July 9, 2011 in Washington Voices

Front Porch: Chores that set women, men apart

By The Spokesman-Review

Am I right?

My husband thinks I’m kind of a pain. I’m not sure why, but he mumbles these exacting words, and a few expletives, under his breath when things like, “Hey, there’s a ton of moss on the roof,” spill from my mouth. He claims I say things like this a billion times a day. He exaggerates.

I’m not sure why men exaggerate but I’ve noticed this drama queen quality about them that, in all honesty, can spin circles around a woman’s purported theatrics. I’ve never understood it. No woman has, which is why we’re proficient at saying, “Yes, dear.”

Am I right? Of course I am.

Moss on the roof is just one of a gazillion things I keep quiet about. I mean, I mention it but not that often. If it didn’t glare at me when I open the shades in the morning, I wouldn’t mention it at all. But it does, glare at me that is, and, I don’t know why but I think it’s goading me. You know, “Go ahead … make his day miserable” type of goading. Moss can be nasty like that.

There’s much provoking from inanimate chores around our place that it’s hard to turn a blind eye and, to be honest and completely objective about this, it’s all his fault.

Am I right? Of course I am.

We have this new fence, the one we paid an arm, leg and part of a foot for, that has the infuriating habit of absorbing Spokane’s mineral-saturated hard water into its cedar composition. Some would call the umbrellalike film splayed across the bottom artistic. I call it hideous. Like the moss, it’s goading me. You know, “Go ahead … make his day miserable” type of goading, and I oblige by saying, “Hey, there’s white stuff all over the outrageously expensive fence, and it’s not snow.” He mumbles; I throw my hands up. Things are eerily quiet for a while. I’m not sure why these inanimate chores strike up conversations with primarily women but they do.

Am I right? Of course I am.

The roof moss has extended family setting up residence in the yard as well. Moss is one of the northwest’s hidden treasures the “Spokane, Near Nature Near Perfect” ads never touch on. I’ve heard Arizonans buy this stuff for decoration.

No kidding.

Our moss is bright green and some might consider it the perfect complement to desert décor; I consider it slimy, and its spongelike substance feels like walking on a springboard.

Anyway, there’s the door that’s begging for completion, a tile floor that ran out of tile, cedar walls in need of stain, a front porch fence that needs replacing and the heater with its moments of obstinate behavior during the most frigid winter nights.

The bedrooms have a certain “je ne sais quoi” 1970s shag carpet theme. Shag is a wondrous invention; it can hide things like model airplane wings and hair clips in its fibers for eons and is remarkably resilient to destruction. Nothing seems to cause rips, stains or wear-outs and it defies anything that tries. Believe me, I’ve tried.

We have a whiz-bang central vac system that can suck the bejeezus out of anything in its path. Periodically it seeks out and sucks up another plastic army guy or a Starburst candy, remnants of when my children were children, hidden in the shag’s fibrous tomb.

It’s probably good the housing market is in the toilet right now (don’t even get me started on toilets) because with the honey-don’t-do’s around this joint, well, it’d be a tough sell.

I think the whole house is goading me with its many fixer-upper hints. You know, “Go ahead … make his year miserable” kind of goading. And because this kind of gets my goat, I gently and nonconfrontational-like remind my dear husband of that fact when I say, “Hey, do you ever think we’ll sell this place in the shape it’s in?”

“That’s one billion and one,” he shoots back.

Is he right?

I don’t think so.

Voices correspondent Sandra Babcock can be reached by email at Sandi30@comcast.net. Previous columns are available at spokesman.com/ columnists/

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