The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Housewife

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housewife

Life was easier with only 700 square feet. The tiny apartment my new husband and I occupied for our first two years hugged us close with cozy spaces and colorful walls. Hospitality was a pain, but we didn’t care. Because we never had to mow the lawn.

Sure, the neighbor across the hall died, and no one knew about it for four days. And sure, our upstairs neighbor’s pet ferret found his way into Josh’s shoes one morning. And sure, the catty-corner apartment hosted drug dealers and bad parents.

But I miss those days for one big reason: the housework was minimal and clearly defined. Those were the days.

In premarital counseling, we divided the chores to avoid the conflict later. Josh took laundry because the washer and dryer lurked in the dark, cement basement below us. And I was going to wear dirty clothes before I hauled a hamper down those steps. It worked out perfectly though because he hated cleaning the bathroom. And while I could think of a hundred things I liked more, it sure trumped reliving a horror movie every time I ran out of underwear.

And so it was, two simple people, Josh with too many books and me with too many scarves, and only three pieces of furniture, one a freebie that smelled of cigarettes.

When we moved into our first real home three years ago, we sat down in the empty living room and laughed giddy little laughs. With the money we earned from the government home-buyer stimulus, we purchased new furniture and paid off debt. Suddenly we were adults, with squishy leather couches and a baby on the way.

We were big-hearted and a little crazy back then, and we wanted roommates. We figured five bedrooms were too much for the two-plus of us. When John arrived in November that year, two twenty-something boys occupied the basement. They came upstairs for food and conversation, and sometimes the kitchen was messier when they left.

For two and a half years, roommates shared our home. They perfected our hospitality and opened our lives wide. But the season ended in October last year, and we settled into a new routine with just three of us. We never had that before.

Suddenly, the messes we noticed around the home were just ours, but mainly mine. Laundry left unfolded. Unswept floors. A fridge that only got one deep clean in its lifetime.

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