There are those who say you shouldn’t call your wife a weasel. Some of them have written successful marriage books, gone on extensive lecture tours, and stayed married for 40, 50, or even 60 years at a time. Perhaps a more politically-correct term is preferred, in such circumstances. How ’bout “integrity challenged partner” or “sneaky spouse” (the second substitute at least retains the alliteration)?
Judge for yourself.
Just after dinner, my 19-month youngest daughter was forcibly ejected from her chair by her three-year-old brother. They had been sharing the easy chair happily, watching an episode of “Little House on the Prairie”. Suddenly David erupted with an outraged cry, “Sarah’s poopy!” He began vigorously kicking her with his left foot to accelerate her departure.
While I have many strong points, and am generally a charming and engaging fellow, I find myself entirely unable to change a poopy diaper immediately following a meal. I used the standard line, stolen from “Three Men and a Baby”:
“I’ll pay you a thousand dollars if you’ll change this diaper.”
Cagily, Kathy called my bluff. “Seriously, what will you pay?” she countered.
Momentarily off-guard, I agreed to a 10-minute cleanup spree some time this evening. Now, some husbands make a daily (or even weekly) practice of cleaning up after the evening meal, washing dishes, and generally carrying on in a way that, frankly, makes the rest of us look bad. I am not one of those husbands.
Recently, in a half-hearted attempt to lighten Kathy’s load, I have occasionally offered some limited cleanup help in the kitchen or living room, usually after the kids are in bed. To make it more palatable, I set a kitchen timer for some reasonable amount of time, like 10 minutes. Then I pitch in and help, and when Kathy works alongside me, we often can make a sizeable dent in that short timespan.
Around 10 pm I came in to the kitchen and, carefully setting the timer, began to rinse the dishes and load them into the dishwasher. Kathy joined me after a while, and we chatted amiably about the day and the various grocery purchases I had acquired.
“Boy, this is a long ten minutes!” I said to myself after what seemed like at least 30 minutes of cleanup duty. “Has the timer rung already?” I asked Kathy. (The other day the timer rang while I was putting something away in the mudroom, and I didn’t hear it — she turned it off, the crafty girl, and got another 40 seconds of work out of me before I suspected anything!)
“Hey, where IS the timer?” My gaze searched the counters frantically for the little white countdown timer, which surely by now must be showing less than 30 seconds remaining …
She had put it away.
Turned it off, and put it in the drawer, underneath some hot-pad mittens. She claims (and I nearly believe her) that it was just a reflex action, that she thought it had been left there from some earlier task, like boiling pasta. I called her a weasel, and she reset the timer to 5 more minutes and started it up again.
They say that it is never too late for good marriage counseling, even when you’ve been married for a while. Some counselors will bring the husband and wife both in at the same time, and then let just one of them talk at a time. Maybe we can find a guy that uses a little white kitchen timer …