Monday, November 17, 2008

Strange Days

Strange things are afoot around our house.

It’s Chris. I think there’s something wrong.

It started about two weeks ago. One restless post-Ironman recovering husband announced he would tackle “the list”. “The list” that I made about two weeks earlier knowing I had about a two week window of time where I could safely request the husband to do the laundry list of things needing fixing, cleaning or rebuilding around the house. Such as; clean light above toilet, clean out clothes in closet, paint stairwell, clean windows.

One day he woke up and said “where is that list?” I was ready. I think I pulled the list out from under my pillow like I a little kid waiting to tell Santa what she wanted this year. I’ve been working on this list Santa. For a long, long time. Chris asked me to talk him through the list and I carefully pointed out that the last few items (such as put in wood floors, clean windows) were really my pie in the sky household dreams. I didn’t expect them to get done but just thought I would throw them out there.

No sooner is Chris cleaning the windows. Which happened to be one of my housekeeping pie in the sky dreams. And what I had in mind was someone cleaning the windowsills and inside glass. What Chris had in mind involved ladders, removing all the windows and power washing.

I couldn’t believe it but I didn’t want to interrupt it. So I went out with my mom. I got into her car and explained that Chris was cleaning the windows. She looked at me like WTF? I said, I know that is why I am leaving because he’s got it in his head that he’s cleaning the windows. I waited three years for those windows to be cleaned and hell if I’m going to get in the way.

I’m not sure what happened last weekend because I wasn’t around. But this weekend, it recurred Saturday. Early. Chris was carrying the steam cleaner (BEST wedding present ever) from the spare bedroom to the basement. Funny story – it was upstairs because the other night Boss decided to bark at Chris in bed which Chris interpreted as Boss being a naughty dog but Boss really meant hey knucklehead I need to take a pee. Here. Now. 10 pm – steam cleaning of pee from carpet. There. Now.

The next thing I know he’s steam cleaning the basement carpet. This comes as a huge surprise because there was no precursor. In other words, no death by nagging wife. No – please do this but you don’t have a choice so do it now. Moved all the furniture, bikes and cleaned the carpet on his own.

As if that wasn’t strange enough, he then went upstairs on a cleaning binge. He cleaned out those boxes. You know the ones? The one that he keeps moving from house to house. The ones you are secretly begging him in your mind to clean out already. Those. He cleaned them out.

It got better. Next up, he is touching semifrozen meat. Concocting a secret recipe to make beef stew. From scratch. Actually cooked the beef then threw it into the...I can’t believe, no he didn’t just pull this out…the crock pot. There is a meal cooking in the crock pot.

So when I half joking/half not told him to bake rosemary bread from scratch (seriously at this point why not), he said “ok” and made two loaves. Why, how, really it was that easy? The next day in an effort to perfect the recipe, he made the bread again.

Something is clearly going on here. This is not normal behavior. I would blame a taper but he hasn’t been training. I would blame an Ironman but it was a month ago. I would say he’s nesting but men cannot have babies.

I would have to dig deeper for a diagnosis.

But just as I started…I noticed he was emptying the dishwasher. This comes after I found him in the kitchen this morning sharpening knives.

Sharpening the knives? Who does stuff like that?

I want to ask him what is going on but I also don’t want to interrupt his streak. I can’t get in the way. What if I act like this is totally abnormal (which it is) and he just abandons ship. Goes back to playing Nintendo for most of the day.

It didn’t happen if there aren’t pictures, right? Well here you go. I snapped this one and told him I needed proof of this domestic streak. As he stood there with whisk in hand he said “I just like to cook, ok?”

Can you see the speed with which he is whisking?

Yesterday morning I also found him washing dishes in the sink. He made pancakes. But his idea of cleaning the dishes was kind of a disturbing sight.

What are you doing? I asked

He called it cleaning. I called it caressing the glass bowl. Nobody cleans dishes like that. But Chris does. He used two separate scrubby sponges and then does something with his hands to get the bowl clean. It was too careful, too clean. Something's just not right here.

I’m going to Home Depot to get the part to fix the sink.

At this point I’m holding my mouth closed. I’ve seen a lot of strange things in my life but this takes the cake. And by the way do you think he would mind baking me a cake? Because I’ve got a sweet tooth (mouth full) that can’t wait until after Ironman. Someone tells me it’s overtraining. I tell him it can’t be overtraining because I haven’t been training. But then again maybe they're right. I am so over training. And ready to move on to cake. Every day.

