a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Thursday, May 21, 2015

if you go on strike.....

Some of you might remember that I went on strike against house cleaning about 4 years ago.  To give a little history with hopefully not a lot of words, prior to that time hubby worked 50 hours a week on average and I worked 40 hours a week.  I had a split schedule on Friday and Saturday so I cleaned house on Friday afternoon so that we had the weekend after my shift on Saturday to play or whatever.  I also did 99.9% of the laundry.

Then he quit his job to move closer to his parents and I kept working 40 hours a week but then we got that pesky mandatory overtime for about 6 months, so I was working 46 hours a week (extra hour a day for every day I worked) and he was working zilch as he was trying to get his teaching guitar student business going.

I had diligently cleaned house before then because he had the more stressful job at the time and was working more hours so I was trying to make it easier for him so I thought it should now be the same. I was working more hours, he should do house cleaning and laundry to free up my time.

He didn't.

I went on strike.

I in my head went on strike.

I stopped cleaning.

For four years.

I think during that time I MIGHT have cleaned the bathrooms once and maybe vacuumed once or twice but I never touched the kitchen or much else.  Laundry was about 60/40, you can guess who had the 60 and if you chose me, you'd be right.

I never told him I was on strike on house cleaning.  I just didn't clean.

I didn't like the situation I was in (okay I hated it, you guys all know that if you followed my blog for any of a time during that time). I distanced myself from that house. I could care less about the dirt. I just rationed it wasn't my house (and truly it wasn't, in name alone it is not my house, he inherited it strictly in his name from his parents).  We rarely had people over. 

Truly the house was not maintained.  It was pathetic.  But I was on strike and I wasn't budging.

Fast forward four years and now the situation is reversed once again, order has been restored to the universe.

He is now working 50 plus hours a week again and I'm back to 40 hours a week except for that pesky overtime that seems to creep in here and there and ruins the best laid plans especially through the A/Z challenge.

So I quietly settled my strike and started cleaning again. We moved here and within a week I had established a cleaning and laundry schedule and exclusively I do it 100%.

However, I forgot one little thing.  What we left behind.


Extremely dirty house.

That house is in the process of being remodeled (more about that later and our future plans).

The wonderful sweet handyman who is fixing it up is a young married man with two young children, a big heart, a limited budget. Their fridge went out and he asked if he could buy the fridge from our house which we didn't move.  Both hubby and me knew we couldn't sell him the fridge because we had no idea how old it was and we didn't want to sell it to him one week and then have it break the next week so we gave him the fridge.

And then I remembered.

How it looked.

Before we moved.

And sheepishly I thought.

Oh my gosh.

I left a tremendous mess.

For someone else to clean up.

I had a moment of guilt (but just a moment).

I considered messaging his lovely wife on Facebook.

and said "so sorry, this isn't really how I take care of things"

but I didn't.

I just hope they appreciated the gift.

Even if they had to clean it up a bit (lot).

Do I regret the strike?

Nope (maybe 0.00000000001%)

Will I do it again?

If the situation is right, yes.

Am I happy to be cleaning again?

Yeah.....I kind of like it.

So......just be careful......in case you decide to do such a strike.

It could come back to haunt you (but just a bit).



Words of wisdom for sure. We need to downsize here. I can longer do what needs to be done around this house and I get no help either. My efforts by and large go unappreciated. So I too have been on strike, the past few years. So I understand exactly where you were coming from. But I'll take your advice and remember to clean the fridge if I get lucky enough to move.

Intense Guy said...

Funny how some people never chip in with the cleaning. I have a brother that never ever cleaned the toilet at work - just the two of us and I rarely used it... I think he was just oblivious. He never said anything - no matter how disgusting it got. And then I would breakdown and scrub it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betty - sometimes there's advantages to being on one's own ... but I can quite see your point. Frustrating to say the least ...

Good luck with the new house ... Hilary

Maria Zannini said...

We had a similar situation 6 months ago when hubby retired--only I wasn't about to stay quiet about it. LOL.

I explained very clearly that now that he was home, duties would be shared 50/50.

He sometimes balks at how often things need to be done, but other than that he's been dutiful and helps out without ever being reminded.

