HU­MOUR: all presents are ac­counted for

Christ­mas is all about great teamwork, ac­cord­ing to hus­bands who want to take credit where no credit is due.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Contents - WITH AMANDA BLAIR

Around this time ev­ery year a mys­te­ri­ous stranger en­ters our lives. They don’t stay for long, they don’t make a mess and they don’t out­stay their wel­come, which I should be grate­ful for con­sid­er­ing the in ux of rel­a­tives who ap­pear over the Christ­mas pe­riod, of­ten un­in­vited.

They also make them­selves known around fam­ily birth­days and al­ways near Mother’s Day. My hus­band an­nounces their ar­rival when he walks into the room and asks me the same ques­tion he’s been ask­ing me for 21 years: “What have WE got my Dad for Christ­mas?” At this point I stop what­ever it is that I’m do­ing, look him in the eye and ask the same ques­tion I’ve been ask­ing for 21 years: “Just who is this WE, dar­ling? Can you please in­tro­duce me to them? WE hasn’t got any­thing for your fa­ther for Christ­mas. I’ve pur­chased your fa­ther a new golf shirt which I’ll be wrap­ping up and putting un­der the tree from all of us, but WE has noth­ing to do with the Christ­mas shop­ping, not this year, not the last nor the year be­fore that.”

His ex­as­per­ated re­ply is al­ways the same: “Don’t be funny, what have WE got Mum, the kids and Un­cle Pete who’s com­ing to lunch this year?” Again

I can never re­sist the op­por­tu­nity to re­in­force my point with, “WE hasn’t done any Christ­mas shop­ping, WE has had noth­ing to do with any of the prepa­ra­tions for the fes­tive sea­son. I have it all sorted. I just think you can tell your lovely friend WE that it’s all done thanky­ou­very­much.”

I don’t mind do­ing this pre­sent­buy­ing job. In fact, I think if I had any as­sis­tance from my hus­band and we ac­tu­ally shopped to­gether the whole ex­pe­ri­ence would sour. There would be ghts over se­lec­tion, style and, be­ing of Scot­tish ori­gin, he’d con­stantly ques­tion the price. I’d also spend half my valu­able re­tail time gen­tly but rmly ex­plain­ing that no­body in our fam­ily (in­clud­ing the kids) wants a bat­tery-op­er­ated pep­per grinder with LED lights.

If we shopped to­gether I’m sure we’d turn into one of those match­ing track­suit wear­ing cou­ples, silently and sul­lenly push­ing the trol­ley, the re­sent­ment for the task and each other rmly etched on our faces.

Nay, I want to keep my mar­riage alive and gure that the key to hap­pi­ness is di­vid­ing jobs into an old-school his ‘n’ hers ar­range­ment. He does his “jobs” un­aided and un­chal­lenged by me, and I do my “jobs”. Like Julius Cae­sar, we di­vide and con­quer, al­beit do­mes­ti­cally.

It was an or­ganic process – we never sat down and de­cided who should do what, rather the jobs found us and, like Torvill and Dean, they just t per­fectly.

HIS: Shoe pol­ish­ing, lawn care and main­te­nance, light bulb chang­ing, cof­fee mak­ing, wound and joint strap­ping, hedge trim­ming and bak­ery prod­uct pur­chas­ing. He was re­spon­si­ble for jar open­ing un­til the tech rev­o­lu­tion cru­elly made that po­si­tion re­dun­dant with the in­ven­tion of the mag­i­cal JarKey jar opener.

But he’s held onto his most trea­sured do­mes­tic ac­tiv­ity, out­side meats, id est, meat prod­ucts ex­clu­sively re­quir­ing al­fresco bar­be­cue or char­coal cook­ery.

HERS: Dry clean­ing drop-off/pick-up, laun­dry stain re­moval, leaf blow­ing, so­cial cal­en­dar en­tries, dele­tions and ex­cuses, linen chang­ing and se­lec­tion, school form ad­min­is­tra­tion and sh and chip or­der­ing be­cause an­noy­ingly, he never gets enough chips. Main­te­nance of three-bin sys­tem in­clu­sive of an­nual hard rub­bish pick-up, cut­lery draw crumb re­moval, in­side meats, and my favourite do­mes­tic job, rug clean­ing. And no, this isn’t a eu­phemism – 24-hour hire of a rug cleaner makes me deeply happy.

So con­sider th­ese keys to a happy mar­riage via largely stereo­typ­i­cal yet strangely func­tional and com­fort­ing chore distri­bu­tion my gift to you.

WE’d like to wish you all a very

Merry Christ­mas. My hus­band and I would, too ...

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