Seeing Myself in a New Light

Since I’ve been incapacitated with this broken foot, my husband has taken over all the household duties that I’ve always done. It’s been difficult for him because he has his own job to do during the day, and then he comes home and does my work in the evenings and weekends. He even makes a great breakfast for me before he goes off to work.

Because my work as a domestic engineer is outside his realm of expertise, I’ve had to explain in detail what he needs to do. For instance, yesterday he did seven loads of laundry, two loads of sheets, two loads of rugs, and a load each of towels, dark things and light things. He had to ask how much detergent to use, what temperature setting was appropriate for each load, when to use fabric softener sheets (a no for towels because it makes them less absorbent, I explained), what things went in the dryer and what things needed to be hung on the drying rack.

When he cleaned the bathroom, I had to explain which product was to be used for the tub, which sponge was for which area (don’t use the same sponge for the sinks and countertop as he used for the toilet), showed him the scrubbing bubbles I used for the shower walls and how long to let it sit before he rinsed them off. When he thought he was finished, he said the bathroom didn’t smell quite as fresh as when I do it. “That’s because I also wash the floor,” I told him. He wanted to wash the floor, too, so I had to tell him which bucket to get, which mop to use, how much pine oil to put in the bucket and how much water to add.

Hubby is getting so much better in the kitchen. He has gone from being nearly a complete non-cooker to someone who can come up with a pretty decent meal with just a little bit of guidance from me. This morning he made a darn good frittata using mushrooms, onion, and basil I cut up for him. I talked him through how much olive oil to use, how to separate an egg so he could use two eggs and one egg white, how to lift up the edge of the frittata as it cooked to let the raw egg slip underneath the cooked part so all of it would be cooked evenly, when to put the lid on the skillet to finish cooking the top of it, and suggested he sprinkle just a little bit of Parmesan on the top before he plated it. It was marvelous!

My husband has so much more to do in the house to get it back into the shape I try to keep it in. He has all the floors to do and all the dusting. I will have to explain the use of the dust mop to get the areas the vacuum can’t reach and which polish to use for what and when to use just a microfiber cloth with no polish for certain things. I have no doubt he will be able to handle it all admirably.

Watching how hard he has worked these past three weeks, especially this weekend, has given me a greater appreciation of…well, of me! Lest you think I’m an egocentric, unappreciative wife, I assure you that I am unspeakably grateful to my husband’s efforts to take care of me during this difficult time. He has gone above and beyond, never complaining once. He does all this extra work with such devotion and grace, and I know I’m the luckiest gal in the world to have a husband like mine.

That being said, after watching all the hard work he is doing every day and how much knowledge it takes to be able to do all those things well, I’m thinking, “Dang! I didn’t realize I know so much and do so much!” You’ll have to excuse me now because I need to take a nap. Watching my husband do all this work makes me tired.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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40 Responses to Seeing Myself in a New Light

  1. emilieann says:

    Enjoyed your teaching skills on instructing your new student…hubby..I am sure when this is over, he will pony up to the mop and help out when he can; now that he really knows what goes into “keeping house”, especially if he wants more time with you, as mine does. After our 42 years, Robert helps out a lot more now that we are in a studio with less surfaces to clean. He can handle it and not feel overwhelmed at age 80. I don’t hear as much complaining either. I still work part time at housekeeping and mental health care and retail at my daughter’s store so I really appreciate him picking up the slack. Oh I really enjoy blogging and writing but not S&M..only children stories. God bless and a speedy recovery, Susan.

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks for the good wished, Emilieann. My sweet hubby has always helped out by loading the dishwasher after dinner, emptying it each morning, taking out the trash, etc., but he’s been doing just about everything since my accident. I’m starting to take over a few things now, which makes me happy about taking some of it off his shoulders. Your husband is amazing—80-years-old and still going strong. God bless both of you!

      • emilieann says:

        He just reminded me today that he may not look eighty but his mind tends to slip some….(I know) but now he knows…He says his family has to give him some slack…”Remember,I’m 80″ he says..Our young family (in 30’s) are trying to do that.

      • Coming East says:

        I think when you reach eighty, you have darned well earned some slack! A lot of slack!

  2. Shofar says:

    I think husbands are quite capable of doing a lot more, especially now that we both are retired. My regret is waiting so long to ‘train’ my husband to learn how to use the washer and dryer. He used to only help take the clothes out of the dryer and carry the laundry basket in. He does some chores like vacuuming and cleaning the bathtub when asked. He shows no interest in cooking so he’s on permanent KP, which he does a good job 3 x’s a day. Anyway, I think you’ve got a gem of a husband!

