September 1, 2010

I blame you, Montesquieu

I applaud the checks and balances of the United States' governing bodies. I do not, however, feel the same measures are necessary for my household chores. Apparently, others feel differently.

In order for me to do the laundry, I first have to do the dishes since the washer empties into the kitchen sink (there's no dish washer, so no need to wonder where it empties). In order for me to use the dryer, no other electricity can be used simultaneously save a few lights (so no vacuuming, no microwaving, no next load in the washer, no toasting, etc). In order for us to shower/bathe with hot water (it's winter here) we have to turn on the water heater (electricity) a couple hours ahead of time and it lasts about a shower and a half. I don't even try for hot water when washing dishes or clothes. So I guess there's no check on my doing the dishes ...aside from my visceral dislike for it.

So, most days this is how a bill becomes a law:

Half-O wakes me up and convinces me through compelling repetitive sound bites that we should leave the rooms with beds and go out into the kitchen and/or living room. On the way I flip the switch that turns on the water heater so either The Archaeologist or I can shower sometime in the morning/noon/nap time.

After breakfast and some computer time, Half-O plays while I do the dishes from the day before.

Per my constituent's request, I then participate in some game playing, puzzle making, book reading, coloring and/or dancing (these were campaign promises, after all).

Then I start a load of laundry. We head out for some fresh bread and diplomacy. I make us lunch. We eat. She naps (objection overruled).

Recess: There's no need for extra lights mid-day; we've eaten lunch, and dinner is hours away, so no need for the microwave or toaster or rice cooker. Water is hot, so the switch is flipped off. Laptops are charged, so switched to battery. And I can now load the wet clothes into the dryer.

By the time Half-O awakes and we reconvene, the laundry is done, and I can safely warm up the mandated post-nap milk in the microwave, and turn the water heater back on for her bath in the evening.

We're a sparkling clean republic.

The other day, however, we were a total Failed State.

I did the dishes in the morning, as is unfortunately my executive privilege. But by lunch time the schedule was askew. The missionaries were coming over for lunch so I decided to do more than melt cheese on bread and cut up a cucumber and an apple. Consequently, I didn't start a load of laundry.

The missionaries came late, so Half-O had already gone to sleep (her No-Nap Resolution vetoed), and she woke up not long after they left.

I needed to do a load of laundry that day and figured that since we also needed to go to the grocery store, I could quickly put the clothes in the washer, turn on the water heater while the clothes washed, and then turn it off (along with all other appliances), throw the clothes into the dryer and head off to the store while they dried in darkness.

Oh, the negligence; Oh, the natural law.

While Half-O and I played in the other room, I heard some extra loud water sloshing, and it dawned on me: "It's the dishes, stupid!"

I ran into the flooded kitchen and grabbed all the dirty special-missionary-lunch-dishes and dumped them in the dish rack (at least I had managed to put the clean ones away), and fished out the strainer and food pieces so the water would drain. My shirt was soaked, and my pants had begun the long process of sopping up the water on the floor.

I've been a registered democrat since the age of 18, but now I really felt like a jackass.

Though I am super grateful for the dryer since presently Lima is the land the sun plumb forgot - and, in that vein, I am grateful for the washer too - and to be clear, I'm grateful for the hot water heater so we don't have to use one of those contraptions that hooks onto the shower head and electrocutes you - but seriously, for someone who hates housework, is it a good strategy to put me in the house with all the amendments and addenda?

Blast that vast shoestring conspiracy!

Sorry - it's late, and apparently I can only recall political quotes from the 1990s.

Good night and good luck!


Lisa said...

That was awesome.

Anne said...

I am so with you, annie, on the massive snarled knot that is housework. Better not to ever start. I just love your clevahness.

Mariko said...

That is hilarious. I only do housework when I can do everything at once because I hate it so much that if it stretches out at all I start ignoring it. And I so do not do housework every day, like I should (we don't practice elections around here, although my daughter is trying to revolt).

Jeannie said...

Brilliant. And, sadly, housework isn't easier when all appliances can function at the same time. But I really should quit my whining after reading your description.

Jeff F said...

I have been blog stalking you for awhile now. But this one deserves a comment. Well done! You are an incredible writer, you must not get that from your dad...kidding...

Lara said...

Oh, I feel for you! My house is old and I have to do some things in an organized manner if I want hot water (or water at all), but you take the cake! I will never complain again.

(visiting from MMB)

Jesse said...

Classic. I just went back and read the last several months of posts and they were all awesome. We should skype sometime, I want to hear what you guys are up to. We are in Crawfordsville, Indiana this year, so we are eagerly awaiting your return to Chicago.

DeNae said...

Wow, hats off for living in Lima. I've only been there once, but aside from the temple I didn't see much to distinguish it from any other ginormous South American city. And you're right; that marine "ain't no sunshine" climate can get to you if you aren't careful.

We spent quite a bit of time in Cuzco, however, and I'm pretty sure I could live there. Loved it. We were in a village called Salkantay; visited Oyantetambo, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu (of course) and just fell in love with that part of Peru. Of course, I had an oxygen mask strapped to my face every night!

This post is great, BTW. You're very clever! I'm signing on to hear more about your adventures.

Beau said...

it sounds like something i should have gone through on my mission, but didn't, instead the worst thing i've had to do is go to a laundromat.
ps i love jeff's comment, funny stuff