I haven’t been well for the last couple of days, and have spent most of my time under a blanket on the sofa or in bed. Have now got antibiotics and am on the mend, and woke up this morning feeling better than I have for days. I went downstairs to make a cup of tea, whereupon I realized that sometime over the past 48 hours, either we’d been burgled, or I’d moved to downtown Beirut.
On further inspection, however, it became clear that neither of these things had happened, and it was simply two days’ worth of Ashley and William’s normal living behaviour – never putting anything away and leaving a trail of devastation behind them wherever they go. Obviously, because I’d been ill, I hadn’t been doing all my usual picking up after them and tidying things away.
And it brought home to me just how much picking up after other people I do, on a regular basis, without even thinking about it.
When I first moved in with Ashley, about 18 years ago now, I realized very quickly that he was one of the most untidy people I’d ever come across. Not only would he never put anything away EVER, he would leave dirty laundry all over the bedroom and bathroom floor, he’d dump wet towels on the bed/floor, leave dirty glasses and crockery where he’d used them etc etc. Add to this that he was a big hoarder, and you can imagine the state of his house when I moved in. Not good.
Frankly, I blame his mother, as it appears he was never taught to (or expected to) tidy up after himself as a child, but that’s another story.
For a couple of years after I moved in, the whole untidiness thing caused some EPIC rows between us. I would get furious that he wouldn’t put his dirty laundry in the basket, or take his chocolate wrappers and dirty wine glass out of the lounge before he went to bed; he’d accuse me of nagging; we’d then have a big fight. At one point, I completely refused to do any more laundry unless he put it in the basket, which had the net result of making me even more stressed about the amount of dirty clothing on the floor, and eventually, he took all his laundry round to his mother’s and she did it for him, the cow.
Fast forward 18 years, and I will admit that he has improved. Very slightly. I still regularly find dirty socks under the sofa, and used mugs and glasses everywhere. Only this week I’ve had to move wet towels from the bed and the floor.
But arguments on this subject are few and far between these days –I guess I have resigned myself to having to spend the rest of my life picking up after Ashley (and William – though he’s already far tidier than his father!). Nothing I have ever said on the subject has a made a blind bit of difference for any length of time, so I have chosen to put up with it. It’s mildly irritating these days, rather than a huge source of conflict, and the majority of the time I swallow my irritation, and deal with the wet towel/dirty glass/manky socks myself.
The other difference is that when we first lived together, we were both working full-time, and nowadays I’m mostly at home while Ashley goes out to work, so naturally I do the majority of the housework. However, I’m toying with the idea of going back to work at the moment, and if that happens, I wonder whether the whole issue will rear its ugly head once again.
Watch this space.