’t just cleaning. I could always count on Marty to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer when I “forgot” or pick up that little piece of paper I dropped on the floor or put water in the dog’s water bowl or simply make some logistical but mundane decisions. Having that partner in your life who helps pick up, clean up and finish up after you becomes so habit forming you begin to count on it. Until….
Until the strokes changed everything and our roles in our marriage simply reversed.
Until the one who always completed your sentences can’t follow behind you anymore and all of the sudden you are standing in the middle of a puddle of goo and there is no one to clean it except you.
Until you figure out that the toothpick on the floor will stay on the floor until you either step on it or pick it up because you are it, there is no one following you to help, to finish, completing the task.
Until you recognize and accept the fact you alone are responsible for your muck.
As I stood in the middle of the kitchen, resigned to my task, coming to grips with my own shortcomings over the years I could picture Marty coming behind me with a warm wet towel and wiping the fragments of my mistake from the cabinet doors, muttering and cursing the whole time, saying to herself but loud enough for me to hear, “It would have been easier to do it right the first time.”
My epiphany, I miss the reality where I knew someone was behind me all of the time, I miss being able to have Marty have my back. My confession, I’m a closet slob, as are many of the men I know, but this time I simply wet the bar towel and began to clean thinking about my epiphany.