Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mr. Good Housekeeping

Well, this 29th birthday was one of my best yet! The kids and nannies pulled-off a surprise birthday party for me--complete with a homemade birthday cake! There were approximately 20 guests, food, drinks, and even a miniature Dance Party! It was truly a fun evening and I can't thank them enough for all the thought and hard work they put into it!

In other news, I was cleaning up some old computer files and came across the drafts of two entries I had written for a World's Greatest Husband contest in Good Housekeeping magazine. I had written them a year apart for the same contest. Both times, I failed to finish them or mail them off. Maybe the publishers of Good Housekeeping will read them and give Jeff the award posthumously! Jeff never read the entries or even knew that I had conspired to enter him in the contest, but they do a nice job of illustrating a mere fraction of the contributions he made to our household:

Draft Entry--2005 (this was originally in a two-column format, but the blog will not accept the formatting, so I have put what originally appeared in the second column in red font).

Two hundred and fifty words is wholly inadequate to express why my husband was born to be “Mr. Good Housekeeping.” I hope the statistics will speak for themselves:

His Typical Day /My Typical Day
7:00 a.m. Wake up 3 kids for school
7:15 a.m. Make kids’ lunches for school
7:25 a.m. Give our middle daughter one last
Chance to wake up and get dressed
7:30 a.m. Make kids’ breakfast
7:45 a.m. Pack and check backpacks
7:55 a.m. Clean up breakfast while reminding
Middle daughter she is going to be
Late if she doesn’t hurry up. Load
And start the dishwasher.
8:00 a.m. Car pool our kids and three of the
Neighbor kids to school
8:15 a.m. Go to the grocery store with our
4 year-old son. Drive the “race car”
Shopping cart.
Wake up. Get ready for work.
9:00 a.m. Unpack groceries. Plan dinner.
Play games or puzzles with our son.
Go to work.
10:00 a.m. Write magazine articles. Earn a living.
Interrupt writing to explain to our son
That he can’t give himself a tatoo with
A ball point pen. Write articles. Tell our
Son to not stand on the back of the couch.
Stare at computer. Write more articles.
Scrub ball point tatoo off of son.
Noon: Make lunch for son. Eat together. With
Chop sticks (because per our son “that’s
how ninjas do it.”). Clean up. Read son
a book. Unload the dishwasher. Immed-
iately begin reloading it with lunch dishes.
Eat lunch with law partner.
1:00 p.m. Write magazine articles. Hope our son
Takes a nap.
2:50 p.m. Get son ready. Pick up our daughters
And neighbor kids from school.
3:15 p.m. Fix kids a snack. Make oldest daughter
Do homework and practice her guitar.
3:30 p.m. Write articles. Suggest oldest daughter
Practice guitar for more than five minutes,
Send her to practice some more. Try to
Write and simultaneously negotiate a
Fight between middle daughter and son.
Write. Write.Write.
Eat a muffin.
5:30 p.m. Check homework. Start making dinner.
(Often consisting of homemade bread and
Spaghetti sauce made from scratch!).
6:30 p.m. Eat Dinner (prepare kids’ plates)
Listen to me whine about my job. Agree
That I should have been a rock star.
Come home; eat dinner; complain about work.
7:00 p.m. Clean up dinner. Vacuum. Load dish
Washer. Wipe down kitchen surfaces.
Throw in a load of laundry.
7:30 p.m. Attend meeting as board member
Of school PTA.
Play with kids; give kids baths.
9:00 p.m. Return home. Fold Laundry. Throw In another load.
Kiss sleeping kids.
Put kids to bed.
9:30 p.m. Give me a back rub while I read Read magazine.
10:00 p.m. Go to Bed

Draft Entry--2006

I am a divorce lawyer. My husband is a successful freelance writer, treasurer of the PTA, President of his college alumni association, a high school religious education teacher, and work-at-home father to 3 elementary school children. Even though he juggles play dates with publication deadlines, he understands that my job is wrought with high demands and few rewards. To allow me the flexibility to serve my clients and, more importantly, to ensure that when I am home I am available to enjoy him and our children, he has undertaken virtually all of our household management. What’s more, he has taken on this disproportionate burden without complaint, without resentment, and with only fleeting moments of regret that are instantly resolved as soon as I try to do something “helpful” like sort the laundry, which (if I’m interpreting his gasps and facial contortions correctly) causes an irreversible imbalance in the universe—or irritable bowel syndrome (I’m not quite sure which). Of course, I always counsel my clients to avoid vesting one spouse with responsibility for all of the household chores because it fosters feelings of guilt and resentment. But now I am convinced that if something feels this right it just can’t be wrong! So in celebration of my emancipation from the unholy bonds of housework, I nominate my husband as Mr. Good Housekeeping 2006 and offer the following comparative list of our respective chores to illustrate his worthiness:

HIM: Wakes kids; gets them ready for school; makes their lunches; feeds them breakfast; picks the kids up from school; cooks dinner 7 nights a week (he bakes his own bread AND makes homemade pizza!); cleans up after dinner; does dishes; loads and unloads dishwasher; sorts the laundry; washes the laundry (“make sure you shake out the clothes before you put them in the dryer!”); folds the laundry; recycles; vacuums the floors, floorboards, carpets, blinds and walls (yes, I have it from a reliable source—our 10 year old daughter—that he actually vacuums the walls); he takes out the trash; cleans the windows (inside and out); and does every other conceivable household chore not listed here (not to mention he also does ALL of the home maintenance and yardwork . . .)

ME: Dust and polish wood. (He hates to dust). Watch the Style Network.


Geez! No wonder I'm so exhausted all the time:. It's hard work delegating everything Jeff did to the nannies, the cleaning lady, and the lawn service. And just think, after all that delegating I still have to eat a muffin and watch the Style Network! Will my toils never end? :-)

Come back soon!


mka said...

I bet the muffin isn't homemade. Love, Mom

ksu_rock said...

Too funny - LOL! I'm just catching up on the blog entries for the past couple weeks and this one tops the cake (did he bake too, besides bread?). By the way, JJ and the boys will be blessed with homemade bread, albeit from a breadmaker machine, either tonight or tomorrow, due to this post!
Take care,

Kara Smith said...

Wow, that just makes Jeff more amazing in my mind! Not that he wasn't amazing without all these housekeeping abilities...just Wow!

Terri said...

Keep up the hard work Kelly! :) What would have been funny is if you sent in your drafts and you won and then there was a Mrs. Housekeeping and Jeff entered you into that and they remembered your entry and they were like," Wait a minute, this Kelly can't become Mrs. Housekeeping, she just confessed on her entry that all she does is eat muffins and watch TV." I guess then you could be flattered because you still rang in their minds.
Love, Terri