Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lady Evil's Guide to Not-So-Good Housekeeping (Now With More Hyenas)

Technomancer keeps complaining that he can't find anything in my study.

I have no idea what he's talking about.  I can find stuff in my study just fine.  Say I need my thesaurus.*  It's right where I left it, in that pile of books and binders and papers by the table.  No, no, not the one on the table with the radio on top of it.  I'm talking about the one on the floor beside the table, the one with all the old fiber arts supplies catalogs sticking out.  It's the second item in the stack.  See? That wasn't hard.

Technomancer also complains that I let the dishes pile up, but he's exaggerating a bit.  I just did the dishes three days ago.  The dirty stuff currently sitting on the counter is barely enough for one dishwasher load. 

As you've probably guessed by now, my husband and I hold somewhat differing views on what constitutes a well-kept household.  He seems to have this strange idea in his head that everything needs to be "put away," "in order," "not festering like an old rat carcass in the kitchen sink" and all that fancy-pants jazz.  I take a more laid-back approach.**  But we can't keep living at odds. Marriage requires compromise.  

Technomancer has to learn to be less of a neatnik, and I have to learn to be less messy.

It's not going to be easy.  I've been a slob so long that it's almost ingrained into my DNA by now. Some of my fondest childhood memories are bound up in my champion slovenliness.  I remember how I used to swipe random toys from my younger siblings and hide them in my room.  Then I would take twine and wind it around all my furniture in an elaborate spider-web-like pattern to make a fun obstacle course for them to crawl through as they searched for their dolls or trucks or beanie babies in the impenetrable crust of clutter on my floor.  If they knocked down some of the twine, they had to go back to the door and start over from the beginning.  Good times, good times.

I've been working on reversing my habit of leaving things wherever for a few months now.  It's slow going, but I've been making progress.  The real problem is the dishes.  I've hated dish-duty since I was a kid and it was my household chore.  It wasn't the actual dishes themselves as the rinsing that got to me, probably because my brother would always deliberately spit on his plate to make it more disgusting to rinse.  I don't think he appreciated our little game of me stealing his shit and then making him humiliate himself to get it back.

And that, children, is why crusty dishes tend to pile up whenever I hold primary responsibility for cleaning the kitchen.  If it's a choice between rinsing dirty dishes and literally anything else--filling out tax forms, getting a pelvic exam, swine flu, you name it--those dishes are going to keep sitting there.  But since it bothers Technomancer, I have no choice.  I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and do something about it.

Fortunately for both of us, I thought I had conveniently stumbled upon a solution today while messing around online.

This article describes the unique approach the people of the Ethiopian city of Harar have taken to dealing with refuse in their streets.  Basically they entice the local hyenas into the city with food scraps after dark and let them eat every bit of edible garbage in sight.  And you know what? I'm mad that the people of Harar thought of this before I did.  A house hyena or two could strip all those ketchup splotches and cheese rinds off the plates in no time, and I bet they'd bring our garbage collection bill way down too.

The home security potential is a good angle as well.  Imagine you're a burglar.  You've just broken into my house at 2 AM.  Suddenly you hear an eerie, chuckling howl.  You turn around and see a pair of flat and murderous eyes fixed on you.  Needle-sharp white teeth glint in the dim light as it stalks steadily closer to you.  I bet you'd cut and run without touching anything.  Good luck not getting caught in the giant spider web of twine I rigged up in my study.  Technomancer says I can keep my study as messy as I want now.  That's his part of the compromise.

Then I told Technomancer that we needed to fill the house with hyenas to keep the dishes clean, and he looked at me like I was out of my mind.  I swear, there's just no pleasing some people. 

*Yes, I still own a hard-copy thesaurus.  No, it's not made of papyrus and written in ancient Greek. Yes, I know digital media is the wave of the future and all that crap, but sometimes I just like holding a real book in my hands, dammit.  Get off my lawn.

**Is it attracting pests? If yes = clean it.  If no = ignore and continue to mess around on the internet.



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