My wife has never been particularly tidy. If truth be told, she’s a slob. Things have to reach a specific level of grubbiness before she will consider them to be ‘dirty’ and she always has to force herself to attempt any domestic chore. Admittedly, there are lots of people who feel the same way, so this is not unusual. I am a lot tidier, though. Naturally, my wife regards me as an anal-retentive neat-freak, because I wash up when I’m done in the kitchen and I actually know where the vacuum cleaner is kept (of course, the forces of chaos always take this view against the champions of order).
This is why I sometimes find myself sliding towards the edge when I get home after a tough day and find the kitchen is looking like a war zone. “I’m going to clean it up”, she will frequently assure me as teetering piles of dirty dishes glued together with congealed grease from lunch fill every available surface. Although it drives me bananas occasionally, it is consistent behaviour and is a well-established pattern that hasn’t really changed in the decade that we have been married.
Recent events have left me a bit puzzled, though. I am reminded of the old cliche where the guy in the bar says, “My wife doesn’t understand me”. I have a variation on the theme: I don’t understand my wife (entirely). You see, our bathroom ceiling and shower curtain were both starting to get mouldy. These items were on my February list of ‘things to do’, so imagine my surprise when I arrived home one day to find that my wife had hired a painting contractor to do the ceiling. Apparently, she “couldn’t stand it any more”. The weird thing is, she’s okay with the mouldy shower curtain.