Sunday, October 18, 2015

Working well (not) together

Last weekend we had a short visit from The Love Couple who happened to be in New Hampshire for a wedding. They came to Maine Saturday morning for about 24 hours – just long enough for it to be a tease, but in a good way. We were very happy to have them here and we made the most of it – after we cleaned the place up.

Yes, even though it’s family, Spouse and I went through the usual panic cleaning routine the night before and the morning of their appearance. On Friday evening he scurried around washing, cleaning, and shredding. I was distracted by social media, cuddling with the cats, and Modern Family reruns.

On Saturday morning I was up ridiculously early sweeping, vacuuming and cooking while he slept in. When the timing felt right I made enough noise to wake him up.

When it comes to projects that require our immediate attention and cooperation, we work very well together.

As long as we stay away from each other.

My mate will work on things until midnight and not be tired, but the growl he emits some mornings when the alarm starts ringing would send Bigfoot back into the woods. I, on the other hand, am falling asleep on the sofa by 8 p.m. many evenings. Morning hours are my most productive. That is why many times I start writing this column early Monday evening and might only get halfway through before I’m brushing my teeth and climbing into bed. That Tuesday morning you will find me typing, proofing and editing as early as 5 a.m., feeling refreshed and ready to tackle such subjects as tourists or junk email.

We didn’t decide on this pattern of collaboration of sorts, it just happened that way. Our partnership happens to consist of working separately, though it doesn’t always go smoothly. For instance, when we think we’re “helping” each other and are actually reversing the process.

Spouse: “Are you done with the Swiffer?”

Me: “No, I still have to use it in the kitchen.”

Spouse: “Oh… so I guess I shouldn’t have put it back in the closet yet.”

Me: “Please stop being helpful.”

I don’t think we're so different from many others who get a little lax with the housekeeping (to put it mildly) until someone else is going to enter our abode. At that moment we initiate our cleaning method, which is more of a stuff-it-in-the-closet/drawer/spare bedroom system. Hey, everyone has their own way of cleaning. Let’s face it - if I ever considered hiring someone to clean periodically, I would have to spend a week scouring before I would let them enter my home so they don’t leave screaming down the street.

But I digress. My point is that Spouse and I complement each other in our own odd way when it comes to panic cleaning, which is not all that different from panic harvesting, if you happened to be here last week.

It’s good to have someone who will work with you, even if the unspoken rule is that you are really working alone for the sake of avoiding a cleaning war. Of course, in last weekend’s case The Love Couple decided to surprise us by pretending to be at least an hour away. When they did arrive early I was still in my pajamas, unshowered and reeking of furniture polish and that morning’s breakfast. Naturally, I was not going to complain about having even more time with them.

We probably need to time things like showers a little better. Then again, hopefully the scent of furniture polish and breakfast felt like home to The Love Couple.


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