What About This? By Wayne William Cipriano
“Go write an article, Wayne.”
It’s amazing how often I hear that direction. And it is not because Rosalie wishes to thicken up the Herald with “literature.” The fact is, she is simply trying to get rid of me, at least short-term.
When I’m around the house, especially for a few minutes or an hour or so, I’m looking for something to do. Can’t get down to the shop because everything there takes “too long” and I don’t like leaving a project in the middle, mostly because by the time I get back to it, I’ve fogotten all the planning that went into its beginning and it seems like I have to start all over again – sort of like I’ve wasted that beginning.
Rosalie is always bustling about, involved in one thing or another, making our home run clockishly. And there I am, standing by, trying to keep out of the way, avoiding even conversation that might interrupt whatever sequence she is into. If there is a football game on television, the problem is over, but that season is limited and games aren’t on all day. Reading in the morning or the early afternoon just seems too decadent. I guess I could take a stab at the ranch books, but much like working in the shop, if you’re not prepared to finish what you start, leaving the books in the middle of some calculation often results in more work overall when you next get back to them.
A lot of the projects Rosalie throws herself into take a lot of effort over a relatively short amount of time, then she goes on to the next one, often with no time to speak of between the two. There’s where I figure I can “help,” knocking off a short-term project for her. My “free” minutes are filled with worthwile endeavor, one of Rosalie’s jobs is completed, what’s not to like? And then, of course, there’s the gratidtude (real, or on some occasions perhaps a bit strained) for being so “helpful.”
Over the years, I have heard quite a few women complain that once their husbands retire or cut back active work outside the home, those husbands become a bit of a drag on the efficient running of a household. One may even hear, on rare occasions, that those husbands an be found “underfoot” or even more rarely “being a pain in …” This would never be the case with Rosalie and I because I only request to help her when, in my view, she really needs the help. And in the vanishingly small percnetage of the times where she could actually get on better and faster without my help, I’m sure I get those vibes and act accordingly.
At those times, I’ll find something that needs to be done, but Rosalie hasn’t noticed it needs doing. Take the cupboards, for example. What wife would not love to have the items in her cupboards arranged alphabetically, or in groups of identical purpose, or according to height or width? And what about colors? All the red containers over here, all the blue containers over there? The ways I could help Rosalie out in this way are almost infinite, and that’s just the cupboards.
In a way, I’ve come to realize that it is very unselfish of Rosalie to steer me away from helping her as she works through her routine around the house, sparing me from the drudgery, and suggesting instead that I do something that will fill this “free” time, and even fulfill some responsibility that is mine. Like writing an article for the paper, for example.
Now, what should I write about?