Domestic God

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December 6th, 2012
How to vacuum your dog

My dog Bernie decided it was either to get vacuumed than to move.

 Click here for the exclusive Vacuuming Bernie video.

I think somewhere between fixing dinner, washing the dishes and taking out the trash it hit me. Or maybe it was while I was simultaneously baking blueberry muffins from scratch, vacuuming the carpet and brushing my dog I fully realized it; I’m a house husband. There I was in sweatpants and sweatshirt scurrying about preparing for my wife’s return from work and our friend Helen’s arrival.

I momentarily thought of those horribly sexist ads from back when I was a kid. The exhausted wives try to clean ovens while their dogs chase chuck wagons around the kitchen. I had to brush away those images; reverie was a luxury when the beds needed making. Calgon take me away.

Marci brings home the bacon and I fry it up in the pan (then deal with the congealed bacon grease and try to erase the lingering smell of burnt fat).

I like the role of domestic goddess, er, god. I’ve always loved to cook, so pulling my fair share while my wife’s laboring in the trenches (in this instance, photographing a scantily clad woman for a boudoir session) just makes sense. Granted, I would’ve enjoyed switching duties this one time, but what self-respecting naked lady wants to have her dog vacuumed?

Having the time to get stuff done around the house is a luxury I’ve never really had. I’m enjoying it to the fullest now, though. Yes, there are little annoying bits that bother me. But they’re far easier to handle than in some of my old jobs.

I find myself getting miffed when I fold the laundry and it doesn’t get properly put away. But that’s nothing compared to when newspaper readers used to phone my desk and tell me about the egg they cracked open that didn’t have a yolk or the pattern made by their snow blower that looked exactly like Vincent Van Gogh. I’m not kidding about those phone calls. I actually ended up driving to their houses and taking weird, funky photos and turning them into something they really weren’t, stories.

Not everyone in the house is happy with my role. One of our dogs tolerates the vacuum, the other has to be locked in the basement because he believes Satan or worse, Grover Norquist, lives inside the Kenmore. And unlike my family who I think appreciate my chores, the dogs have a great passive-aggressive way of telling me they need more water. They lift up their plastic bowls and drop them on the tile floor as if to say “If it wouldn’t be too much of a bother, we’d prefer not to die of dehydration.” I should try that with the dirty dishes my family leaves on my clean countertops.

Life is good, as my t-shirt says. Eventually I’ll have a job that requires my full focus and pulls me away from re-organizing the hat/glove/scarf container. But until then I’ll concern myself with the important things, like taking a page out of my dog’s notebook and figuring out a way to secretly get my family to push their chairs back under the table when they’re done with dinner, or closing kitchen cabinet doors that they impossibly walk away from or, for the love of God, not leaving knitting needles on the sofa just waiting to skewer this sometime couch potato.

I’ve come a long way, baby.

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