Not having posted anything in a while, I really hate to pick up the blog after a hiatus by opening with a pet peeve, but I suppose this annoyance is the impetus that has provided enough kick-start to sit down at the computer again.
We all have our habits and areas where we are lacking. Realizing this, I have come to expect that certain things which bug me about sharing a home with a partner are not going to change and that I have to make some adjustments if I expect my own idiosyncrasies (of which there are plenty) to be accepted.
For instance, after all these years, I know that if I am not the last one out of the bed in the morning, the S.O. is not going to make the bed when he gets up. While I
like need the orderliness of having the bed made daily, and enjoy need to get into a neatly made bed each night, the S.O. doesn’t seem to care if he climbs into a disorderly, twisted jumble of blankets and sheets at the end of the day. If I go away for a few days and come back, I know he will not be making the bed for himself while I am gone and will think nothing of it. If I make a point of asking that he please, please, please make the bed before I come home, he might (just maybe) throw the bedspread over the lumpy mess of un-straightened, balled-up blankets underneath.
Some people are just like that. I have friends like that. It doesn’t seem to bother them. Personally, if the bed is made, it is like having at least one island of order despite other household chaos. I wish he would appreciate this enough to participate. I wish on weekends he would help out by changing the sheets together with me. I think that is a chore couples should share together. But he doesn’t. So OK, I do this for myself.
It is a fact that I am living with a real live version of Pig Pen. It is a remarkable phenomenon. There is an invisible (and sometimes not so invisible) whirlwind of dust and mess which surrounds, follows, and is generated by the S.O. He is a contractor who very physically gets into his work. He keeps himself clean, but everything around him is not. He tends to destroy his clothing. All his clothing. This includes shoes. Anything new will inevitably end up with paint, or grease, or a tear on it within a week or two. Sometimes even within a day. Even during his down time when he is not working, this is what he does. Then, when he needs to wear something nice to an event, there is nothing available because he has already ruined the item. At that point panic and frustration will ensue, but he never seems to learn the lesson. He probably has twenty stained or ripped shirts and pairs of jeans he could wear on a construction job, but he will consistently reach for the brand new pair of pants or shirt he received for Christmas or a birthday, only to come home with a great big oily stain or drips of white paint on the front of it. I try to hide a few good things for these occasions, but somehow they always seem to end up back in the drawer and are wrecked.
When he cooks something, the stove will be left covered with spices and egg drippings, the counter spattered with cereal, batter or coffee grounds. Bottles of oil, jars and containers left open without lids, plates and pans will be left out. Nothing will be wiped up. He does not clean up after himself much. When he does, it takes him a very long time to get to it. If he opens a package or the mail, he will rip into it like a child and drop the paper or box right on the floor, where it might remain. If I don’t clean up after him, he could live like that for days, or even weeks. I cannot stand it. I cannot wait weeks, or even days. Honestly, I don’t like to even wait hours for something like this. Clearly our perception of time and mess-threshold tend to differ.
His vehicle is a rolling trash can. Riding in it means sweeping the junk off the seat and sitting with your feet in a pile of garbage. His office is such a mess that I cannot imagine how any work can be accomplished there. The “man-cave” where he likes to relax and watch TV is an uncomfortable eye-sore filled with cans of WD-40, assorted nail clippers, cans of screws, unidentified metal things, piles of stuff. It is sort of like living with a perpetual adolescent in the house.
Now, given the above examples, one might wonder how a person who is bothered by such things could put up with this, and more specifically, why I have. The reasons are many, some of it clearly tied up in the relationship dance that we do, which defies a simple explanation – at least one I would delve into here. But there are things that he does do that are good things – very good things – and some of those things that he does are things that I don’t do myself. I certainly have my own clutter issues, mostly confined to my own spaces, which he (usually) does not complain about. We have (sort of) fallen into certain unspoken roles and responsibilities over the years. So I have, for the most part, just come to accept that this is how it has been and how it is going to continue to be. Sometimes I complain. Sometimes he almost makes an effort. But it always reverts back. Despite my frustration with it at times, there has been one oasis throughout the years which has made it bearable…..
Oddly, the one thing that has kept me from totally losing it regarding the messiness is the fact that the S.O. has mostly kept the toilet clean and the seat down. I have found this to be of great relief and much appreciated. I have found it to be respectful. I haven’t questioned why he has chosen to maintain this specific task, but have been very glad for it. And it has been a constant over the last eleven years….that is, until the last two weeks. All of a sudden, the S.O. has started leaving the seat up on the toilet.
The reason I noticed is because I sat down on it and fell in. It took me so much by surprise that I didn’t even realize what was happening. I actually laughed. I thought at first that a visitor must have been there while I was at work and had left the seat up, because the S.O. has never done that, ever. I have heard about this being the bane of male/female households, a major thorn of contention between the sexes about leaving the seat up or down. Normally I would have thought it was not such a big deal……but this one last bastion of civility is one thing I really need to hold on to here.
So I mentioned it and asked if he could please leave the seat down. However, the seat has been up again for the last week. I know this because I sat down without looking and fell in yet again. “What gives with the toilet seat?” I asked. The thing is, as much as I find it respectful to leave the seat down, unless one is living in a frat house I think The Up Seat is terribly disrespectful to women. And I think it looks bad too. The Up Seat is like the unmade bed of the bathroom. He says the question isn’t “Why is he leaving the seat up?” but “Why am I not noticing and still sitting down first?”
Am I crazy here? Does anyone else feel the same way? Any solutions? Is this more adolescent defiance behavior or has he become a total burn-out? Is this part of the war of the sexes?
Consciously or unconsciously – it is an act of rebellion. The best course is to change YOUR behavior by ALWAYS looking at the seat before sitting. When he stops enjoying the attention, he will most likely start behaving again.
That being said – I am the least qualified to commiserate with you, because while I am exactly the same about wanting my bed to look perfect, my sewing room – my “Woman Cave” is a hot mess.
Men. You can’t live with them, you can’t kill them.
No, you can’t…..
Oh gawd, I hardly know where to begin. I agree that the toilet seat is an act of rebellion. I don’t agree that the best course is for you to change your needs (to sit down on the toilet without looking) so that he gets what he wants. Or–to put it another way–the act of rebellion is actually a passive aggressive behavior. You can call him on it (passive-aggression is incredibly dishonest) and you can delve into the source of his aggression. What’s the message he’s sending: “I’m the boss”…”you don’t count”…”you’ve done something to piss/hurt me and I’m punishing you.” To just accept it puts you into a rigid box, not a comfortable–or loving–place to be.
Well, I don’t accept it, and I agree, it is a clear act of overt/covert childish rebellion because it is something new. The other sloppy stuff came with the package from day one. Perhaps if those things didn’t exist, the toilet seat issue would just be an annoying, idiosyncratic behavior that many couples have been battling for years. But it’s not. I am working on a few different approaches. Am not taking this one sitting down : )
How is he with replacing the toilet paper roll when it’s empty? Nobody, not a soul, in this house does this and it infuritates me! They’ll plop a new role on top of the empty roll, but won’t take the time to put it on the roller. I’m considering taking all the toilet paper hostage until things change. Maybe you should do the same. 😉
I laughed when I read this, because yes – he will either leave the old roll down to the very last fragment of a useless piece of paper, or else leave the new roll on top of the empty roll. I like the paper hostage idea….hmmm…..
Oh my. It’s true.
It does give the feeling that you don’t matter, or are not important enough to respect and remember.
Oddly enough, the behavior ended as abruptly as it began. No clear logic behind it. Good thing it stopped though, before having to take drastic measures… 😉