Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Scrubbing That Grout with a Toothbrush

The most recent figures from the University of Wisconsin’s National Survey of Families and Households show that the average wife does 31 hours of housework a week while the average husband does 14.

Well, well, well.

31 hours a week. That's 4.4 hours a day. And that's with the hubster pitching in his own two hours a day.

I gotta say -- that's a lot of freakin' housework. Six hours of adult elbow grease a day -- what is the average couple doing, picking dirt out of corners with Q-Tips? Where on earth can they find the time? I thought the average American couple was so time-deprived that they lived on frozen Tater Tots and got speeding tickets in the school dropoff lane.

Even when we lived in a house in Michigan B.B. (Before Benny) and I was unemployed for a few months, I didn't clean the house for any 4.4 hours a day. But perhaps that's just a character flaw; I could have six kids, a home knitting business and a petting zoo in the back yard and still wouldn't do four-plus hours of housework a day.

Of course, Ron and I don't live anything like that lifestyle now. We've downsized our lives so drastically in the last year that I still have relatives convinced we sleep on straw mats and eat off a blanket on the floor. At the moment we have a small apartment and that's it. No deck. No car. No playroom. Only two pieces of good furniture (our dining table is a perfect example of the Modern Card Table motif).

So I'd estimate that Ron and I do about an hour a day of housework each. And maybe a total of eight hours over the weekend, if the laundry's really piling up or the cat's shedding again. I'd have to clean from 7-11 each night to fulfill a four-hour daily housework quota and I gotta say, polishing shampoo bottles at 10:40 p.m. doesn't sound all that appealing.

But again, we keep our socks in plastic bins, so we by no means represent the average American middle-class family. So Misguided Readers, (Are you out there? Yooohooo!) share with us how much you clean a week. And keep in mind that the 31-hour number is for women working outside the home. For stay-at-home wives, the weekly quota is 38 hours.