Secretly in my head I am making a list. I have about 20 minutes before he returns from Home Depot to fire off another thing. Would you mind washing the floor? What do you think about giving the dog a bath? How about painting my toenails, I’ll even let you choose the color? And would you consider putting away the clothes?

Sure thing.

He didn’t say that because he went off to swim because it's all he can do right now. He calls it an injury, I call it recovery. Right now his leg “hurts”. I tell him you just did Ironman 4 weeks ago, give your leg permission to hurt. Along with your arms, your feet and your head. Everyone tries to rush recovery. I tell him the more hurt you go into the race the more you’ll hurt on the other side. His body was basically one big niggle going in and now on the other side the niggles are niggling their way out. Slowly.

I can tell he isn’t satisfied with recovery and that he right now is overflowing with oodles of energy. Swimming just isn’t cutting it. I can see this in his face.

So tomorrow I plan to make a suggestion: find yourself an apron boy and clean something. Burn off that excess energy on your hands and knees with a toothbrush. And then get to work on my nails.

Let's keep this domestic streak going as long as we can.


Alili said...

Please send Chris directly to my house. We have a place for him to sleep and we will feed him. You have my address.

The sick chick with the husband in law school :)

Anonymous said...

He is nesting. He cannot physically have babies, but he is experiencing transference. You better snap him out of it despite the side benefits or you may experience your own 9 month hell. :)

Andrea said...

Chris should consider teaching a class - and all our husbands should enroll.

While P does a good job of "fixing" things, he doesn't cook and I would LOVE it if he did!

Roo said...

That's it. I'm signing Jesse up for Ironman and having you coach him. I want these domestic tapering and post-im things to happen around here!

Brenda O said...

Bob does this too! It's great, it happens every 2 months, and its usually just as our house is at its messiest. I think clean the floors means vacuuming and mopping, and instead, he takes out the steam cleaner and hits very piece of carpet he can find. Love it. We have never washed windows though. It's not on our radar. We typically only live somewhere for a year or so before moving.... we are well past that now, and need to get to that!

Andra Sue said...

OMG!!! Liz--do not question this gift from the heavens. Do not squander such a rare opportunity! Seeing a man do such things is like seeing bigfoot. Make the most of it before it disappears into the ether.

And for the record, I SO wish this would happen to me. Maybe Chris wants to come hang out in Texas? :(

kerrie said...

send him my way....
somebody(who shall remain nameless) really should be catching up on all of the things he has missed doing yet instead he is working on upgrading the girls' playhouse. well now it is a small house in our backyard...and as of yesterday, it now has electricity. seriously. i don't think the girls ever play in it....

Cat. said...

please, i beg of you, send chris to l.a. to teach jeff to wash a dish!

there are many things that man can do ... but having a plate arrive in the drainboard without food still on it is NOT one of them.

Kellye Mills said...

Don't do anything to interupt this wonderful occurrence! :) Soak it all up while you can!

Beth said...

This is hilarious! Hopefully it continues for a longgggg time. But if not, I guess it was good while it lasted! How was that beef stew anyway? ;)

Bob Mitera said...

What do I do with a wife who refuses to clean things up as I am trying to cook and clean? As a Type AB triathlete...I struggle with this.

Drew said...

Geez...why does Chris want to make us slacker husbands look bad? Please don't let my wife read this.

Molly said...

While I was busy at work, I saved this post all day on my Google Reader like a little prize to be savored later and it was worth the wait :)

But seriously, all husbands aren't like this? Mine can't sit still most weekends, has to be doing "man stuff" to the house or yard. This month he decided the garage needed to be painted and have a new floor surface done...last year he built our garden storage shed from scratch, out of redwoods. I'm the disappointment who can't seem to bring herself to clean anything so maybe I do need an Ironman taper to become useful around here!

Jenny Garrison said...

All I can say is awesome. Really you are toooo lucky. I am not kidding b/c I have a list too. It sits on the fridge so Bill can cross things off!

BreeWee said...

ha ha ha ha ahhhhhh ha ha, that whisk is FLYING!

IronMatron said...

If you write another post like this I might die of envy.
That stated, this public forum is excellent positive reinforcement for him. Good thinking.

Jennifer Harrison said...

HA! This is SOO jerome too. Not yet...but after his IM he goes nuts, paints everything, re-does the house, takes care of huge projects, cleans the entire house (just this weekend when I was downtown he cleaned this entire house AND did all the laundry), he will cook more...I can not wait!
:) Chris needs to start to train. HA Jen H.

Kim said...

What, no hardwood floors? :)