The Greek has a shocking memory. It’s a fact. He can forget whole conversations, days, events. I help him recover these lost experiences by laying down a trail of edible memories. “Remember babes, you had the calzone?” A wee light goes on and he remembers the event, more so the calzone, but nonetheless satisfied. I am constantly obsessed with forgetting something, particularly in relation to my children. I live in fear that I have sent my son to school dressed as an orange, when its actually dress like a plum day. A wee tangerine surrounded by a mocking purple gang, I torment myself until my happy little citrus fruit bounces off the school bus and waves goodbye to all his little orange peers. My daughter has many hospital appointments and I always get there on the correct day, and on time, but always frantically googling “what is an ophthalmologist”. With this obsession and the Greek’s Swiss cheese memory, this task of appointments, events, and attempting to forward plan is mine.
It is an unspoken agreement like the task of recycling. I hate recycling. We used our food waste bin for about two weeks. I complained constantly about the smell and the ridiculous size of the thing. As a family of four good eaters, I do not understand why the council think Tom Thumb’s satchel is a good size for us to dispose of food waste. Overflowing by 11am each day and reeking of what you have just eaten I demanded it left. The Greek was bereft. He loved the bin. An overflowing sea of rotten treasures to be reused. He even loved the wee bags that came with it. Where you and I see a bag, his eyes were full of wonderment at the possibilities they held. Homemade water bombs. Lining for tomato plant pots, malleable shapes to coat in paper mache. He had a lot of fun for those two weeks. It went of course but he remains true to his cause. When I go through the veg box indiscriminately lobbing the older inhabitants into the bin, he is always over my shoulder, “NO, it’s sprouting!” I sigh as I hand over his chosen one. The wake is always held in the kitchen cupboard. The potato resting on top of the boiler he is encouraged and continues to sprout. Next, an elaborate burial in the garden, the whole family in attendance as we bid him farewell. Off on his journey to grow new life. Cilla (the puppy) desperately trying to exhume him, we know we will meet again, and he will bring friends.
I understand the importance of recycling, but when I am faced with lots of squashed cartons daily on the kitchen worktop, I despair. The Greek spends hours, peeling labels off, washing tins, flat packing milk cartons and singing, “reduce, reuse, recycle”. He likes the dreaded purple bin too. He likes to take me on romantic dates to the purple bin and while I hold it open, he posts the empty bottles of wine in it. He recites aloud their monetary value as they crash into purple heaven. £5 £10 £15 £20. I nod and shake my head when appropriate, whilst thinking how much of a nicer perfume old wine is compared to Tom’s satchel.
With this task of recycling comes a great honour. The Greek checks and re-checks, which bin goes out this Wednesday. He lives in fear that we miss this service and are left adrift in a sea of rubbish. Every second Wednesday he can be seen running down our driveway at 6.20AM with the green bin. Wearing only a t-shirt and boxers, barefooted, screaming, “Wait guys”! The same guy always breaks the bad news to him, “it’s the brown first mate”. Exhausted and frostbitten he retreats and tells us all about it. Again.
In researching this blog, I found that there is still a massive gender difference in the housework arena. Woman continue to do more than their fair share it seems. Although I mock him, my Greek is actually a fairly modern husband. He cooks like the amazing fishermen he descends from. He likes to deep clean the bathroom, and I am forbidden access to the laundry basket. For me the difference is the reception on how these tasks are received.
Not so long ago, the wife, the mother’s place was in the home. Cooking, cleaning, and tending to her husband and children. The husband the breadwinner, the wife his support. There have been big changes since then, but maybe the essence of this structure persists. Papa likes to help the Bionic Woman around the house with a set task. He washes the dishtowels for their busy business and then prances around their lofty apartment, draping the towels over any available heat source. As he stands prepared to take a bow and be showered in roses, the Bionic Woman is always unyielding in her reply, “what is it you’re after; a medal?”
Maybe we ladies are defensive on behalf of our foremothers whilst men feel some inexplicable need for recognition. Woman fulfilling an obligation, whilst men claiming a sense of achievement. Yet I like this disparity between us. It interests the part time sociologist in me. When I am out on a date with my oldest friend Miss Modest Mum, we regale each other with these “husband stories”. We laugh until our sides are sore, and ultimately feel less frustrated. For the Greek and me it is a source of constant conflict. As a newly married couple, we are at the beginning of our learning curve of partnership, swinging between accusation and appraisals. Trying to work out a system of co-operation and co-ordination. Wish us luck.
I will never take the bins out though. Brown Bin Wednesday is some laugh.
Happy weekend xxxxxxxxxxxxx