My husband and I have very clearly-defined gender roles in our household.
He takes care of our finances. I reign supreme in the kitchen. He takes out the garbage. I clean. He handles all home repairs, maintenance issues, and lawn upkeep. I govern all things child-related. He cleans the cats’ litterbox. I do all meal-planning and grocery shopping.
Call our method of task delegation antiquated if you will. But I’m here to tell you that it works. If the garbage can is overflowing in the morning, I have every right to nag and complain until he takes it out. Same goes for him and a dirty bathroom. We know our roles. And our household runs like a well-oiled machine.
Until it’s time to do the laundry.
For whatever reason, we never really delegated that task. It just kind of got overlooked. We each assumed the other had it covered. And now it’s a major issue, because neither of us wants to own it.
The fact of the matter is that we both hate doing the laundry.
So instead of just resolving the issue like the grown adults that we are and assigning the task to one individual once and for all, we play laundry chicken.
At any given time, there’s one load of laundry in the washing machine, one in the dryer, and several on deck. And on a good day, there are baskets of clean, unfolded laundry sitting in our bedroom, just waiting to be folded and put away.
If we were acting like grown adults, we’d realize that the more we continue down this path, the more laundry we actually have to do. I mean, once a load sits in the washing machine overnight, it has to be washed again (sometimes twice) to get rid of that mildewy smell. And if a clean load sits in a basket for too long unfolded, it gets wrinkled. So add ironing to the never-ending list of laundry tasks that now have to be done.
But when it comes to laundry, we’re not grown adults.
We’re actually worse than our one-year-old.
At least he knows that clean clothes don’t belong in the laundry basket. Sure, the floor or the kitchen cabinet aren’t really better alternatives, but at least it’s progress.
We’ve tried tag-teaming the task. We’ve tried bargaining with each other.
We even bought a laundry timer. We labeled it “laundry timer” and everything in an attempt to “own” the task. So now we have an egg timer that says “laundry timer” just taking up room on our kitchen counter.
The miracle of it all is that somehow we still manage to have clean clothes to wear everyday. Maybe it’s because we have an excessive collection of socks. Maybe we’ve gotten really good at diversifying our wardrobes. Maybe we’ve just redefined the meaning of “clean” since having a baby.
Whatever the reason, it doesn’t look like things are going to change anytime soon in the laundry department around here.
Case in point: there’s probably a basket of dirty laundry in our bedroom right now. But instead of just sucking it up and doing it, I’m making biscotti. I’m sure the hubby will take care of it sometime this week. He’s bound to run out of clean underwear sometime soon, right?
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
Recipe courtesy of The New York Times
Active time: 15 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour
Makes 60 biscotti
1 cup whole hazelnuts, preferably blanched
2 1/2 cups flour, plus flour for work surface
1/2 cup Dutch-style cocoa powder
1 tablespoon espresso powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. If hazelnuts are not blanched, toast them until the skins begin to crack, then remove them from oven and wrap them in clean linen or cotton towel (not terrycloth). Rub hot nuts to remove most of the skin. Set toasted nuts aside.
Sift the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder together and set aside.
Beat eggs lightly, just until blended, in mixing bowl with whisk or in electric mixer. Remove two tablespoons of egg mixture to small dish and set aside. Beat sugar into remaining eggs until blended. Stir in flour mixture to form soft dough.
Divide the dough in half and place one portion on a well-floured work surface. (She is not kidding about this. Think well-floured and then add more flour.) With floured hands, pat it into a six-inch square. Scatter half the hazelnuts on the dough and press them into the surface. Roll the dough into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter and 12 to 15 inches long. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place the roll of dough on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Brush the tops of both rolls with the reserved egg.
Place in the oven and bake about 15 minutes, until firm to the touch. (This took me 20 to 25 minutes.) Transfer to a cutting board and cut on an angle into slices one-half-inch thick. Return the slices to the baking sheet, laying them on their cut sides, and return them to the oven. Bake another 20 minutes, until they are crisp and dry. Allow to cool completely before storing or serving.