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Monday, 19 May 2008

Hi, Hon. What Did You Do All Day?

By Nancy Leitz

Did your husband ever come home from work and ask you that question? My husband, Roy, did many times before I finally found the right answer. I'll tell you what I did.

We had been married for seven years and had four children. Can you say rhythm method of birth control? It was the Catholic Church's sure fire answer to their ban on artificial birth control (Read: methods that actually work.) As I have said before, the name we gave to people who relied on the rhythm system was PARENTS.

So, we were living in the little town of Darby in a small row house with three tiny bedrooms and one bath. It was a little like living in Lilliput, only we were full sized and that made living in that house with six people a bit difficult.

The place was usually a jumble of toys and clothes and baby bottles and diaper pails in the midst of adult stuff like books, newspapers, tools and piles of bills that had to be paid. Thank God we always had enough money to pay those bills, if only I got a chance to sit down long enough to actually write a check.

What I did was, every day about 4:30 I would shine the kids up and change their clothes if necessary. I would pick up the papers and books and generally straighten up the house so it looked real neat and clean before Roy came in from work.

As soon as I decided which way I was going to cook the hamburger that night (i.e. meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, meatcakes and gravy etc.), dinner would be started, so I was busy every minute of the day, as you can imagine, so it really frosted me when I would hear that familiar phrase: "Hi Hon, What did you do all day?”

I had to stop him from saying that. But how? I thought of and rejected many diabolical plans to make him eat his words, but none would be sufficient to break him of this dreadful habit. Then it hit me and here is what I did.

The very next day when he came home from work, the Pepsi glasses and chip bags from the night before were on the coffee table. The breakfast dishes were piled in the sink with the egg gluing itself to the plates and the milk bottle was in the middle of the kitchen table along with the crusts and remains of the peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches I had served at lunch time.

There was a basket of dirty laundry in the dining room and a baby coach full of Cheerios that the boys had dumped in there for fun. There were three dirty diapers in a trash can in the middle of the living room floor and none of the kids had been shined up. They all looked like they should have been standing under a sign that said "Give Till It Hurts". They had dirty faces and dirtier clothes and were definitely not happy. There was absolutely nothing cooking on the stove. Ice Cold! To sum up, both the kids and the house were disasters.

As Roy came in the door, I said, "Please do not say one word. Many nights you come in here and the first thing you say is, "Hi, Hon, what did you do all day?

“Well, HON, so you'll know what I do all day, TODAY I DIDN'T DO IT."

[The Elder Storytelling Place can always use additional stories. If you would like to contribute to this growing and important collection written by ordinary elders about their lives, the guidelines are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

I had to do the same thing to mr. kenju!

Nancy, we had neighbors when I was growing up who had seven kids they referred to as their "rhythm babies".

I hear you loud and clear. Men always thought we had it easy, lazing around all day eating bonbons while they were out there in the real world earning a living.
I had a recent dilemma; my aged husband becomes vociferous (vehement shouting or calling out ) when he watches television and the subject draws his ire. He was especially loud yesterday and I had to find a way to slow him down or stop him. At one point he yelled very loud...So I told him a neighbor had knocked on the front door and wanted to know if everything was alright. He's been quiet ever since.

You showed him, Nancy. I think that was an ingenious way to make your point.

I was never clever enough to think of a way to show my husband why I was so tired when he got home, but my daughter was more imaginative. She left the house one morning and was gone all day while her husband spent his day off taking care of the girls and cooking.

In reality, he is a better cook than either of us and rates the title of Chef.

Is there a single female Elderblogger who does not remember such questioning? I rarely had to listen to those kind of stupid questions from my first husband because he rarely came home.

Hi Nancy. I can't believe that I had just commented on your story and then returned to my mail to see that you are this Nancy. I remember your Mother's Day story and I loved the way you hit the nail on the head with this one. Part of it inspired a story I want to write for Father's Day. Now I am your loyal follower!

I love it. Hurrah.

Nancy that was a very clever way to prove your point!

My days off from work were somewhat like yours. I would put sneakers in the frig, and milk in the cabinet. When my boys dad would come in and ask me what happened. I said, "Hey, they're alive, I've done my job".

Judy,

Yes, we had our own rhythm band.A cute little group who played the bells,wood blocks and triangle.
Great fun!

Liloldme,

That's what I think Roy had in mind. He probably pictured me lounging in my lingerie,eating bonbons and reading all about Marilyn Monroe in Hedda Hopper's or Louella Parson's columns.I just threw Louella and Hedda in as a memory test....Anybody remember those two biddies?

Darlene,

Very good thinking on your daughter's part. I know her husband had a new appreciation for her after spending a whole day alone with the kids....

Hi Granny Annie,

Yes,it's me! Was that good or bad that your first husband rarely came home? Good for you,bad for him.....

Mage,

Welcome back from the cruise. Sorry about the weather in San Diego. Muy Caliente!!

Glad you liked the story.

Grannymar,

Thanks GM, all I know I learn from you,you clever girl.....

Beverly,

I know exactly what you mean. One time I found the mustard in the coffee pot and the best part is, the kids didn't do it, I did.....

I used to HATE that question more than anything else! It always sounded a bit accusing.

I can't believe I almost missed your post entirely. I've been busy with work....sorry sweetie. I love when you post. You make me laugh. And as usual you make your point with style. Loved it Nancy.

Before I stopped work and had my daughter I thought I would have lots of time to read, watch the soapies, etc. but I found out how much time and energys a newborn requires for a new mother. I couldn't even get around to making dinner until 10pm.

One day at the supermarket,I ran into someone from work who asked "How's the lady of leisure?" It took a great deal of restraint to not lunge at his neck.

A good read,
Celia

Hi, i found this a very interesting story, I am engaged to a lovely lady, i will be sure never to continually ask her this, i do tell her what i do each day before she can ask me.

Found my way here via another blog... love, love LOVE this! Will remember this story always.

I am not an elder, and my husband didn't ask this question quiet this way. But in trying to get him to understand what I did all day I once kept notes. Yep! I went all crazy like that and wrote down EVERY SINGLE THING I did. I kept a marker board on the fridge. When he came home and the marker board was full of stuff like picked up dirty laundry, sorted, washed, dried, folded, hung up clothes, gathered dirty dishes, washed, dried, put away, picked up trash and carried out 3 bags, took out recycling, cooked breakfast, cleaned up breakfast, cooked lunch, cleaned lunch, fixed snacks, cleaned snacks, cooked supper, cleaned supper, 3 kids baths, swept floors(after each toddler made multiple messes), vacuum....and I let him know there was much that didn't make the list-like wipe a snotty nose every 2 minutes, wash the crayon marks off the fridge, clean up 4 accidents from our potty training toddler...and the rant continued on politely as I could (didn't think being disrespectful or in a rage would help) to let him know I start my day at dawn and don't stop till 11pm. I gotta say, he has been so much more helpful these last 2 years. But in his defense, he was in school prior to that taking 16 hours, having 10hours rehearsal a week (music major), any performances and traveling needed for school, serving at our church for music, drama, all that had multiple rehearsals, school study time, and a full time job! So he really had NO idea what went on at home. I'm not sure how we survived those years, but for the grace of God!

I'm a really Johnny come lately to this one but I absolutely loved it. Wish I'd thought of doing that. My other hated, repeated phrase was when at any mixed gathering, I walked up to a group that included men, one of them, guaranteed, would turn to me and ask, "How are the children?" as if that was all I was capable of discussing. Grrr.

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