May 4, 2008

There is no Or…

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:34 pm by Erin

The other day, I told J that when the summer is over, we are hiring a cleaning service.  I told him that I don’t care if he has to sell his damned car, we’re doing it or…  Then I stopped and said "There is no ‘or’.  We’re hiring a cleaning service."

I wish I could justify the expense now, but I really can’t.  I don’t work over the summer, so we’re down to a much smaller income.  My Bradley class that’s starting soon is only half full, and we were kind of counting on that to help pay for the expenses related to my sister’s wedding this summer (two flights to NY, one for me and the boys for her shower, the other for all 4 of us; the car rentals; the kennel for the dogs; the clothes; the bridal shower, since I’m matron of honor; and the gifts).  I don’t have a job guaranteed for the fall and, while I’m fairly confident that I have one, there isn’t even a verbal committment right now.

As an aside, my interview went as well as it could have and the committees’ hiring decisions are on the vice-president’s desk right now.  We’re expected to hear sometime by the end of the month.  Even if I don’t get a tenure-track position, though, both my department chair and assistant department chair have said all they can to assure me that I will have at least a term-to-term position (which is what I currently have) next year without actually saying it outright.

Anyway, when our future income is so uncertain, I really can’t justify the expense of hiring a cleaning service.  What I’m going to do this summer is what I did a year or so ago–every day, I’m going to try to do two things.  Just two things.  One day might be cleaning toilets and grocery shopping.  Another might be laundry and vacuuming downstairs.  And I’m going to ask J to do one thing each day.  Last time we did that, it kept the house reasonably clean so that it never seemed overwhelmingly disgusting…and I can live with that.

J was quite insulted that I complained about him to the internet, but couldn’t deny it.  And when I told him that having written it all down helped me to discuss it without getting furious and upset, he didn’t mind much anymore.  As it turns out, we’ve been having a good time since then, even though the house isn’t much cleaner.  The next night, he picked up dinner and we went and had a picnic at the park.  It was lovely–it was really relaxing, I didn’t have to cook, the kids had a great time.  He did quite a lot outside this weekend without any begging or nagging, which was great.  The lawn is mowed, the bushes are trimmed, and the trash has been taken out of the house.  He stayed home with the kids the whole afternoon today while I went to Starb*cks to write a final exam and even managed to get the dishwasher unloaded, reloaded, and run again.

Under normal circumstances, I don’t keep score.  In fact, I deliberately try not to–because we have actually seen a counselor in the past for issues mostly stemming from me feeling overburdened and J not sharing the load, and that was one of the things that the counselor said I need to stop doing for my own health and sanity.  But the other day, when I was putting the kids to bed by myself again and then going downstairs to clean up the kitchen before I could even start on my own work, I felt so angry and resentful that I couldn’t help but think about why it was that I felt so angry and resentful about it.  Why was it that something I normally really enjoy doing (putting the kids to bed–it’s one of my favorite times of the day) was making me upset?  I’ve come to the realization that it certainly wasn’t that that was upsetting me.  It was the whole situation.

We’ve talked.  We had a lunch date on Friday and talked for a long time.  We’ll see if it helps.



  1. Irish Girl said,

    Hiring a cleaning service was the best thing I’ve ever done for my marriage. We bicker much (much!!) less, the house is cleaner, and I don’t have to do it all! Of course, the flip side is that we have less money for fun dinners out or whatever. I don’t even miss it though.
    It sounds like he really made an effort this weekend. Hope things continue to go well. And in regards to venting on the internet … honestly, we all have something to vent about 🙂 That’s marriage! It is wonderful and can also be a lot of work!

  2. Samantha said,

    Good luck with your job. I’m sure that’s just an added stress to deal with the term to term uncertainty. Even if you feel fairly confident something will be there, it’s not quite the same as having a multi-year contract.
    I’m glad that you and J are talking and thinking about your options. If you feel less harried and overwhelmed, you’ll probably also be less tempted to keep score.

  3. Eva said,

    I’m in the job-uncertainty boat and it, well, it’s not my preference. I’m glad you are going for the cleaning service and I hope it helps you guys out!

  4. Jenn said,

    yeah for the lunch date! 🙂 I’m glad things are working out better for you two… It makes me smile.

  5. Dr. Grumbles said,

    Argh… the academic job game is such a drag! I hope that goes well!
    I hope the talk helps to get J more involved, too.

  6. Karen said,

    I’m glad you talked, and I’m glad you’re feeling better, and I’m glad that in the fall you’ll be hiring a cleaning service, with no OR.

  7. artsweet said,

    I think that this kind of thing never fully goes away. You talk about it, things get better, stress piles up, things get worse – you can only improve in small increments and keep working at the same things.
    But that’s what it means to be with someone else – that you like other aspects of them enough to keep dealing with them and their flaws.

  8. lucky2 said,

    So glad that blogging helped you to talk about this calmly with him. Glad things sound a bit better for the time being!

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