I guess I'll keep him. :)

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

Perhaps they did what Pete has done when we've gotten an old icebox from somewhere or to our own after Rita: Set it outside. Empty all contents in the garbage. Spray inside with clorox. Shut door and let sit. Spray out with water hose. Then get rag and cleaner for the stubborn stuff. Towel dry.

blogoratti said...

Strikes always start with a purpose but the end results could either be good or bad. Its good to know that you are up to cleaning again, there's nothing like keeping things tidy wit your own hands. Best wishes!

Joanne Noragon said...

But it was fun while it lasted! Don't be embarrassed. Don't explain.

Sandy said...

I totally get why you went on strike, but I would have discussed the reverse situation and flatly told him, he had time on his hands and should do it. And I would not have been happy with him for not stepping up and seeing it needed to be done.

A marriage is suppose to be a 50/50 in my book, women should not be expected to do 100% of the household jazz when they are working outside the home.

I don't like to clean, but I also can't live with clutter and disorganization. Luckily hubby feels the same. There are times I do more, times he does more, but there's never been a time when either of us left it all up to the other person.

Glad you have a clean house to live in again, but hope you get him on board...cause he's living there too.

Sandy at Bridge and Beyond

Bijoux said...

I'm a clean freak, so I'm glad I didn't have to see that! Did your husband not clean because he doesn't mind a dirty house?

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I'm sure they appreciated the fridge. Too bad your strike did little in the way of getting you some help though. Sometimes we just have to do what makes us happy and if clean is happy then do it...if not, don't.

Pat Hatt said...

Sure the fridge was appreciated indeed. Blah, my ocd would have that place all clean. 4 years? I'd probably set fire to it and walk away lol well maybe run away to avoid arson charges

Jo said...

Have you ever heard of hiring a cleaner. I hate housework and these days am not really capable of coping with it so I have a cleaner. I can't believe your husband doesn't do his share of cleaning. Mine always did.

Ruth said...

Several years ago, my husband got laid off and went back to school. I worked everyday to help pay the bills and I still had to come home and do everything. Once every six months, he might think to wash the dishes.
When he cleans, he cleans well.
He just doesn't very often.

Stephanie Faris said...

We lived in an 800 square foot house. I found a woman who would clean it once a month for $45. I would go over to the mall, where there's free wi-fi, and work for the three hours it took her to clean it (she's slow as heck!) and make $45 easily. That's how I rationalized it to myself! I'd rather write than clean. But we're in a 2,300 square foot house now in a nicer area of town and something tells me it'll cost $100-$150 to clean...and that's if they do it every two weeks! So it looks like I'd better grab a Swiffer and get started.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Time passes but things like this never seem to change. Women in the workforce, while also having full responsibility for home upkeep of the interior and exterior. When there's a couple or a roommate, responsibilities should be shared. I find it to be a lack of respect, and childish. Without 'give and take' there's turmoil.

I'd rather be happy alone, than with the wrong person and miserable. At least there are no arguments when it comes to loading the dishwasher and turning it on. Something so simple, you'd think a caveman could do it. Ha!

joeh said...

I generally do the bathrooms, vacuuming and kitchen cleanup and 1/2 the laundry. But the truth is if we didn't have company every now and then we might never do a proper clean up.

jack69 said...

YOu are a tough nut to crack lady. But I know you had a tough time letting things go. But I am sure 'SOMEONE' noticed the change. (smile)
Glad you are happy at present.

Chatty Crone said...

Well I admire you stuck with your strike - I would start it - then I know my OCD would start up - and my family probably knows that too!

susie said...

At least you have a new house so you can start over.

The ONLY time my house looks spotless is when it's on the market.

Right now I am reading blogs instead of cleaning my dirty kitchen.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I've counseled many women in your situation with a husband who works less or even a equal schedule. But I always encourage them to explain their strike as they start it. Because a lot of men aren't great at picking up on clues. So you say, for instance, "Now that you are working less than me, it's not fair for me to do the bulk of the housework. So I will not be doing your laundry or cleaning the house on my own. You must start doing you share." And then follow-through.

Saleslady371 said...

