Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Division of Labor II: Soakers vs. Non

If you recall, I recently published a very controversial post* regarding the way Sven and I divide the labor in our household.

The morning the post was published, I again attacked a sinkful of dishes after emptying a load from the dishwasher that had been placed there by Sven. It was in the sink that I encountered one of the most potentially divisive, explosive issues in a marriage:

Leaving a dirty pan or dish in the sink "to soak."

I admit, I soak. This may shock my mother and sister, but in my youth I was a frivolous soaker, choosing to leave something "to soak" just because I didn't feel like washing it. I learned my lesson. I no longer commit this heinous act.

When Sven and I went back to school, we lived in a small house we purchased with the last of our savings. We had very little. The house had no central air (in Beaumont, TX), we had no furniture, no stove, and no dishwasher. Washing dishes in that house was a matter of survival; in the spring, summer, fall, and early winter, the heat and humidity in the kitchen made soaking something simply impossible. I would get those dishes washed as quickly as possible, as would Sven.

After we had lived in the house about a year, we bought a small dishwasher and remodeled the kitchen. We did this on our own, buying the cheapest materials, but we bought the dishwasher knowing it was not strictly "necessary," but wanting our lives to be just a little easier.

It was WONDERFUL. To just take a dirty dish and put it in the was amazing. I felt like the Queen. Or Oprah.

With a dishwasher, though, came the need to soak again. And here was where another startling rift was revealed between Sven and myself: Sven does not know how, or when, to soak a dish. So for him, and the betterment of all mankind, I post these

  1. If you are soaking many small things, fill a sink with a few inches of hot, soapy water, then let them soak until the water cools.
  2. If you are soaking big things, fill the big thing with hot, soapy water.
  3. If the big thing doesn't fit inside the sink, put it to the side. Do not, to take a random example, fill a giant glass baking dish with water, then balance it precariously over the sink, so that there is no way to use the sink.
If it has sticky food on it, and you can't wash it right away, soak it. Or rinse it. Or something.

Several times a year, Sven makes his famous potato salad. This potato salad is only made in giant vats; Sven claims he cannot get it right with less than 5 pounds of potatoes. When he makes this potato salad, family members suddenly discover quart-sized Tupperware in their purses, so they can "help clear out some of these leftovers!" It's a good thing, too, because we never finish it, even with the Oliver Twist-like antics of my nearest and dearest.

Sven made some potato salad on the 4th of July. The sad, lonely remainder had sat in the fridge, ready to be cleared. So Sven took care of it by moving the covered bowl from the fridge to the counter by the sink. Where I found it, sad lonely remainder and all.

In this instance, soaking would have been acceptable. It would have been desirable. Anything, I beg you.

Sometimes, a little soaking is okay.

*(It was only controversial in my house, after Sven read it and declared that I know nothing about the correct way to load dishes, and my feet stink. Ever sensitive to the way your better class of people {i.e. "celebrities"} handle personal insults, I got a Cheeto-dust spray-tan and began being seen about town with a female DJ of dubious background. The controversy has since subsided, but I owe an apology to my neighbors for the horde of paparazzi and inexplicable techno beat that has surrounded my house for the past week.)

And a big, extra special thank you to Jill at Sneaky Momma Blog Design for my awesome blog makeover!


Kristina P. said...

First, love the new digs! It's like you're a real blogger now!

And second, I am a soaker. But so is my husband. It's mostly because I'm lazy.

Joanna said...

First of all, the container in my purse was not quart sized. Pint sized (at most!). Second it was not tupperware. Thirdly, soaking is perfectly respectable because (wait for it!) it's good for the environment! It means you don't have to us something like SOS that contributes to that notorious steel wool build up that everyone is so worked up about. So there!

Mr. and Mrs. Nurse Boy said...

Lovely makeover! Your post has me thinking
1. Why doesn't Nurse Boy cook? Even if it is large vats of potatoe salad? Why?

2. I will now always wonder if that "soaking pan" was an attempt to get out of the kitchen... quickly.

Mrs. Nurse Boy

Sneaky Momma said...

I'd love to try some of Sven's potato salad. Sounds yummy!

I'm definitely a soaker. My reasons? Procrastination and pure laziness (so I don't have to scrub as hard!). It irritates me to high heaven when my dear husband makes scrambled eggs without soaking the pan afterwards.

I'm so glad you love your look! I had so much fun working with you on your blog. If I can do anything else for you, just let me know. :)

Mummy McTavish said...

I soak scrambled egg pans and porridge pans... mostly because I always let those things stick. Then I forget they are soaking and they get manky and gross.

We purchased a dishwasher to stop the arguements we were having over the doing the dishes. Now the job that we previously shared and bonded over nightly discussing our day is mine and mine alone... hang on a minute... that can't be right!

He does unload after some nagging while I'm pregnant because I just find that difficult but usually it's easier for me to just do it myself and feel sick and uncomfortable and then go to bed. Oh, did you have to bring up the dishes again???

love the new look

CMspence said...

All I can say is that any future batches of potato salad with leftovers can find their way to my house, and they won't make any kind of meaningless end!!! The stuff reminds me that there is actual meaning to life!