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Nursing and homework can kill you PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bob Russell   
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 17:09

Editor’s Note: Due to the length of this story, the second half will be printed in next week’s issue of the Holyoke Enterprise.


Recently, my wife underwent knee-replacement surgery. She was fed up with two things—the pain from an old arthritic knee and the fact that she was only beating me an average of 3-5 strokes in golf—both had to be fixed in her mind: fix the pain and beat Bob badly.

Judy’s surgery went smoothly, performed by a well-respected orthopedic surgeon. We both felt she was in “good hands” (pardon the pun), as the doctor actually bowed with us prior to the surgery and offered a lengthy prayer to God. (In hindsight, I now wonder if he was just hoping he knew enough to complete the surgery and needed God’s help, but I was really impressed by his faith at the time.)

Surgery done, I assumed the role of nurse practitioner for my wife while she recovered. I was willing to do so, as she took wonderful care of me about 10 years ago when I had prostate surgery for cancer—I figured it was only “fair” that I nursed her back to health (even though I realized she would eventually begin to beat me by 10 strokes on the golf links). However, I didn’t fully appreciate the challenges of running a household in addition to my “normal duties.” I now have a new found respect for those women who are “chief executive officers” (CEOs) of households.

What was different with me taking care of her, vice her taking care of me, was that my wife was physically unable to do those things she is exceptional at: cooking, dusting, vacuuming, laundry and shopping for food. I was not only a nurse, I was now a cook, a duster, a vacuum boy, a laundry worker and food procurer.

Guys, you have NO idea what that portends, unless you have walked “a house in my shoes.”

Kitchens are dangerous places. There are complicated devices that can cook or burn food (or you). There are compartments in the refrigerators that are to hold meat and others to hold veggies and “never the twain shall meet”—or angry comments by the little lady will ensue.

Baking is not broiling is not grilling is not roasting—and none of those are to be used in lieu of microwaving, my specialty. Blending food, in order to make it palatable, has to be done proportionately, with things like measuring cups and complicated recipes.

I got so tired of chopping lettuce, celery, carrots, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers for salads—something my wife demanded every lunch and dinner—I decided to use the blender for these veggies. Why not? We force all these together in our guts with acid to dissolve them, so why not just blend them and drink our salad? (My experiment did not go over well with my wife.)

OK, my kitchen prowess was marginal at best, excepting doing the dishes, which I have been incredibly adept at for 40 years of our marriage, by the way. Next, I was introduced to the laundry area of the house (funny, it is on the way from our kitchen to the garage, but I had hardly noticed it until this knee surgery incident).

Years ago, when washing clothes, there used to be a big bucket and a wringer involved—I know, for I have seen them at Cracker Barrel. Into the bucket you pour some water, you then dump in your underwear, add soap and slosh it all around for a little while.

You add more water to rinse, then run the bras and boxers through the wringer “thingie,” and you are done! Of course, we are in the 21st century now: my wife’s horribly expensive washer and dryer (purchased at our last home against my will, by the way) has a plethora of dials, knobs, lights, buzzers and whistles—I think it is more complicated than some jet aircraft I have flown.

And its computer brain likes to “talk” (scold?) you when you haven’t done something it likes. I had to dash frequently from my study to the laundry room to find out what the incessant noise was all about, a most disturbing disruption to me working on my computer.

And, it goes without saying, men must learn that there are “rules” about “mixing colors and whites” in the wash, about adding just the right amount of soap, about how to use the non-cling cloth and ... well, it’s very complicated, men, so I will let your wife explain it to you.

Naturally, screaming from the bedroom (both from the knee surgery pain and the fact that I kept asking silly questions about household chores), my spouse gave me constant guidance while I was on laundry duty—very similar to the “constructive criticism” I received while trying to prepare a sumptuous two-course meal (beer and potato chips) one night while on kitchen duty.

I was starting to feel confident about my cooking and laundry expertise (not really, but I was learning a lot, I must admit) when (suddenly) my wife declared, “The house is dirty. We must clean it.”

Now, the “we” in that declaration was similar to the way my dad, Kayle, used “we,” as in “we” need to mow the yard, or “we” need to empty the trash.

Suddenly, I was about to be trained (read: receive stern guidance) in the art of cleaning. Not that I don’t clean—the garage, the yard, my truck, my teeth, other body parts—but the house? Dust? Vacuum? Change the beds? Huh? I don’t remember that at all in my wedding vows—but I was in a stupor that day.

My wife has a vacuum that I will put up against earth movers, tanks and wrecking balls. It is heavy, it is complicated, it has many parts that are supposedly designed to do “different things” (would you believe, guys, that carpet must be vacuumed differently than wood floors?), and it has a mind of its own.

To be continued . . .

 

Bob Russell graduated from HHS in 1964 and resides with his wife, Judy, in Hot Springs Village, Ark. As has been reported earlier, Bob likes to write “tongue-in-cheek” articles and deeply appreciates the willingness of the Enterprise staff to publish his nonsensical rantings.