Open wide 

‘Why are you doing that? That is not a Saturday job.’

My husband was standing in the bedroom where I had just finished hoovering and was now spreading clean linen on the bed, with Lucy as usual ‘helping’ by alternately burrowing under and sitting on the fresh sheets as I unfurled them.

‘I tell you something, Lucy,’ I said, ‘there is one sure way to know which way to know you have the fitted sheet around the right way.’

Lucy looked at me, waiting for my pearls of wisdom.

‘It is like USB drives. No matter which way you try it, it is always the wrong way the first time.’

Then I turned my attention to my husband.

‘The reason I am doing this,’ I explained, ‘Is because I voted this morning and it exhausted me, so I watched some TV, which made me feel guilty. So now, I am making sure there is clean linen on the bed, because I have to get on a plane on Thursday and you know how I feel about flying.’

‘If your plane crashes,’ my husband reassured me, ‘the last thing I will be worrying about is linen.’

‘Do you want me to show you how the window works while you are here?’

My husband has, for some reason, a problem with opening the bedroom window. It is a pain to open when I do it, because I don’t bother lifting the blinds beforehand. There is a security key and then a latch which needs to be released before the window will slide back to allow a breeze through the window.

I lifted up the blind to allow him an unfettered view.

Like this, I showed him and unclippled the latch and slid it across.

‘Thanks,’ he said, ‘did you have do do it one-handed just to make me feel even more stupid?’

I had not realised I was doing it one-handed at all. My thought was just on showing my husband how to open the window so that while I am away next week, he can allow some fresh air into the bedroom.

I do not know whether my demonstration will help him at all next week, but I do know that it is suprising the amount of information that my husband does absorb, even if he does not let on that he has taken it in. This occurred to me after he had left.

Never in the seven years that we have been in this house has my husband once let slip that he was aware of any hoovering that was going on. Today, in a moment of weakness, he revealed that not only did he realise that housework does occur, but that he knows what day it occurs on. Somehow, he has managed to absorb this intel without actually managing to get enough in the way to have to do it.

I slid the window shut. I am sure he can work out how to open it if he needs to.


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