Division of labour*

I finished [paid] work at lunchtime and it’s now the countdown to the arrival of parents for Christmas lunch. This explains why I am blogging (flagrant displacement activity) instead of cleaning. I’m very blessed in that Richard shares both the domestic chores and my untidiness threshold. My mother’s threshold is however different, so parental visits bring on a mini spring clean at any time of year.

Now I’m working from home, I anticipated extra hours in the day to prepare for Christmas. Ho ho ho. I had reckoned without the December FOCUS and Christmas card delivery. So for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been up with the lark, deliver a round of FOCUS, back home to work by 9am; repeat same at lunchtime and after work. And delivery all day at the weekends. I’m so grateful to my fantastic campaign team all doing their bit at the busiest time of year.

I do sometimes wish we had the big bucks needed to post the cards. Especially on the rainier days and chillier mornings. It is however great to get out and see so many people. And delivery has a couple of advantages over Christmas shopping. Not least that the bags get lighter not heavier as you go.

But the big plus for me is that I have delegated virtually all the shopping to Richard – with some anxiety. Revelation: he is brilliant.

Rich doesn’t enjoy shopping enough to prolong it pointlessly. I used to trudge round an extra hour on the basis that as I was there I should go round every department ‘just in case’. Just in case what? A family member is born or gets engaged while I’m shopping? I grow an extra arm to carry more things home?

He sticks to the list. I have a terrible habit of wasting time & money on ‘generic’ presents. I’m not sure if it’s because I so rarely shop that I suddenly overdose, or if it’s false prudence, a kind of insurance in case I don’t find the perfect present for people later on. All I know is come January; I have various objects – photo frames, bath towels, travel gadgets, candle holders – which are definitely hefker. Not this year!

Richard doesn’t agonise. I have been known to spend so long dithering between which of two scarves was better, that the store detectives had me in their sights. Richard sees and buys; and if in doubt, phones me with a shortlist. I’m halfway up a tower block “Bath stuff: Strawberry or mango?” Ten minutes later, “Calendar: Cezanne or Klimt?” On Saturday, he went out and came back with first turkey, then tree, all before 10am.

It is fantastic. I have a personal shopper. Richard has a job for life.

*for those of you expecting a political posting about the divisions of Labour, well it’s the season of goodwill. Until at least Wednesday.

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