Hey folks, I need your help – on how to deal with the ‘help’ I am getting from the L&M these days. I asked my blogger friends to help me with guest posts and they did; I asked my maid to help me with some extra chores and she did; and I asked the L&M to help me with some chores and he did too. And now, I don’t know how to deal with the last.
I am sure you think I’m being contrary or even sullen, unable to appreciate genuine support when it hits me in the eye. And I know too that the number of fans that the L&M has in blogosphere is more than all my fans and followers on all social networks put together and that they would rise as a body to defend him. But please read through the post before indicting me, ok? And you should gauge the level of my desperation if I am blogging about it in the midst of my pressing deadlines.
Over the years he has acted the ‘ handyman’ for me even when he has joined with the Brats to drive me up the wall at times. So when I asked him to help, he jumped in with alacrity. His working from home has its advantages (to him) and disadvantages (to me). Since he didn’t go out every day, he offered help in the cooking. He would make one dish – either a dal or a subzi. I agreed albeit with reservations. The last time he had offered to cook was when I had undergone an eye surgery and was advised to stay away from heat. He would make me repeat every little step with the precise measurements of spices so that he could get it all right. I begged him to cook any which way he wanted and I would eat it, but no, he had to get it perfect. It became such a pain that I begged him – this time to stop cooking and we got food catered for the duration of my rest.
So this time I thought I was being very clever when I laid the condition that he would not ask me for directions since I needed my mind free to work. And he agreed, too readily for my comfort, but I never learn, you know that already. He has several cards up his sleeve to get under my skin.
The next morning as I was trying to make up the loss of an hour of sleep from the previous night, I was jolted awake by strange noises. I sat up bolt upright fighting out of the fog of sleepiness. ‘Thak, thak, thak…’ went something, followed by scratching sounds. What was it? And then the cooker whistled and I breathed out slowly. Whew! Having woken up sufficiently I looked at the clock. It was 4.30 AM! Heart thudding in my chest, I lay back on the pillow, futilely trying to go back to sleep. Apparently he wanted to finish cooking before going for his morning walk since he would be busy with his newspaper, TV and work once he came back.
And later when I sat down to eat, the overpowering smell of garlic assailed my nose. I like garlic — a dash of it in certain dishes. But the L&M likes garlic. Period. Suffice to say that he has asked me several times why I don’t add garlic to the upma or even the idli batter. I kept mum and ate the garlic dish — flavored with some lauki and then another garlic dish flavoured with some baingan the next day. The house smells of garlic. If nothing we will at least never have a vampire breathing within a ten mile radius.
The L&M saw how hassled I was and decided to pitch in with other things without being told — like cleaning the house. I made the tactical blunder of telling him not to ask me where to put what and use his discretion while doing it. At first I was just happy that the house looked clean and I could actually see the table top and the sofa and the divan, but that was short lived. For I discovered that he had a simple rule : put away things that are needed/in use and throw away the rest. Notice that there is no category called ‘might be needed in future’.
Soon I was searching for the simplest of things – my favourite knife, my phone charger, my reading material…you name it, he had ‘put them away,’ God knew where. And as for the throw away stuff, this included papers like receipts and bills and even warranty cards! So I began rummaging through the dustbin where we threw the recyclable waste. But it was a waste of time, since he tore the papers up before throwing them away. And so the moment I heard the trrrrrrrrrrrr of tearing paper, I would rush to find what it was that he was tearing up. He even threw away the carton in which the data card came, with the result that when we needed to recharge it I didn’t have the number, him not having noted it down before throwing it away. How I got it is another long story. Sigh.
The long and short of it is that the moment he went on one of his cleaning sprees, it was like he was a man possessed and I would stiffen, not knowing what would get put away or thrown away. Slowly I became a nervous wreck.
‘Do we need this?’ became the most dreaded question for me. I would be finishing off a perfectly worded sentence and he would pop the question and it would be gone – the sentence, that is. It could be anything from my chappals, to my coat to his jacket (which fell under the will-be-needed-in the future category and so was not in his categorisation). I had to hide things from him all over again and this time it was not just eatables but other stuff too which might catch his eye and end up being given away or thrown away. Life had come a full circle folks!
So seriously did he take this job that the moment I came back from the market and put the shopping bag down, he would rush in to clear it off the table, all the while muttering that I was a clutter-bug and that he had so much work to do to keep the house clean! Then one day I saw his table and gasped. It was like the old days when the surfaces in the house groaned and moaned with the weight of things on them. The man saw all the clutter everywhere but had left his table alone. When I went near it, he snarled, ‘Don’t touch anything there!’ I backed off hastily.
But I admire him for being such a sport. Why, the other day he came to me carrying the newspaper. ‘Look at this! This study says that housewives spend an average of three hours a week correcting the work their husbands do around the house. (Link) ‘Why don’t you write an L&M piece on this one?’ and that’s how I ended up doing this post.
And now tell me, with whom do your sympathies lie, me or the L&M?
Uh oh! I hear a piece of paper being torn. I have to go. Catch you later folks!