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Defying My Domestic Demons

February 1, 2013

I don’t miss my ex-boyfriend. Not in a defiant, “Look how much better I’m doing without you, fuck you very much; now let me bawl into my coffee in peace” way, but in a genuine lack of regrets way. Sure, I’ll occasionally see something around the house that reminds of a fun time we had together, or I’ll get a brief pang of loneliness when I realize that he was the only one in my circle who could appreciate the Star Trek: Next Gen-onward references when I excitedly mention that all Beaver Creek supervisors wear red, while we instructors and Mountain Safety wear blue and yellow, respectively.

But I do not miss being in a relationship, least of all with him. I’ve discovered that while I might get a few weird looks when I eat lunch or dinner in a restaurant by myself, there’s never any overt hostility. Hell, many of the establishments in the downtown area have counters specifically for lone office workers looking for a quick but filling meal.

The one aspect of solo living that continues to feel like my ex is flipping me the bird from his new home 450 miles away is the aspect traditionally considered “women’s work.” Dishes pile up to soak indefinitely in my sink, only to be thoroughly rinsed when I run out of glasses. Even then, they’re never put away–I simply recycle whatever’s drying on the dish towel.

Same goes with laundry. I’d sooner flip the underwear inside out, then wear it right-side-out and backwards, then inside-out and backwards than do laundry. Why I should have this opposition, I don’t know. Unlike most other buildings I’ve lived in, laundry facilities in mine are onsite and free.

And let’s not even talk about the cat box. Oh, it gets done when the cat makes his displeasure known by thinking outside the box, but I’m still waiting for Pewter to wake up one morning with the opposable thumbs necessary to operate a poop-scooper so he can do his own damn cleanup.

I can only figure that part of the problem is that, in spite of a month and a half of experiential evidence to the contrary, I still believe in the Magic Hamper and the Magic Sink. Both of these concepts originated with my ex’s biological father, who was willfully incompetent in the kitchen and laundry room. And with a wife who willingly fed into his incompetence by dismissing him as a domestic dumbass, it was a wonderfully codependent partnership.

Like stepmother, like stepson. I never did laundry because I “didn’t do it right.” Same with the dishes; I apparently left “crusty bits.” I hated doing laundry and dishes anyway, so I’d simply stick to my assigned tasks–putting clothes in, or at least in the vicinity of, the laundry basket, and putting dishes in the sink–and poof! When either got to capacity, the Magical Hamper Fairy and the Magical Sink Fairy would take the dirty items away and replace them with fresh, clean, usable ones!

It’s been a crushing disappointment to realize that there is no Magic Hamper or Magic Sink with their accompanying Magical Fairies. As to the cat box, well…

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There isn’t one for cats, either. Thanks for ruining my (second) childhood, Jefferson County.

 I know dealing with all this literal and figurative shit is part of adulthood, especially single adulthood. And since day-to-day home maintenance takes about fifteen minutes, tops, it’s a small price to pay for guilt-free visits with friends, reading a book instead of idly conversing, or sleeping better for not having to share the bed with a cover-hog who has a strange sleep cycle.

But considering how many times I was told that the best way I could contribute to cleaning efforts was to make myself scarce, it’s pretty hard to overcome the overwhelming sense of, “Why bother?” when I see an area that would make Martha Stewart’s head explode like a rotten tomato (which reminds me, I need to clean the fridge). I just have to keep reminding myself that there are some areas in which “good enough” is good enough, and as long as I’m not living in Howard Hughes-ian levels of filth or scaring people on the bus away with my greasy hair, clothes, and skin, I’m probably perfectly capable of a certain level of domesticity. I can save the perfectionism for my writing and skiing, which should bring in enough for me to hire someone to clean the bathroom once a month or so.

This’ll allow me extra time to flip my ex off from 450 miles away. After all, the cat totally appreciates my Star Trek jokes, fuck you very much.


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  1. I always forget about the cat litter…then I remember and begin to feel bad for the cat. (I love my cat more than some humans I know….)

    • My kitty is a big priority in my life, too! But I know if he wants me to clean his box more frequently, he’ll helpfully remind me by crapping near my desk. X(

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