Sometimes as I pass through the kitchen while Robinson is preparing dinner I ask

‘Can I help with anything?’

and she retorts

‘I doubt it.’

Ha! It’s one of my favourite bits of kitchen cruelty. Along with being spanked with a wooden spoon, on the buttocks, on request.

It’s not as though I never do the cooking – I do – it’s just that Robinson never offers to help. (Boom! Fifteen all.)

We’re the same in that we like the kitchen to ourselves when we’re cooking. Our kitchen is brand new and wonderful but it’s a walk through. It’s not the crowded centre of the house like in the commercials.

For the record, the crowded centre of our house is around the drinks trolley.

We both like cooking and by osmosis it balances out that we share it about evenly.

When it comes to cleaning – well, I know I’ve cast Robinson as the Welsh cleaner but we both reckon that balances out too. She gives in before I do and cleans the bathrooms. Hurrah! Apparently they were filthy.

I clean our new kitchen in what I know will be a frantic and failed attempt to keep it brand new.

We’ve been in this house so long now that even the ‘new’ bits are old again, in spite of our cleaning. Hinges rust. Paint peels, again. Grout stains and crumbles. There’s a crack in the upstairs basin. The exhaust fan doesn’t work.

So we beat on…

I clean the windows because. I’m not sure why. I think it’s because I’m tall, and because Robinson once bought me an internet-special window cleaning kit. Gee. And a subscription to Modern Slavery.

She probably vacuums more than me but that’s because she knows where the vacuum cleaner is kept. When she turns it on without notice I’m generally  more startled than Nina the kitten. I was complaining the other day that our gym is still COVID closed and she asked

‘Have you thought about taking up vacuuming?’ Rude.

I dust more than she does but we both agree dusting is pointless. I don’t do it often. The sun has to be at the right angle and I have to notice the cat paw prints in the dust on everything.

Laundry: 50-50.

Changing light bulbs: 100-0. It’s me and being tall again. I’m almost a professional. One time in Glebe an old bloke came up to me with a light bulb in his hand and asked me if I would come to his place and change it for him. Yes sir.

Putting records and CDs back in their covers and putting them away: 60-40 Robinson’s way. Dancing to all that music: 70-30 her way but me watching and entranced = 50-50.

Knowing what day it is: 50-50, though she lost a Monday last week and took two days to catch up. She was shuffling around with glazed eyes like something from The Walking Dead.

Knowing what’s in the pantry and what we need and how much things cost: 70-30 her way. I was never good at maths. Or shopping.

Gardening: me. Netflix and drawing: her.

We’re yin and yang. His and hers. Red and white (that’s a wine reference). Gin and tonic.

We’re together after all these years and part of that’s due to our natural balance. We never set or performed any rules but things have turned out fairly and well. Humour helps. We often laugh our heads off.

And then clean up the mess.

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