I had to travel for work last week. Which meant that for six days, the guys of my household (husband, son and Labrador) were on their own at home. This is certainly not the first time I’ve been away from home, and I will say that all three of them survive just fine when I’m not there.
I will also happily report that upon my return home, the house is never in a shambles. The dishes are done (although not put away), the beds are sort-of made (comforters tossed over the sheets), and there aren’t large piles of junk laying around (just small piles on table tops and counters). I am well aware that much of the clean up very likely happens just hours before I’m due home, but that’s fine. I don’t really care how it looked when I wasn’t there.
So from a broad-brush aspect, everything looked to be in order. Upon closer inspection however, it becomes clearly evident the difference between men and women when it comes to the details…. or, perhaps more appropriately stated, what men feel is important vs. unimportant. Let me share a few examples, and you tell me if this sounds familiar.
The lawn was mowed, and looked great. The broken handle on the toilet had been repaired, which was lovely to come home to. One load of laundry (my son’s) had been started, and was living in that limbo somewhere between washed and dried. In boy world, all was good.
On the not-important-to-guys spectrum, the fruit in the fruit bowl on the counter and the veggies in the salad drawer in the fridge were rotting. Obviously fruit and veggies are not a priority during bachelor’s week. No big surprise. Speaking of rotting, the refrigerator had several containers of leftovers that had already been a bit dated before I had left. Now they resembled science experiments, and some how had not made it out on trash day.
The bathrooms were a bit eewwww, but that is really just a weekly thing anyway. Always makes me wonder how when one had an appendage that one is able to direct, why is aim such an issue? And why are misses not noticed and wiped up? But that’s a topic perhaps for another day.
The bird feeders were empty. Luckily the finches and hummingbirds had not yet formed a gang to come knocking on the door demanding refills. The mail had been piled on the dining table – nothing had been opened or sorted.
All of these things are indeed pretty trivial. But it made me realize how much of the detail stuff falls under the umbrella of “stuff mom does”, and stuff that a woman will notice more quickly than a man might. For that matter, there’s a lot of stuff that isn’t really that necessary for basic boy survival.
Another example could be found with the dog. He had obviously been cared for – he had been fed, let outside, even played with a bit…and spent most of the week as “dude shop dog”, laying around on greasy rags keeping my husband company in his workshop. But the babying he gets from mom, including brushing, walks, and pampering, was missing. The morning after I got home, my husband said “he is like a different dog when you are home. He was mopey all week.” It’s good to feel missed.
That morning, when I headed outside to fill the bird feeders and take the dog for a walk, I saw a bright yellow sunflower perched in a tall glass of water on our patio table. My instant reaction was “Awww, how sweet. Not sure where the guys got that, since I don’t have that kind growing in my gardens, but it is so nice of them to put that there to welcome me home.” Later in the day, I asked my husband about it. As he strolled by he casually said “oh, Eric’s girlfriend got that for you.”
Yup. It’s a girl thing. And it’s good to be home.