Careful readers may remember that one of my books last Quarter was It's Not You, It's the Dishes: How to Minimize Conflict and Maximize Happiness in Your Relationship, a Father's day gift from Worldwide. One of the points the authors make in the book is that couples often have a division of labor that is well understood, but nevertheless unarticulated. And though they don't begrudge the division, each harbors a tiny bit of resentment that a given task is not fully appreciated in its contribution to household bliss
In our kitchen, for example, I usually (my estimate is 95% of the time, but people tend to have a higher opinion of themselves than is warranted in these cases) empty the dishwasher, while Worldwide wipes down counters and cleans the floor, although for some reason the stovetop is my responsibility.
Her tools of choice for these tasks are those disinfecting "wipes" for the countertops, and the wet "Swiffer" for the floor. I've never fully understood why the wipes are better than a paper towel and a bottle of cleaner, and I've never used the Swiffer, preferring the traditional mop the two or three times I've cleaned the kitchen floor over the last three years. In fact, on more than one occasion, having been asked to add Swiffer cloths to the grocery list, I have come home with the wrong product.
This morning I was faced with a conundrum. You may recall a June post about our cantankerous coffee maker. I've taken to not setting the timer in order to avoid the occasional Lake o'Joe in the kitchen, but things have been going without incident of late, so, diving straight into the Sunday paper (See how Tom Friedman echoes my position on natural gas) I did not notice the malfunction until I waded into the kitchen for my first cup of the day.
I soaked up the overflow with a sponge and a paper towel, but there was a noticeable brown residue left on the floor. Luckily, Worldwide had arranged for our housekeeping service to come on Monday (ensuring her return to a presentable abode) so I knew that they would handle the unsightliness.
But how in good conscience, could I leave a mess for the housekeepers to clean up? Wrestling with the economics and the psychology of this dilemma, I decided to do a quick once-over with the Swiffer. It took awhile to figure out how to attach the cloth to the mop, but after I did, the tool took care of the problem in two shakes of a lamb's tail, as my grandmother would say.
I'm not making any kind of point about how easy this job is. Our kitchen hosts a lot of activity, so keeping it clean requires continuous attention. I get that. I'm just giving the wet Swiffer a little plug, and I'm glad that I won't have to admit in the future that I don't know how to load it.