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, Shofar. My sweet honey has always cleaned up most of the dishes after dinner, except for the hand washables, but now he’s doing everything. I hope he still plans on doing some cooking when I can take over. It would be fun to do together. Your hubby sounds like a great guy.

  3. adinparadise says:

    What an absolute star your dear hubby is, and after he’s already done a day’s work too! Now he knows that you don’t just sit blogging all day whilst he’s at work. 😉

  4. You are invaluable to the team. It is a LOT of work. That’s why professionals get paid to do it. You should hire a housekeeper!!! Then spend some time on the couch WITH George, relaxing and vebal-managing from the couch TOGETHER. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      Believe me, Kathleen, I’ve thought of getting someone to come in and clean the house while I’m incapacitated, but it is so expensive! Maybe in August I’ll get someone to come in and do a super duper job on getting the house back into tip-top shape, cleaning baseboards and blinds, etc., and then I should be able to take it from there.

  5. Robin says:

    lol! It’s amazing how much work we do, but don’t recognize. Once, when I was overwhelmed with a to-do list and thinking I wasn’t accomplishing anything, a friend suggested I start making a list of things I completed so I could see just how much work I do every day. So much of the day to day stuff goes unrecognized, as if the house elves come in and take care of it.

    Now that you’ve got me thinking about all of this, I need a nap too. 😉

  6. Huffygirl says:

    Interesting Susan – my husband and I just went through a cleaning spree and he kept asking how to do this or that – even though we’ve been doing cleaning together for years. For us I think it comes more naturally – for them it’s more rote, maybe because it just doesn’t make as good sense to them. Sounds like you’ve got a good one there- I suggest you keep him.

  7. Amy says:

    Wow, it take this much knowledge to do house chores, and we do it day in and day out…

    • Coming East says:

      We’re so good at it, Amy, that we never think about how much skill and knowledge it takes to do it. We take our talents for granted.

      • Amy says:

        takes instead… George is so patient to say the least. Has it been four week?

      • Coming East says:

        Tomorrow it will be four weeks, Amy. Went to the doctor yesterday and got a good report. It’s healing well, and I can start putting weight on it, though I have to wear this boot for another month before she puts me in a surgical shoe.

  8. judithhb says:

    Well Susan one of the things I learned with my broken foot, was it’s OK to ask for and accept help when needed and then appreciate it as you obviously do. 🙂

  9. pattisj says:

    I don’t have the patience to be a teacher. My poor hubby tries to help when I’m not able to “carry my weight” of the workload, but it is so much easier to do it than to tell someone else. I’m glad you and George are amicably getting everything done. 🙂 It is tiring to watch them! lol

  10. Once a teacher… always a teacher. Now you can add this class to your resume! Great post, I think it is good when we are able to view ourselves with a clearer lens than what we normally view ourselves. Your post made me smile and it also kicked me in the behind a bit to appreciate mine a bit more. Thanks, DAF

  11. yen says:

    Whoa! Superwoman and Super Hubby! That’s a LOT of work indeed.

  12. Lenore Diane says:

    I am impressed with your thorough cleaning routine, Susan. Your Knight (as Georgette wrote) is doing a fantastic job. The fact you are grateful for his help probably keeps him going. Enjoy the rest earned by watching a man hard at work. (smile)

  13. Shary Hover says:

    It’s wonderful that your husband is pitching in with the housework… especially that he’s doing it your way. (When I get help from my husband, if I don’t let him do each task his own way, he disappears.) I bet he has a new appreciation for all you normally do, too.

    • Coming East says:

      I never thought about that, Shary, but the fact that George wants to do everything my way must mean he thinks the way I do it is pretty good. Thanks for pointing that out!

  14. Domestic engineer! Love it. Kudos for him for stepping up like that, you really do need and deserve some extra rest. Keeping up with the house is hard work. My husband sometimes thinks he has it easier at his job than I do staying at home taking care of the kids, the chores and my mother!

    • Coming East says:

      I think it’s good for spouses to see what really goes into running a household, Darla. They don’t realize how long it takes and what hard work it is to keep everything clean, cook the meals, shop for groceries, etc., do the laundry, and then, if you throw in taking care of kids, it’s mind-boggling!

  15. What a knight you have and I’m sure you have always known it. Things just seem right with the world when you can smell the clean of pine sol.

    • Coming East says:

      I’m thinking they should invent an air refresher whose scent is pine oil, Georgette. When people walked into your house and smelled it, they would think you’d been cleaning all day.

  16. Al says:

    Me too. Just reading about this much work makes me tired.

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