I have two confessions.
The first is that my refrigerator smells like something crawled inside, threw up, contracted a severe foot fungus, developed gangrene, and then died.
The second is that I refuse to do anything about it.
Oh sure, I removed a carton of takeout Thai that’s been in there since March, and I might’ve sniffed a few iffy perishables (and proceeded to eat them).
But the fact is, I hate cleaning the refrigerator. It’s one of the chores – along with mopping floors and mowing the lawn – I will avoid at all costs.
I might feel guilty about this if it weren’t for the fact that Pythagoras has a similar list of chores he refuses to perform. His list includes folding laundry and scrubbing tubs or toilets.
The funny thing is, we’ve never discussed this in 12+ years of marriage. He’s never openly declared, “I will let the clean clothes accumulate in the laundry room until I’m forced to dress myself beside the dryer each morning while standing shoulder-deep in a pile of socks and underwear.”
Nor have I confessed to him that I will wait until one of us actually loses consciousness in front of the refrigerator before I stoop to removing shelves and scrubbing bins to find the source of that god-awful smell.
It’s just an unspoken rule that the spouse who doesn’t abhor the chore will eventually tackle it for the one who does.
This fact – plus a shared love of ‘80s butt-rock – is why we’re a good match.
It’s also the reason I surround myself with writing and publishing professionals who compensate for my weaknesses.
Plotting is not my strength. My idea of plotting a book is declaring that I’d like to write about a heroine who owns a vineyard and then some stuff happens.
Fortunately, critique partner Cynthia Reese is a fabulously talented plotter. She’s always willing to help me brainstorm when I’ve backed my characters into a corner and removing their clothes won’t get them out this time.
Lest you think it’s a one-way relationship, I bring something to the table as well. I amuse her with fart jokes and point out when her scenes might benefit from the inclusion of one.
I will also freely admit I'm incapable of reading instructions and contracts. When I saw the first copy of my three-book contract with Sourcebooks, Inc, I made it through the first twelve words before succumbing to the overwhelming urge to polish my toenails.
Luckily, I have my amazing agent, Michelle Wolfson. She not only read the contract in its entirety, but fought hard for changes that benefited me (well, I assume they benefited me – it’s possible I just signed a contract to sell my liver on the black market).
Do you surround yourself with people who have strengths you don’t? Do you help tackle chores someone else abhors when you don’t mind doing them yourself?
Please share in the comments. I’ll be donning my gas mask in preparation for retrieving the milk from the fridge.