Most days after work, I tidy up the house and toss in a batch of laundry before settling in to read or write. Most days after work, my husband sinks into the sofa and unwinds by watching zombies, alligator hunters, families who rough it in Alaska, and/or documentaries about historical events. This (in)activity can and sometimes does carry him all the way to bedtime. Most weeks, I watch two hours of TV: This is Us on Tuesdays and Grey’s Anatomy two days later. When those shows are in reruns, my TV time goes down to zero weekly minutes.
On weekends, he may or may not shower. I can’t remember the last time I went 24 hours without a shower, even when I’ve had the flu and a fever of 103. He opens cabinets to get dishes and snacks and then walks away, leaving the doors flung wide. On weekdays, he leaves for work at just about the same time I hop into the shower so we don’t have breakfast together, but once I’m in the kitchen, I can tell you exactly what he ate: crumbs on the counter mean toast, a ring the size of a pan lid represents either fried eggs or oatmeal and a quick glance at the sink strainer will show which.
Despite the row of coat hooks just inside the entranceway, his jacket will likely be hung over the back of a kitchen chair and his shoes can be found near but not on the rug meant for them. Because my hormones provide me all the heat I need and then some, I keep our thermostat set just this side of where the pipes might freeze, so he’s taken to grabbing a blanket for his nightly TV-a-thons. Mornings often find the blanket on the couch rather than in the cabinet where I put it, about ten steps from his viewing seat.
Though it might sound like it, this post is not meant to be a gripefest about my husband’s habits. That’s not to say I haven’t grumbled about them, because I certainly have. And maybe it’s simply a male/female thing like man colds, because our four-year-old granddaughter shakes her head when she sees a blanket on our couch and says, “Oh Grampy!” in a tone that suggests she’s the one who’s been picking up after him for the better part of four decades.
This isn’t a gripefest, it’s an acknowledgement of my need to learn how to be a proper slacker, to take it down a peg (or six). One look at the two of us provides proof that his way trumps mine. He’s all chill and comfy while I fret over unfolded towels. I admit to my shortcomings and this absolutely is one of them, though I have come a long way. My standards are much lower than they used to be (I never make the bed!), but going full bore slacker (Is there such a thing or is the very act of trying to excel at slacking proof of the inability to slack well?) isn’t my default mode.*
So I decided to sign on as his apprentice and this weekend was slacker boot camp. Comcast (aka the devil) offered a free watchathon week and I’ve been wanting to see Grace and Frankie, which has earned rave reviews from friends. Golden opportunity. The universe provides.
I settled into the sofa and queued up Season 1. It took only a few minutes for me to fall in love with the show—funny and smart with heart. During the second half-hour episode, I hit pause to throw a load of clothes in the washer. In episode three, I paused again to vacuum the living room and wipe down the kitchen counters. As the weekend wore on, I watched but never without stopping to tend to something. First batch into the dryer and another in the wash. I swept the stairs and wiped out the sink. Folded clothes and carried baskets of clean stuff up the stairs. Called my brother, which doesn’t sound like a chore, but is. Gave the upstairs bathroom a quick once-over. Took out the trash.
Realizing I hadn’t done all that well in my quest for slacker stardom, I took a blanket from the cabinet and tossed it on the sofa then kicked off my shoes and put them smack dab in the middle of the room. I got myself a bowl of ice cream and when I finished it, I set the bowl and spoon on the coffee table instead of jumping up to put them in the dishwasher. I looked around satisfied and decided to leave the mess until morning. Two hours later, though, I folded the blanket and tucked it neatly away, brought my dish into the kitchen, and grabbed my shoes before I headed up to bed. I’d give myself a solid D+ for the weekend, but I am just an apprentice. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect, after all.
* Except for on this blog. For the past few months, I’ve been one serious rock star blog-slacker.