Friday, March 4, 2011

Avoiding Housework Through Trickery and Deception

Successfully avoiding housework is both an art and a science.

I am not bashful to say that I have become an authority in this area, having become adept at different methods from the ambitious "playing dead" (I can slow my breathing and heartbeat down to virtually imperceptible levels using techniques learned from masters who came before me) as well as the less skilled but extremely effective "point and run technique" ("Oh, my God! Is that Lionel Ritchie in the backyard?" When your victim goes to look for his autograph book, you flee). 

I would be happy to offer pointers to those interested in learning. Today, I offer you the first two of my series of tips.

The first is very simple: Get sick.

Pretending won't do. What may have fooled your mom when you were in the third grade will not cut it today. Husbands can be very sensitive about doing housework and, therefore, are extremely suspicious.

If your acting skills are exemplary and you wish to try your luck, by all means--go for it. The risk, however is that if your ruse is discovered, you will have lost credibility and will have to perform when legitimately ill.

Husbands lacking creativity refer to this to other husbands as" having a crying wolf  in the house". They will then create a phone chain upon discovering a crying wolf in their midst because often it will become epidemic amongst groups of acquainted women.

So, it's best if you're nose is running, your skin is clammy and audible wheezing is present. Coughing into a tissue and falling back onto the pillow is a nice touch and a fever, even low-grade, is your ace in the hole.

Most husbands cannot resist this.

They will genuinely feel sorry for you and, therefore, willingly take it upon themselves to perform low-level maintenance like unloading dishwashers, throwing in a laundry and, especially if wheezing is present, change litter boxes....plastic liners, not just shoveling, included.

The second effective method of avoiding household chores is also surprisingly simple. I have dubbed it the "Hypno-Shirk."

Casually walk about the house repeatedly announcing "Wow, I really have to run the vacuum in here!" Or "...clean up this kitchen." Or "...wipe down this bathroom." The need for conviction in your tone is imperative. I cannot stress this enough.

Your repeated acknowledgement that these tasks need to be done seems to create some sort of distraction--a smokescreen, if you will--establishing the illusion that you are on top of things. This may seem like a long shot but take it from me, it works.

Eventually things do actually have to get done but while the smokescreen is in effect, you can get in several games of Scrabble on the computer, that episode of "The Office" you DVRed last night and a full treatment of your heels and elbows. It's never too early to start preparing for sandal season and short-sleeve season. 

Those around you, depending on levels of stupidity gullibility low-blood sugar often become befuddled by the repeated declarations of intent followed immediately by periods of obvious leisure and, becoming confused, will perform some of your duties themselves--often without even realizing that they, not you, are doing it.

If they don't (rare), you're in a better mood anyway and voluntarily tend to your chores quickly and efficiently since you are refreshed and your feet are looking better already.

Having employed Tip #1 for the majority of the week, I am about to go put Tip # 2, into effect. I have a "Grey's Anatomy" that needs watching.... 

Happy Friday, everyone. Thanks to my wonderful readers and joiners (to the right of the page, so easy). Have a great weekend...see you all next week.


  1. Hmm. Must try those. I once left a clean pile of laundry in the middle of the living room floor to see how long it would take Joe to hang/fold it. It was an entire WEEK before I finally gave up and did it myself. Our apartment is not that big...he had to look at it, literally, the entire time we were at home!! Test #273: FAIL!!!

  2. Hi Mrs. Szold!

    This is Steff "Daz" Dazio, Charlie's Managing Editor for News at The Eagle. Helpful hint – I know for a fact your son can clean very well. He did a great job on the office before winter break. Something to consider ...

  3. Once my husband commented that he didn't know what I did all day.... it took just four days of my doing absolutely NOTHING for him to realise... and he has never said that again :-) Also, your boys helped make the mess - so they can help clean it up. Your job is to get better and soothe Buzzy

  4. Katie---when Charlie is home, I peel grapes for him and fan him with fern fronds. No work for the Prince.

  5. Hey, Steff---read the above response to Katie, although now that you tell me about his "skills," I may have to rethink the situation.

    P.S. Loved your piece about that young Westboro member!!

  6. Janet and Cat--I am familiar with both your scenarios. It's an unfortunate thing, isn't it?

    And, Janet, I do my best to soothe poor Buzzles. He's taken a lot in the past few days.

  7. Thanks so much, Mrs. Szold, I'm glad you liked my post!

    You should also ask Charlie about his pasta sauce with chicken and carrots, it's really good (p.s. tell him he should cook for The Eagle, too)!

  8. He will be cooking that for us next week, Steff! Can't wait....

  9. you are my new hero ;)

  10. Thanks, Miss Bee! I can teach you a world of nefarious behavior....