Erica Lucke Dean

"Making the world a better place, one book at a time."

of all the ridiculous things to argue about…

What does it say about you when you run out of real issues to argue about, so you start arguing about made up ones?  I don’t know if this really counts as an argument per se, but it definitely would fall under the category of “you’ve got to be kidding me!”

The day started out pretty good.  I spent a good portion of it catching up on my housework.  It was a long, mostly unproductive week on the homefront last week, so the house was looking pretty bad.  Sure, I did laundry and dishes.  I even found time to sort through some of the mail.  But mostly, I failed to get to the core of the matter…the dust and pet hair.  The weekend was spent on outside tasks, like fixing the damage to the fence after the tree fell through it.  Mike did most of the work, but I did help…a little.    So I owed the house a thorough cleaning, and today I gave it a solid start, at the very least. 

I tackled the kitchen, washing every dish and pan until they practically sparkled.  I cleaned the counter tops of every crumb and spill, and swept and vacuumed the floors until not a stitch of dog fluff remained.   I carried the sweeping into the keeping room where I moved the furniture around to vacuum under it, making sure no stray tumbleweed of loose pet hair would come rolling out when the air in the room got stirred up. 

I even cleaned the cat box in the laundry room until even the cats weren’t sure they were in the right place. 

And then, in a stroke of genius, I made a deal with my daughter’s boyfriend.  I would get Chinese take-out for dinner for everyone if he would pull the weeds in the front yard.  I knew this was something my husband was not looking forward to doing, so I figured it would be a nice gesture.  A win-win situation, if you will. 

As it turns out, my gesture was greatly appreciated.  Not just bargaining for the yard work, but the Chinese food too.  My husband had mysteriously developed a craving for Chinese food that very day…and coincidentally, he craved the very thing I ordered for him to eat.  It was beyond perfect.  The house was clean…the yard was manicured…and dinner was ready when he walked through the door.  I was back in his good graces, yet again.

That lasted almost two whole hours, until we began the conversation that was our ultimate undoing.

Mike made a passing comment about how he wouldn’t mind having a live-in gardener for a few months…until the yard and the garden was brought back to where he needed to be after a summer of neglect.  He said we could provide room and board, and a small wage.  It sounded like a great idea…in fact, it sounded like something I had thought of some time ago.

I used to have this fantasy where we had a live-in English couple.  The woman, a sweet white haired lady in her middle sixties, did the cooking and cleaning…and her husband tended to the garden and the grounds.  I had even named them— Henry and Eloise. 

Of course, Mike and I agreed that we could never afford a proper English couple.  They would be much too expensive.  He suggested that perhaps a nice Honduran couple would be more affordable.  We didn’t get around to naming them.  Instead, we were talking about how much we would pay them, in addition to their room and board. 

I didn’t think we should pay them much if we were offering them room and board too. We went back and forth for a few minutes, trying to iron out what would be a fair wage.  We disagreed on how much was too much.

Mike got angry with me for underpaying our make-believe Honduran couple and told me I was being selfish.  The entire conversation turned into a full blown argument.  We didn’t speak for the rest of the night. 

I’m not exactly sure how to respond to the argument.  Do I apologize for being unfair to our pretend employees?  I mean…I might have paid them more if they had been real.  What do I know about paying live-in servants?  I’ve never had one.  I don’t know what the going rates are these days for Honduran couples who live in your home while cooking, cleaning, and tending to the yard work.  What value do you put on the room and board, anyway?  Am I supposed to provide transportation and cell phones?  And if I do, doesn’t that allow me to pay them just a little bit less for the privileges I am providing them?  Doesn’t it?  And ultimately, without doing any real research, am I really being so selfish…or am I just uninformed? 

I suppose I’ll ask him tomorrow…if I dare broach the subject again.  Who knew he would be so attached to the couple that he would be that concerned for their welfare.

I guess he just wanted to be fair.  I’m sure he wouldn’t want to take advantage of someone.  They are human beings after all…

Even if they are just pretend human beings. 

I guess I’ll just cook and clean the house myself…it’s a lot easier that way.

Until the next time…just call me Eloise!

Copyright © 2000-2016, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.