Eric Ahrendt Writer

Archive for December, 2014

Family Chores

Posted on December 16, 2014 by Comments are off

Family chores get assigned according to who’s best at them—or who refuses to do them based on a real or made-up reason. Here’s how my wife, Elaine, and I divide them.

  • Fixing electronic devices. I do this because I don’t take it personally when devices act up. Elaine tries to strong-arm them into working by pushing as many buttons as possible in quick succession. My approach is to move them from one spot to another. Neither approach really works, but at least I don’t make things worse.
  • Elaine actually likes plants and thinks they look better green than brown, so she’s the one outside nurturing things. She’s made a very tidy garden in the backyard with rich soil and drip irrigation. There are currently no plants in it to take care of, which I think is an ideal garden, but she’s determined to add green things to it at some point and assume responsibility for their welfare.
  • Driving. For Elaine, piloting the vehicle is just one of several activities she’s engaged in when behind the wheel, which include checking voicemail, talking, and looking at scenery out the side windows. When I’m driving, I’m barely willing to even talk (also true when I’m not driving) so I handle this chore out of a sense of self-preservation.
  • Remembering occasions. Not only do I not know anyone’s birthday or anniversary, I’m pretty vague about all holidays and occasions. Elaine remembers every one and has to use all her tact and speak in the tone you use with a small child when saying things to me like, “Thanksgiving’s always on a Thursday, dear.”
  • Dumping the dishwasher. This gives Elaine scary flashbacks since she was forced to do it as a kid—or so she says. That’s why I do it. I turn it into an efficiency challenge where I try to put everything away using as few motions as possible. I have it down to a science because we run the dishwasher a lot. See the next item.
  • Washing everything in sight. Elaine does this because if washing were my chore, things like sheets, dishes and tennis shoes would hardly ever get washed. In fact, I think you can use a glass for a whole week without washing it; she thinks a glass that has been exposed to the air for more than a few minutes needs to be sterilized.
  • We share this one, and maximize our use of technology to help out by emailing each other when we’re working at home, 10 feet apart. Email gets you a faster and more polite response than if you walked into the other person’s room to talk. It also prevents your spouse from using “I didn’t hear you” as an excuse for ignoring you.

“Play to your strengths” is good advice, so we follow it in assigning chores. So far, we have enough strengths to cover everything … sort of. We could use some help with the electronic devices.

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Most of these posts are my opinions and observations about marcom writing; others are about somewhat-related subjects I felt were post-worthy. I'm just hoping none of my current clients leave me after reading these.


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