Mutual Appreciation Society

It has now been five weeks since my hip replacement surgery, and I must say, Dad has been a real trooper in taking care of me and the house without complaining. He has been preparing all my meals until I could handle breakfast and lunch on my own, and he has continued cooking his delicious gourmet dinner meals (with an occasional Healthy Choice frozen dinner or pizza thrown in).

Cleaning the entire house has been unchartered territory for him, with the exception of the dishwasher, which nobody can do as well as him. Anyone who has attended his dishwasher-loading seminar can attest to this.

Now he has suddenly been thrust into total housekeeping—changing the sheets, vacuuming, dusting, swiffering (dry, but he hasn’t jumped into the task of cleaning with any kind of liquid cleaner), laundry, and my favorite, which is cleaning the toilets.

It has been a learning experience for me as well, because I have had to learn to lower my standards as Dad does his best to take on all these new tasks. (I know that he will read this and say, “What do you mean you have to lower your standards?”) But I know we have different definitions of how much and how often to clean, but he has done a very good job with doing the laundry and changing the sheets without being nagged. There are certain chores that I have not even mentioned for fear that his head would explode.

For example, I am positive that when he cleans the bathrooms, he does not clean the entire toilet and sink with disinfecting wipes. I am positive he will be surprised to know that every few weeks, I Mr. Eraser the walls near the sink to remove the water stains. This too I have kept to myself.

One day, he surprised me by dusting the six-inch-wide white floor molding, pointing out how dirty it had been. Score one for Dad!

The fun part was trying to explain to him how I hang my clothes. A few years ago, I decided I was tired of wasting time trying to find a particular shirt or pair of pants, so one afternoon, I decided to organize my clothes by color and type of clothes—pants in one area, capris, shorts, shirts, (separated by length of sleeves of course), sweaters, sweatshirts, and dresses.

Since he is colorblind, differentiating greens and browns, and pinks and whites presented a challenge. I know he disagreed with my arrangement, but it was my closet, not his.  Still, there was not too much complaining—some, but not much.

Today, while he was out playing eighteen holes, I decided to do some laundry and wet-mopped the floors. He knows about the laundry, but not the floors. I expect he will yell at me when he reads this and learns I cleaned the floors (and Mr. Erased the wall in the half bath). But he yells (with love) because he wants me to get back to normal so he can return the cleaning chores to me.

Soon, dear. Very soon. I hope he appreciates what I do. I appreciate what he has been doing.