“It’s not a chore chart?”

“It’s a task list.”

“When did we decide to do that?”

“Like three weeks ago.”

“Has it worked?”


Not exactly a ringing endorsement from the fiancee. And yet at 12:10 a.m., this counts for a victory inside our cramped apartment with the narrow living room, the cat w/ ADD, the bugs who sometimes decide to check shit out on our kitchen counter, the constant window rattling from the four bus stops that ring our space.

I check stuff off the list. All is right with the world.

Chore lists can be pious things. Some of us just don’t see dirt. It’s a handicap. Excuse us. But my fiancee has learned to tone down her disapproval. She uses crayon drawings to make her points. She then tapes the drawings on our front door. I then get to decipher her hieroglyphics.

I like to think Martha Stewart might attempt such drawings for whoever the hell lives with her (staff? brave intern? graying New York poo-bah?)

About once a week, my fiancee will draw a trashcan or a litter container or make a “task list” of things I need to do. The trashcan drawing means I need to take out the trash. The litter container means I need to go and buy kitty litter (the smelly kind because my lady insists on the smelly kind).

I asked for these task lists.

They work. I think.

I am too old for chore charts. But I have come to the realization that I’m not good enough to go through successful cohabitation without one.

Floors have it easy living with me. So do bath tubs. And sinks. And stoves. And the dark spaces under the bed. I leave them alone. They are free to collect dust bunnies, harvest paper scraps and paper clips, grow dirt in cracks, and keep grime. The only way I’d end up cleaning these floors and sinks is if I walked around in socks and let the socks sop the dirt and grime and dust bunnies the way I imagine one of those Swiffers do like magic.

My fiancee had had enough of my magic.

Now I follow her cute lists.

Sort of. Apparently.

It’s 12:30 a.m. I go to her for more reassurance. She is in bed with her book.

“Is there a chore you’d like me to do?”

She shakes her head.

“Am I doing a good job?”

She shakes her head.


“It’s Wednesday and I’ve been asking you since Monday to take out the trash.”

I’m going now to take out the trash.