From my newsletter, Women Who Think Too Much, 2002
Should I Pass the Salt?
by Jeanne Marie
To salt over the sink, or not? Ah, such a loaded question.
If you are the one who washes the kitchen counters and sweeps the floors, then you may salt wherever you like. However, there are rules for the non-cleaner. Yes? I’m the designated cleaner, and I despise housework.
I’ve begun to employ avoidance tactics in my house, like, if I don’t spill it, I won’t have to wipe it, or if you spill it, you wipe it.
The kids are gone, so I figure it’s time to shift to minimal maintenance here. Now, this week my mate said that he feels bound and nagged by my little quirks, especially my salt fetish.
“You’re driving me crazy,” he said. “I pick up the stuff you leave lying all over the house,” he said.
True enough. But here’s the deal. He picks it up if he feels like it, maybe yes, maybe no. He has a choice. On the other hand, I’m bound by the laws of nature to snatch up everything I see, and put it away, at least every other day. He could and I should, and that is worlds apart.
Another tiresome disagreement centers around the dogs. If the damn alien dogs didn’t eat biscuits under the sheets, I wouldn’t have to shake out the bedding each night, before I climb into bed.
My mate has no problem sleeping on crunchy bits of treats. But as for me, I’ve barely recovered from the “Princess and The Pea Syndrome.”
I become quite nuts when I crawl over sharp bits of meat by-products. To add to the dilemma, my insane, female poodle, Peggy-Sue, turns into the Tasmanian Devil when I sweep my hands across the sheets, to rid my side of doggy debris. Maybe she thinks, “Hey! I just buried that stuff!” and here I am, depriving her of tomorrow’s snack, but geez! Does she have to bite me so hard?
I’ve promised to buy myself a bed for the spare room at least a hundred times, and to lock the dogs out. It worries me that I haven’t carried through on that threat. I’m afraid that the dogs and my mate know I’m just blowing off steam. They all continue to munch in bed. Yes, Lays potato chips are also a problem. Of course, the fact that when I get up to go pee in the middle of the night, Peggy-Sue refuses to allow me back into the bed, is wearing me down. And Charlie, her cohort, loves to run through my hair while I’m sleeping, tangling his paws in it, and tearing hunks of my thin enough hair, right out of my head. He also runs across my face while I’m asleep, and fifteen pounds sounds light, but equipped with toenails, it can smart.
Speaking of smart, if I was, I’d have my own bedroom by now. Am I a masochist, or is cuddling the warm backside of my husband that fulfilling? Is the habit of intimacy so strong, that self-preservation loses its drive?
He said that he’s afraid to tell people I ask him to salt his food over the sink, it’s so perverse.
Well, I’m not worried! I’ll invite fifty people over to watch his salting habits and see if they don’t have some compassion for me, the cleaner.
He is perverse himself, throwing salt on each nugget of corn, from a foot over the plate.
Strangely enough, when my kids come back home to visit, they salt over the sink and they leave their muddy shoes at the door. The weird part is, I couldn’t pay them to do that when they lived here.
For twenty-odd years, I was a slave to kids, housework, cooking, laundry and on and on.
I just want to be free to write, to have time to putter in my garden, to smell the roses.
I guess I shouldn’t complain. My mate does more around the house than most men. He does at least half of our dishes, (I thank him for doing the dishes; he doesn’t thank me when I do them.)
But I am not going to pass the salt.