This is so funny! I appreciate your honesty and a truthful lesson that you shared! Funniest post I read this week. Bless you!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Wow, I could never have done that! I hate cleaning house but I could never not clean it. However I know that we are going to have issues when Mark retires. I think it has to be 50/50 then and I know he will not agree to that. I may have to go on stick then!

TBR/Committed Thoughts said...

Hmmm. I wonder if Ole Boy thinks I'm on strike.

I can't believe it's been 4 years since that move to So Cal!

SweetMarie said...

I clean a lot! Between hubby, son, uncle and four pups I have to or i would go nuts! lol

Paula Kaye said...

I used to be such a clean freak!! I never went on strike but I did stop being so OCD about it. And no one noticed. Richard was great at "helping" me but I had to tell him what to do. But he also did all the grocery shopping, taking care of the vehicles, and all the outside work. So I guess that kind of equaled that 50/50 that Sandy was talking about. Richard was also good at cooking so we shared those duties. He was great with the kids as well. And that helped me a lot when the grandkids came to live with us. Now it is all mine to do! So all I can do is giving him props for what he did. And be thankful I still have kids that can somewhat help me out. I wouldn't worry about what they think of the fridge. They are probably just grateful to get one for free!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I don't blame you for going on strike. I would have done the same thing!

J E Oneil said...

I would never have been quiet about going on strike. If I'm upset, I make sure everyone knows it. I hope you don't need to ever strike again...

lyndagrace said...

Men, okay maybe not all, don’t seem to notice the dust in the corners.
I keep the house maintained to my satisfaction. It’s not spotless, but my passes my inspection.

Birgit said...

I have to ask...did he notice? Did he say anything? My hubby would go nuts! He is great since he is not working so he vacuums and does a lot. I dust and clean also but we share. My dad, would only notice if it was horrible otherwise he had no clue. I commend you!

Mildred said...

Physically I cannot clean like I once did and hubby is disabled. We have moved several times in the last few years - downsizing each time. I have decluttered a LOT to make keeping house easier and we eat lunch out and have something light for dinner. That helps. Nice of you to give the couple the frig.

Liz A. said...

I completely understand, although I don't know why you didn't let your husband know it was now his job to clean. Sometimes men need to be told these things.

Mevely317 said...

Love this post, Betty! I can sure identify with not particularly enjoying the spot in which you're planted ... hence, my last post!

Men are funny animals, aren't they? We pretty well split the chores around here and pick up each other's slack. But what drives me crazy is his nonchalance about the bed being left unmade. (99% of the time he's still in it when I leave for work.)

That's really a sweet gesture about your giving the fridge to your handyman.

Jerralea said...

It's taken years, and I do mean years, to get my husband to help with household chores, but he does help pretty well, now.

Luckily, neither one of us can stand clutter, so our house has always been picked up. But it doesn't seem to bother us much if there is dust ...

Jeff Bushman said...

I do all of the cooking, dishes, yard maintenance and snow shoveling, wood cutting, splitting and stacking and wood stove chores.
She cleans the house and does the laundry. She works 60 hours, I work 40-50. Works out OK. Sometimes I clean the floors and do laundry but not a lot. In the long run...I think I do more but I love her so no worries!

Veronica Lee said...

I do basically everything except taking out the trash and boiling water daily( our tap water isn't drinking safe). Those are hubby's chores. Strikes in our house don't work! A dirty house doesn't bother them.

Linda said...

I think your situation was truly unique, and now much improved. So much to be said about downsizing and keeping up with maintenance. The older I get, the more lax I've become, still neat, but longer intervals between vacuuming, or maybe because also helping out my mom, who is having a home health care evaluation tomorrow.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

samantha mozart said...

Hi Betty,

I do not like to clean house; but I do -- as infrequently as possible. When I was caregiving at home for my mother who had dementia, I hired someone to come in and do the heavy cleaning once a month. What a treat.

I just saw your comments on my blog, http://thescheherazadechronicles.wordpress.com, which is my secondary blog but how BlogSpot has me listed. I replied -- on posts E for Empty and F for Falling. I am so sorry for the delay.

Also, in continuing our conversation about our living in the same places, I lived in Redondo Beach for 30 years, am now in Delaware, but had been considering moving to Wildomar (senior housing). I see you lived in Murrieta. I think I'll look at the beach, though. I'm a beach person.

