“I can’t take it anymore! Out of my kitchen. RIGHT. NOW!!!” Paula screamed as she shoved her husband out of her once-sparkling kitchen.
Carl tried to hide his I-told-you-so grin and sauntered out of the kitchen. The weekend had started out like every other weekend before it but over coffee, Carl and his lovely wife began conversing about the gender roles of the 21st century. The conversation had soon turned into a debate and finally a challenge, Paula irately charging her husband that for the day they would ‘switch’ roles. Always up for a challenge, Carl agreed and asked his wife to outline the rules…”just as soon as you stop breathing like a water buffalo, dear” he added just for a bit of fun.
Scowling at him, Paula folded her hands calmly in front of her and sat quietly for a second. Then, reaching out for a pen and the morning paper her husband had finished reading, she started scribbling. “Ok, smart guy. We’ll set up just a few ground rules and by the end of the day, we’ll just see who’s breathing like a water buffalo then!” Paula said in her iciest tone. After a few minutes of discussion, the couple came up with a few basic rules for their day.
The rules included one basic grooming habit, one general area they had to stay out of for the day, the switching of each other’s weekend chores and one main task that the other partner was hoping to complete that day. Satisfied they each set to getting started, both confident that they would have the last laugh at the end of the day.
Paula started out fine, she was actually relieved that she wouldn’t need to worry about doing her makeup for once. Washing her face and patting it dry, she looked at her reflection and tried not to shudder. “Well, one down… that wasn’t so tough,” She thought to herself. “I wonder if it counts if I just put a bit of concealer around my crow’s feet,” she wondered out loud as every blemish seems to magnify magically in front of her. “It counts!” Carl yelled from the hallway. Paula tsked and quickly shut the bathroom light off.
Looking at her list she thought she would tackle one of Carl’s chores first, yard work. Over two hours later, Paula hobbled inside and collapsed on the couch. Sweaty, scratched up and sporting a few welts from a hornet’s nest she had discovered in one of their azaleas, Paula was ready to throw in the towel on the whole day. After a few panting minutes, Pala opened one eye to scan for where her husband might be, the house was too quiet. “Carl? Where are you?” She called.
“Back here!” she heard a muffled voice call from the guest bathroom. A minute later, Carl appeared from the hallway with a big grin on his face. Or what Paula thought was a big grin. It was hard to tell behind the camouflage makeup Carl had covered his face and neck with. “What in holey cheese have you done?” Paula screeched in alarm.
Through his goofy grin Carl said, “What? Don’t you like it? The rules said I had to wear makeup but they didn’t say how. I think it really brings out my eyes, what do you think?”
Paula huffed out of the room in outrage. “Ah come on, sweet cheeks! You’re takin this way too seriously!” Carl called after her still smirking.
Spending the remainder of the day completing Carl’s other chores, Paula was on the brink of complete exhaustion as she stood and stared at the fence that was in desperate need of repair. “How the heck am I supposed to fix this?” she moaned a little pathetically. Still, she refused to let Carl win and began to hammer a few nails in a sagging post.
As the sun was setting, Paula entered her home completely worn out for the second time that day. Walking straight to her bathroom and into the shower, Paula only noticed the faint burning smell once she had toweled off and was putting on her sweats. Chuckling to herself she thought, “Guess Carl is having as hard of a time in my world as I’ve had in his.” Walking into the living room, Paula plopped down on the couch for a quick nap and yelled to Carl in her most sugary-sweet voice, “When’s dinner, honey?”
“Um… looks like it’s gonna be a little while. Why don’t you take a little nap and I’ll let you know when it’s time to eat?” came Carl’s somewhat shaky reply.
Paula closed her eyes and smiled to herself. She might just win this thing.
Not ten minutes later, Paula felt someone nudging her shoulder. Peeking through sleep-blurred eyes, she saw Carl bending over her with something in his hand. “Dinner, my lady,” he said as he offered her a bowl. Sitting up a bit as she took the food, Paula took a curious look at what Carl had thrown together for their meal. “Cereal? Seriously, Carl? Now that’s just a plain cop out. The rules plainly said to cook dinner, this doesn’t count!” she said insistently. “If you didn’t cook anything? Then what was that burning smell earlier?” Paula said with a bit of concern in her voice.
“Oh that. I turned the grill on to burn some of the drippings off of it from the last cookout. And as far as cooking dinner. I did. It’s just not edible. So, tonight, we eat cereal!” he declared like a lord addressing his hall of raucous men.
The two dug into their bowls of LIFE cereal and between milky mouthfuls (actually during them) Carl asked Paula, “so how’d the fence turn out?”
Paula looked away guiltily. “Uh, fine. The fence is fine.” Seeing that flimsy answer wasn’t gonna fly she continued, “Ok fine. I had one of the neighbor boys come over and fix it. Oh, and you owe him $20.”
Carl laughed and started walking back into the kitchen for a second bowl. Getting up to put her bowl in the sink, Paula was about to declare defeat and crawl into bed when she stopped short. “What… what have you done in here?!?!” she looked wide-eyed around her beautiful kitchen that was now almost unrecognizable.
“Oh, I thought I’d do a little cleaning, but I couldn’t find the cleaning spray. Then I thought that the drawers might need to be better organized so I emptied everything onto the counters. I was about to put everything back when I realized it was time to start making dinner. Don’t worry I’ll clean it up, plus you’re not allowed in here until the bet is over, remember?”
Paula’s face was crimson going on magenta as she assessed the damage to her precious kitchen.
“I can’t take it anymore! Out of my kitchen. RIGHT. NOW!!!”
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: While Andy and I didn’t exactly do a role-reversal today, there were some comical variations to our usual routine that could be considered a bit ‘outside the box’. It being the weekend and I had nowhere of import to be, I went au natural with the makeup today. Can I just say how nice it is to rub my eye and not worry about smudging mascara all over my face to the point of looking like a 1930s bank robber or a raccoon? Ahhh…. So nice. Andy on the other hand, spent about 3 hours doing his makeup today. Ok, yes it was for a film, and yes it was camouflage / burn victim makeup but I have to bust his chops a little bit at the prima donna attitude that seemed to grow more intense with each layer of foundation.
A few other switches to mention, I spent the majority of the day working in the yard while my lovely boyfriend spent his day in the kitchen… cooking up a batch of monster-movie makeup with gelatin and glycerin. He did bust out his culinary talents and whipped us up some delish hot wings for din din, though. Yummo.
Love & Squirrels.