The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Friday, April 29, 2005

Feeling boxed in

When it comes to division of household labor, I think we are like most couples in that there are certain jobs which are always mine and there are certain jobs which are always Paul's. There are also certain jobs which we both try to ignore for as long as possible in the hopes that the other person will give in and take care of them, but I won't mention those here because if I admit that they exist, I will therefore be obligated to take care of them.

Taking care of the garbage and recycling is on Paul's job list. I'm not sure why, but this universally seems to be a male responsibility, and we're all for traditional roles around here, me being a housewife who neither cooks nor cleans and all. Paul's pretty good about remembering to take the garbage and recycling out, but he's a bit stymied by the sheer mass of it all. He frequently leaves a bag or two behind when he fills the bins on garbage nights because he says we just have too much. I'm unclear on this concept. To me, it's simple. We pay the nice people to take our garbage away. When we have garbage, we should put it out and they should take it. Period. Yes, we admittedly generate quite a bit of trash around here, what with Evan's diapers and both kids' penchants for food that comes in cardboard boxes and all. But that's why we have garbage service. Paul disagrees. He is somehow embarrassed by the evidence of our conspicuous consumption that fills dozens of white kitchen bags each week. He doesn't seem to want our garbage men to know that we have (gasp) garbage.

I obviously think this little hangup of Paul's is a tad silly. I can see maybe taping a $20 bill to the trash cans if we've just a had a party and generated an insane amount of garbage, but I can't see letting refuse simmer away in our garage on a weekly basis for fear of offending our sanitation workers. But as much as I feel this way, I really don't care to take over garbage duty. So I let him do it his way and complain only when bags of little diaper genie sausages remain in my garage so long that the interior of my car begins to smell as a result. And we're both pretty happy with that arrangement (though this entry will no doubt start the "you know, you could just do the garbage yourself" discussions all over again around here).

The recycling tends to pile up in our garage as well, as Paul tackles it only in periodic bursts of energy. We're usually pretty up-to-date on bottles and glass these days, but cardboard remains a problem thanks to the endless supply of eBay and Amazon purchases which arrive in boxes that then need to be cut up and discarded. Paul usually lets the boxes sit for a while until the garage reaches critical mass and then spends several hours cutting, stacking and binding them all for recycling pickup. This is a job I have no desire whatsoever to take care of and we have a lot of storage space in our garage, so I really don't care too much about how long it takes him to get to it. But I think the whole neighborhood must be talking about us by now, because this is what they see every time I open my garage:

Posted by Hello

Yes, you counted correctly. There are three dozen empty pizza boxes in my garage right now. I cringe to think what this says about my family's nutritional intake. It has been a very, very long time since Paul has tackled pizza box recycling. Nonetheless, no litany of excuses could possibly make this stack any less embarrassing. I hate to get pushy, honey, but I think I know what you'll be doing this weekend...

At least it's going to rain, so you won't have to worry about missing golf.


At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Gretchen C. said...

I know I am so not helping by saying this, but your garage looks like a sterile laboratory environment compared to ours, which resembles an archeological dig.

That pile of pizza boxes is downright bright and cheery compared to the mess in my garage, which is a cacophony of baby equipment, old furniture Ben refuses to take to Goodwill however I complain, and used shipping boxes (detritus of my eBay addiction). To quote from Douglas Adams: There was a new sense of lightness and springiness in the air which had even communicated itself to the pile of old pizza boxes, which seemed now to recline at a jaunty rather than an oppressive angle.

You send Paul over to organize my garage and throw out half its contents, and I'll send Ben over to take out your garbage.

At 7:17 PM, Anonymous Heather said...

Too funny....I think it looks it great ;)

At 8:36 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

I tried. I really, really tried. But I just don't get it. I swear I'm no neat-nik...I swear it. But 36 pizza boxes?? I think in French, when you want to say the equivalent of "umpteen", you actually say the word 36. I'm forever going to see your stack of pizza boxes as the image of UMPTEEN.

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Lisa(lildaus) said...

Ohhhhhh, I can SO relate to Paul in this one!!! I HATE it when we have more than three bags of garbage to send out to the curb. I'll combine bags of garbage, just to make it look like 3 or less! :)

Now, I, on the other hand, am SO anal about clearing everything out, though, that that stack would drive me *i*n*s*a*n*e. In fact, may have so much trouble getting that image out of my head, that *I* may be at your door tomorrow, helping him get that stack out of there!!!

:) :) :)

(oh, btw, I am the primary garbage girl in our house..... I'm also the main grass cutter. Hmmmm, shoulda been born a dude, hey? :))

At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Wende said...

Oh my... funny how division of labor gets sorted out. I love the pizza boxes. If I were Paul I would claim they are "Art". . . which buys you a lot of leeway around my place.

Love the blog!

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Gina said...

Oh. My. Gawd. (said in my best Janice-from-Friends voice - with an obvious Southern drawl). I admit it, I laughed.

I think Paul and Brad are related some how. I know you and I are!

At 1:20 AM, Blogger AliceBabylon said...

Rebecca, just came across your blog via Bathroom Reading. I really enjoy it. I think you are a talented writer.


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