Samantha Mozart
My main website:

yaya said...

You are a lady of your word! I would have told him to help...men can be very dense sometimes! My hubby does the laundry and helps clean too..he has Wed. off so he'll pitch in often and I'm very grateful! I would go nuts if I didn't keep up the house however..I would have caved and given up the strike..just call me "scab labor"!

Elizabeth said...

I've had similar issues like that with roommates. I had two different roommates in college who refused to clean up after themselves, but I think the worst situation came after college when I lived with my best friend for two years. We had multiple dishwashing strikes. I think we finally reached some sort of unspoken agreement, but it didn't last long because she got married and I had to move out.

Nick Wilford said...

I kind of love that you didn't tell your hubby about the strike and he didn't question what was happening. Probably didn't want to rock the boat and end up doing it all. I mean, I do clean the house because I'm the stay at home parent, but I mainly do it for my wife because it doesn't bother me what the house looks like.

DMS said...

I can totally understand why you went on strike. It can be hard to be the only one holding things together and to also be the one working more hours. I am sure that was a tough period all around, but it sounds like things are better now. Good thing you are in a new place now that the strike is over so that you don't have to clean the house that got more out of control than you would have liked. :)

Sounds like the fridge went to a couple who really need it and don't mind doing a little work. :)

Sunni said...

Thank goodness my husband and I both clean. He does his laundry and I do mine. Sometimes he cooks and does dishes but I usually do it. But he's good about doing his share most of the time.

Good of you to give the fridge away. I'm sure they didn't mind cleaning it.


Sandy said...

Popping back in, hoping you're working on your computer situation.

Sandy at Bridge and Beyond

Carol Noren Johnson said...

The shame game rarely works, but I see your point. Glad you are both working now. Confession is good for the soul they say.

I miss my late husband who usually did the floors because of my Carpal Tunnel wrists. Getting up the courage to do the floors now.

Sharon said...

I've got to 'fess up - my hubby is the housekeeper around here. I'm sort of a messy girl - and he's a neatnik. I do enjoy dusting, and I don't mind doing laundry, but beyond that - it's my man to the rescue. So thankful for him!

But, I did go through a period in my life when I didn't clean, and I was a bit of a hoarder, too. My house was literally a mess, and it reflected accurately my life at the time. I was in complete upheaval.

Gotta admit, I do enjoy a clean home. And besides, hubby is cute when he's wearing cleaning rags!! HA!


Chrys Fey said...

I went on a cleaning strike once because no one would help me. It lasted a month. I'm too OCD to let a house get dirty and disorganized. :P

Lux G. said...

Our past would always haunt us if we don't do it right. Good advice here.

Keith Hillman said...

I live on my own, but I would have sleepless nights if I thought there was even a tiny speck of dust anywhere! Well done you though - I see why you did it.

Visit Keith's Ramblings!

Sandy said...

Blog rounding again, popped in to wave and say hi!

Sandy at Bridge and Beyond

Passions, Past-Times and Paraphernalia said...

Hi Betty, Just calling in to say hi on the Road Trip of the A to Z Challenge.Yes, cleaning is a pest when you are both working long hours. I understand where you were coming from though. Personally, I would have hired a cleaner. Then again that is just me! Thank you for an entertaining and honest post. Carolyn from Pastimes-Passions-Paraphernalia.org.

Megan Whitson Lee said...

You are so funny! I wanted to respond to this last week, but I was in North Carolina and traveling, so things were a little crazy. I have gone on cleaning strikes too, but never quite that long. Usually for the same reason as you, though! Having said that, I'm soooooo much happier with a clean house. Our house is relatively clean, but with two dogs, daily cleaning is a necessity.

Danielle L Zecher said...

They were probably very happy to get a fridge and didn't mind having to clean it. And they probably just thought it got a little messy because of the chaos that comes with moving.

mostlytruestoriesofkrenaep.com said...

I actually laughed out loud. But good for you. I think it would only be fair for your hubby to step up since you worked more hours. That's part of being a marital team. I love that you are more than prepared to go on strike again.

Passing through on my #AtoZRoadTrip

dolorah said...

I've tried to go on strike. It doesn't work for me, I like clean house, clean dishes to eat off. MEN!!!!