Revisited: A labored Memorial Day

It was going to be a natural tie-in. A photo essay of the typical chores I tackle on a Sunday, even a Sunday that’s part of the Labor Day holiday weekend.

It wasn’t till I was just about finished that I realized — oops, this isn’t Labor Day, it’s Memorial Day.

I always get these two mixed up. I know one is the unofficial start of summer, one is the unofficial end of summer, and they both have something to do with the propriety of wearing white shoes. I thought they fell in alphabetical order, which would make sense in a truly logical universe. (My proposal: Arbor Day replaces New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, Christmas comes in February, Halloween around May, and Zeus’ Birthday ushers in the end-of-year holiday season).

Memorial Day is the day we honor the nation’s war dead by racing the Indianapolis 500 and staging Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial golf tournament on the beautiful Muirfield Village Golf Course, where Tiger Woods will face a stiff field of challengers including up-and-comers like Jason Bohn and Matt Kuchar. Labor Day is when we pay tribute to America’s mothers who endured hours of unimaginable pain birthing this nation’s grateful work force. Why can’t I keep that straight?

Regardless of my error, you’re getting the photo essay.

Sunday has always felt right to me as the proper day to undertake household chores. Maybe it has something to do with my Lutheran guilt that I no longer attend church. If I can’t sit through another interminable sermon about how Zachariah slew Obidiah after Jebediah stole his Uriah Heep album, perhaps I should endure the equivalent anguish of running the vacuum cleaner. Though I didn’t quite get to the carpet on this particular Sunday (unless you count the part where I fell down while dusting the fireplace), I did accomplish the following:

The Laundry

Yes, I am the rare enlightened married man who does his own washing and drying. I keep trying to tell my wife what a “catch” she has here though, even after almost 29 years of marriage, she’s yet to be convinced that’s quite the right word for it. I also make my own breakfast, pack my own lunch, wash my own face and brush my own teeth, because I’m a big boy. Note the care with which I have balanced the shirts around the bin, indicating an expertise far beyond my years.

The Billing

I’m the unofficial accountant for my wife’s free-lance proofreading business, and every week or so I’m in charge of invoicing her clients. It’s a tedious, afternoon-long chore still inexplicably done on paper instead of electronically. Occasionally, just for fun, I’ll mistakenly write “thousand” instead of “hundred” on one of the bills, in the hope that her clients’ inability to find errors extends beyond their proofs and into their accounts payable department.

The Catbox

With three cats under our roof, this is more than a weekly chore, or at least that’s how Harriet, Taylor and Tom explain it to me. Strange how my role as lord and master over their dominion includes me cleaning up their waste products. I doubt that’s how ancient Egyptian pharoahs interacted with their slaves. Though I actually can imagine King Tutankhamun having to take a few minutes away from ruling virtually the entire known world to comb through the sandbox of his royal felines Boots, Hosni and Mr. Hatshepsut.

The Mowing

I would absolutely LOVE to trade my stuffy office job for a position as a professional grass-cutter. I find the fresh air, the physical labor, the thrill of possibly losing an eye to be positively exhilarating. And the sense of accomplishment after seeing your hard work transform a weedy mess into a manicured landscape can’t compare with the successful downloading of a spreadsheet, even though the spreadsheet (usually) leaves me less dehydrated.

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