I am Oscar to my husband’s Felix.
We do not fight about money. We do not fight about child rearing.
We do have some creative tension about clutter. Ben hates clutter. A house filled with too much stuff makes him stabby.
We’ve been together for thirteen years and really, it’s only a recent thing that each room in our house has furniture. Ben prefers a spare look.
I don’t mind clutter. I like having books next to the bed. A few knitting projects strewn about. It makes my life easier to not have to open a cabinet door or a drawer to get to something I want.
Also, we have a three-year-old. And even though half her genetic material is from a neat freak, it’s my genes that appear to be dominate on this issue.
So, Ben spends much of his time trying not to be annoyed about the state of the house. But then, he just can’t take it anymore.
When I notice he seems withdrawn? It’s only a matter of time before he starts what I call “crabby cleaning.” My stuff will end up in a pile in the closet, or a box upstairs, to be dealt with later. When he is done tidying, every surface is clear, nothing is stashed on the floor.
Notice I have been careful to not use the word “clean.” Because, while disorder bothers him, dirt usually doesn’t. He doesn’t care about dust. Or toothpaste residue in the sink, or crumbs on the counter. Whereas I loath these things.
How does this conflict manifest itself? In shenanigans.
Like the time I was repeatedly asked to ensure I was closing the medicine cabinet door completely, and failed to comply. I came home one day to find the door had been taken off the hinges and hidden away.
Or the time he hid the lid to my shampoo bottle when I refused to cap it. I retaliated by taking the lid off his shampoo and hiding it in the toilet tank, where it became lodged for the better part of two days and the flip top broke when it was finally extracted. He made a wooden plug to replace the cap. For real — the bulk sized Head and Shoulders bottle had a wooden plug. When I bought his next bottle of shampoo, I dropped it on the concrete floor at Costco just after I checked out, causing the lid to crack. When I presented him with the bottle, I nearly peed myself laughing.
Things are getting a bit better as Nora gets older. She can pick up her toys, help unload the dishwasher, sort laundry. It’s just a matter of time before two Felixes gang up on me. And that’s fine. They can sort while I scrub.