As I stood this morning, monkey wrench in hand, taking apart the boot of my car to gain access to the battery, I began to think about the distribution of the jobs in our household. It has always been a fairly traditional setup with Husband going out to bring home the bacon and me staying at home with the children, but over the years I have noticed a certain mission creep in terms of the jobs I am doing around the house. We have always jokingly called them pink jobs and blue jobs. For instance, taking out the rubbish has always been a blue job and chauffeuring children to parties has been a pink job and that has always worked fine. But lately things seem to be getting a bit mixed up.
Only a couple of days ago, I found myself at the local building supply yard buying cement, sand and discussing how many bricks we were likely to need for a job we are having done in the garden. Husband meanwhile was busy at his pilates class. Admittedly it is a special class for triathlon training but you see my point?
I am now the person who knows how the central heating works, and how to restart the boiler, how to programme the various electrical devices such as smart TVs, the garden irrigation system and how the pool pump works, I even do the basic car maintenance. On the other side of the equation, Husband is much more sensitive to general order and tidiness around the house while I am much more laissez faire, probably because I am either under the bonnet of a car or wrestling with a deviant sprinkler. He is a whizz at booking flights and making travel arrangements while I would leave everything till the last minute and it would all cost twice as much if it was left up to me. He is also always happy to walk our extremely energetic dog. It really doesn´t make a huge difference who does what, but it did occur to me that if I dropped off the face of the earth, life at home could become a little difficult for Husband.
After years of trial and error, not to mention dealing with droves of extremely sexist Spanish builders and repair men, I can now hold my own in discussions relating to the relative efficiency of condensing boilers versus heat exchange pumps and such gems as how often to change the sand in the pool filter. The only thing I have flatly refused to get involved with is the use of the chainsaw. I now have years worth of accumulated knowledge of how to keep all the various pieces of machinery in our lives running smoothly. Where and when to kick them, how to dismantle and try to fix them and when to give up and call a technician from the endless list on my phone.
I suspect that if I was not around, most of the appliances would go on strike as they are used to being gently coaxed to work on a regular basis with each machine requiring a slightly different approach, not to mention the enormous numbers of different products they all need, from specialist hoover bags to ph reducing agent. It probably makes sense for me to start compiling some form of house crib sheet incase I am away and the automatic gate won’t open or the lawnmower overheats. Actually I should write a book with chapters, detailed diagrams and encouraging text. That way, if I go on a week long silent retreat or stressbusting yoga holiday, I won’t return to a post apocalyptic scene with Husband surrounded by piles of smoking machinery. But even if I do, I know the house will be spotless, the summer and Christmas holidays will be planned and booked and the dog will have been walked off his feet.