Apparently I need to learn some new skills.
Since I was made redundant I spend more time at home. Now that I have completed the “projects” list that I was given on my first day of freedom, I am into the day to day running of the house. In the mornings when my wife and kids head out the door, I am left tidying up their mess. I’m not sure who did it before I was home alone, but now it seems to fall into my remit.
I used to have other skills. Socialising, technical guru, handyman and sex god (well, you can but dream). These skills however have fallen into disuse, and apparently I have to learn new ones (or at least improve on the things I have spent the past twenty years developing).
New skills for an old dog
First up is dishwashers and loading (or unloading). As I am at home, to be fair, I do it more often than I did. It turns out though that I don’t do it right. Over twenty years of practise and I’m getting it wrong. Plates not pre-rinsed (despite reading somewhere they shouldn’t be), bowls stacked too closely together, and knives point downwards, are among my faults.
I had thought I was saving lives with the knife thing. I’d read of someone impaling their hand on a knife pointy side up. In our house though it seems as if cleanliness wins over health and safety. A perfect contradiction to a work environment.
I thought I was all alone but hadn’t realised there are places you can learn these skills – https://www.wikihow.life/Load-a-Dishwasher. See point 5 for the knife answer if you’re interested…but my other half knows best.
Another lesson I am being taught is to not use the tumble dryer to dry clothes. This is a cardinal sin. It goes against the environment, our electricity bill and clothes in general. Far better to spend ages putting it onto a strange folding device where it can languish for days as a mess. Obviously it begs the question why we have a tumble dryer if we’re not allowed to use it, but just like the spirits in my drinks cupboard we’re saving it for a special occasion.
Folding washing in a way that doesn’t crease it follows on from the drying. How do you crease socks? Anyway ignore the fact I am at least depositing clothes into the correct bedrooms, let’s focus on the re-folding, ironing or in extreme re-washing that goes on. Oh, and if you are doing the washing, woe betide you if you miss the tissue in the pocket. That’s a complete re-wash and twenty minutes in the corner.
Finally (well for a few examples, there are others) I’m left with table wiping. You could argue that people should use their plates to catch the crumbs, but that doesn’t happen in my house. That leaves me with the job of clearing the mess. Crumbs left on the table scores -10 marks, those falling onto the chairs – 5, and the not sweeping the floor effectively is -3.
What’s the reward?
I don’t mind particularly. Actually that’s a lie. I do mind. I mind the fact that once my slapdash approach was endearing not endangering, my poor household skills were compensated elsewhere and I was forgiven for everything (that last bit isn’t strictly true). What is strange is that how being off work means I should now wipe better, fold better, stack better and dry clothes in the optimum way despite many years of practise. Yes I did do these things before, I wasn’t a complete numpty.
So the question is, how to respond when you see the dishwasher restacked, clothes refolded or table re-wiped? I tend to sigh loudly and retreat to somewhere quiet. It’s not great communication I know, but over the years that skill has probably gone the same way as the others.
Perhaps that’s the one skill that would be worth re-learning…