Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

Rockin' and rollin'

Rockin' and rollin'
The author of Mark's Work

Coleus flowers

Coleus flowers
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

Beauty abounds!
Heinz tomatoes, used for catsup

If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one butterfly,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
Painted Lady

Fall Jewels

Fall Jewels
Praying mantis, attending services on a zinnia...

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017
Something I have always wanted...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Yes, Virginia, Men Can Clean Toilets *

Yes, Virginia, Men Can Clean Toilets
Yes, Virginia, men can clean toilets.  Some of us have peculiar ways, out here in California.  Since I retired from teaching, five years ago, and excluding this most recent summer, I have maintained the household, endeavoring to keep ahead of the dust that descends upon us each day from Bell Springs Road.  I would think of it as the gift that keeps on giving, except when I try to exchange this “gift’ at Customer Service, they suggest I try elsewhere.
Ann has her long-arm quilting machine here at the house, so she is gainfully employed much of the time. I have my pension, but except for plunging back into the world of construction this past summer, for the first time in more than twenty years, I do not work outside our home.  Therefore, it seemed logical that Ann should not have to worry about house-cleaning.  
Having been raised in a household where the four oldest of us were boys, I learned at any early age, that washing dishes and floors, though not at the same time, was not women’s work.  It was work, pure and simple.  Mama used to give each of us a list each summer morning, with a number of tasks which might include cleaning one of the bathrooms, or washing the lunch dishes.  We learned at an early age that if you ate meals, then washing the dishes came with the territory.
If you watched television at any point in time, then vacuuming the living room seemed appropriate.  I tracked dirt into the house, either on my bare feet in the summer, or my shoes in the winter, so sweeping and washing the kitchen floor seemed the only logical course of action.  I never felt as though the chores were demeaning or unmanly (unboyly?).  That doesn’t mean I enjoyed the chores, it just means that I accepted it as a way of life.
Now, I keep the kitchen counters clean, the mechanics of the recycling, trash and compost coordinated, the floors swept and mopped, the bathrooms cleaned, and the clutter on the pool table kept to manageable levels.  I wash dishes, do laundry, clean toilets and feed the cats.  I vacuum, make the bed, empty the ashes from the wood stoves, and get up on a stool to clean the top of the refrigerator.  One of my son Ben’s favorite things to do, at six-two, is run his finger across the top of the ‘fridge, as though at the firehouse, conducting an inspection, and cluck disapprovingly.  If you have ever been “clucked” at, you know what I’m saying/talking about.
I hear all of the men out there muttering, “What do you want, a medal, or a chest to pin it on?” and I say, “Eat a root.”  I’m simply not a macho kind of guy.  Kat didn’t call me Pooh Bear, because I walk around flashing knife scars all over my face.  
OK, there was that incident last summer on the job site, when a one-inch piece of plywood, slipped innocuously into the side of my finger, and nestled there, rendering my finger incapable of bending by its very rigidity.  Was there a tweezers in the house?   Does the shoemaker’s kids wear shoes?
Luckily Casey, who was visibly distressed at my discomfort, had a spanking new razor blade from his pack of a hundred, and I was able to make that inch-long incision in the time that it would have taken to scream bloody murder.  Of course, I may have had to put squeezing out the mop temporarily aside, except that during the summer, I was lucky to be able to water the tomatoes upon my return home, let alone mop floors.
MY point is that washing toilets, is no more women’s work than men’s work, unless the men refrain from using the toilets.  [Be careful what you ask for.]  If someone wants to view my househusbandry, in any other way than an equal exchange of responsibilities, then I say, “Fine, I’ll leave the chain-sawing to you, and you leave the grout-cleaning to me," and I’ll get the better end of the deal, because we don’t got no grout. 

7 comments:

  1. Marky, Marky, Marky -- this is terrific - love the punch line, love the stuff about the way things were at home - if you ate dinner, you did dishes. end. of. story. You are too funny.
    I think that is one of the things that disturbs me about a certain young woman we both know - she doesn't always get the fact that the chores are there. One does not have to like doing them. One just needs to accept that they need doing and move forward.....

    ReplyDelete
  2. One of my mantras with my monkeys is: "Working is part of life, so you can do it happily or you can complain, but it still has to be done."
    Coming from a more traditional upbringing, I spent the first few years of my marriage feeling guilty when my husband did housework. I'm so glad I got over that.
    Your writing is so interesting to me. Like a conversation with a friend.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This reminded me of a quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder from one of the newspaper columns that were collected in Little House In The Ozarks: The Rediscovered Writings. "It may well be that it is not our work that is so hard for us as the dread of it and our often expressed hatred of it."

    As to the plywood in the finger, ouch. And I can identify a little too closely, having several months ago somehow run into a toothpick that had gotten jammed in the carpet in my office in such a way that the pointed end jabbed me hard on the edge of my second (pointer?) toe. At first, I thought the continuing pain and stiffness was just because I had deeply bruised by toe by running into the toothpick with such force. The tip of the offending toothpick seemed intact and there was nothing visible under the skin of my toe or protruding from the slightly-larger-than-a-pinprick hole. I think it was three days later that the quarter-inch nugget of toothpick worked its way out. It was angled in a way that explained why the remaining end of the toothpick looked exactly as a toothpick should.

    And we have spare grout, if you need it to clean. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you. My father's mantra, borrowed from the Japanese colonel, who ran the prisoner of war camp for Allied soldiers in "Bridge on the River Kwai" was "Let Us Be Happy in Our Work." Works for our family.

    ReplyDelete
  5. And Masked Mom, I will be happy to clean the grout, but only if I get to use a toothbrush to prolong the enjoyment, as we were required to do at Fort Leonard Wood, in Basic training.

    ReplyDelete
  6. And, Masked Mom, he would do it so he could go the Southern Tier of Western New York...... did I get all the caps and all the words right?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ya done good--those self-important caps can be tricky. :)

    ReplyDelete