Monday, December 10, 2007

He Said: The "Honey-Do" List

Buried deep in the fine print of every wedding vow is a clause that legally enables the creation of what is commonly known as the “Honey-Do” list. For those not familiar with it (read: all unmarried men), the “Honey-Do” list is a compilation of tasks, chores, repairs, and improvements that wives would like their husbands to accomplish.

It usually germinates from a single, innocuous request placed upon the husband early in the marriage, which, in his desire to please his new bride, he nobly accepts as his duty. The problem is that once started, the “Honey-Do” list cannot be killed, and from that initial tiny mustard seed of a request will sprout a monster as thorny and unstoppable as an over-fertilized Bouganvilla bush.

In my early married years I did my best to try and accomplish the items that were on the list, however, I soon found that for every item I was able to scratch off as complete, two more were instantly added. My feverish attempts to make any headway against this list eventually became all consuming, until one night my little daughter asked me a question which made me realize that I would need to take a completely different approach in order to conquer it:
Daddy, what are those white things poking through your fingers?”
“Those are daddy’s bones, sweetheart.”

The dilemma was a tricky one though, for just as you can never complete the “Honey-Do” list, neither can you ignore it (to do so will alternately whip your wife into an uncontrolled fury or send her crashing to the floor in a fit of tears depending on what day of the week it is).

The solution, I have to admit, came about quite by accident during a period of time where – although I was trying – I was unable to finish anything on the list for several weeks. What I discovered is that once the list grew to a certain point, Catherine stopped adding things to it. Whether this was out of compassion for my weary soul or contempt at my incompetence I have no idea, but the fact remained that it did not grow beyond a certain size. And this is where my genius kicked in.

You see, the trick to dealing with the “Honey-Do” list is not to actually get things done, but to pretend that you’re getting things done. Let me show you what I mean.

Every Saturday morning when Catherine asks me what I’m going to be doing that day, I grab the “Honey-Do” list off the fridge, give it a very serious look, and say “I think I’m gonna try and knock some of these out.” What happens next depends on what she does.

If she stays around the house, I’ll make tracks outside and hang out somewhere for awhile, usually with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. After a few hours, I’ll spritz myself down with water to make it look like I’m sweating, cross off the first 5 or 6 things on the list, and then proudly show it to Catherine so she can see that I scribbled through some of the tasks. She’ll give me a big smile because she thinks I actually did something, at which point I’ll go upstairs and pretend I’m taking a shower while I rewrite the list in the bathroom and put the things that I had crossed off back on at the bottom of the new list. To her, it appears that I’m making headway, but since the list never actually gets any smaller she won’t add anything more to it.

And bada-boom, bada-bing, just like that I post it back on the fridge and I’m off the hook for another week.

Sometimes - as a cool variation - I’ll head off in the car on Saturday morning to get some “supplies” that I need to “complete” something on the list. After fishing down at the lake for a few hours (it’s actually better if you don’t catch anything because then you don’t have to try and come up with an explanation for where you got the fish; that can be tricky) I’ll come home, tell her that I drove around to several stores but couldn’t find what I needed, and then go upstairs and take a nap (I’ve gone to great pains over the years to make sure Catherine knows that operating a motor vehicle really wears me out).

It’s even easier if Catherine goes out on Saturday morning instead of sticking around the house. If she does that, I just park it on the couch and watch TV for a few hours. When she comes home, I hold up the list, tell her I just got out of the shower, give her my best “I’m exhausted” look, and then try not to smile as she tells me to just lie down and take it easy for the rest of the day.

No matter how it plays out, she’s happy, and that makes me happy, so even if it may sound like I’m being a little devious, to me, the end absolutely justifies the means. When all is said and done, a happy wife makes for a happy home. And if a happy wife feels the need to head off to the kitchen to cook up a great big dinner for her hardworking man, well, that ain’t all bad either.


Ladyfromthewoods said...

LOL! I'd be very careful if she cooks that big dinner with cast-iron skillets! Does the couch face the kitchen for optimal warning against flying cookware?

(Cat, not to give you any ideas or anything....)


jennyb said...

I cannot tell you how much this reminds me of my hubby. He figured out this little trick some time ago.
I've got some tricks up my sleeve as well, though...however, I do things a little different than Catherine!
Thanks for being brave enough to post this:)

MrsMelody said...

Now, now Mr. Blaine, you shouldn't encourage those unmarried men to hide from the to-do list. They just need to marry a woman who loses the list.... or thinks she does.... every week. ;)

Hope your bony fingers are feeling well rested. :)

Merry Christmas

Blaine Staat said...

OH! You mean there are some women who actually lose those lists? Who would've thought? Unfortunately for me (feel my pain), I married one of those ladies who doesn't. :-)

fauquet said...

What a fun , Blaine ! :) I admire your strategy but you are certaily beloved to escape to Catherine ' s vigilance . She is so organized and she is a fine observer .
We don' t have a honey - do list but sometimes we make a list of things I have to do but by nature I have a slow rhythm and I use to reflect longly before to do the things . I need my mind be adapted to the perspective of the making . So no one is surprised and at the contrary is amazed to see I made something ( I don' t speak here of the garden ) .
Well we manage as we can .I am curious to read now what Catherine says about ! :)
Thank you for the Christmas music in the background (even a gregorian melody )
In friendship
Michel ( fauquet of Xanga )

Teacherperson said...

I posted a review of you book on Amazon. I was very impressed by it. Now, is there any other way to help in promoting it? Barnes and Noble? Other places?

Blaine Staat said...

Right now it's just on Amazon. Thank you for asking though!

Marci said...

Thanks for telling all of us ladies one of the "men secrets". I will be making a duplicate list and checking what is crossed off from now on. :)

Rachel said...

Clever. Very clever. :)

Amber said...

...are you serious? I can't even tell you how sick reading this post made me feel? So basically what you're saying is that you participate in studied, perpetual, deliberate deceit of your wife? out of sheer laziness? You might think it's okay. I mean you just got out of some pointless work, right? But how many times/for how long are you going to lie to her? Your entire married life? You're not much a man or a husband at that point.

Anonymous said...


Get off your high horse. You take the fun out of the article. Have you even read anything that Blaine has written before? I know the economy sucks right now but you seriously need to take a nap and start the day afresh.

Ouida Garcia

Ladyfromthewoods said...

In Amber's defense, a joking tone and sarcasm can be extrememly hard to read in print. Add to that, each reader will usually read a story/article while providing the tone based on their personel experiences - an accumulation of those who have deeply affected them. Perhaps Amber has known too many people (or men) who indeed lived with this real mind-set, to effect the tone with which she read this - an internel voice that was not Blaine's actual voice nor his tone and intent. (I'm sorry if this is true.)

That the experiences in the memories of many people are unfortunately of someone who actually believes that men are superior in every way, including more clever than their wives is a sad and unfortunate reality. It's the reverse of that stupid Glade commercial where the housewife sprays some air freshener then goes out for a day of pampering and fun, comes back home and pretends to be exhausted from a day of housework. Blaine's "he said" is an expose of that mentality, meant to cause readers to question IF and WHY we might have those hang-ups that do NOT bless our marriage. Humor, btw, can bless.

Amber, I'm sorry that you misread this particular story. Blaine is actually a stand-up guy and he and his wife jib-jab at each other with these "He said, She said" articles in fun - mocking mainstream opinions of marriage relationships.

In my observation, if Blaine was actually like this article portrays him, he would not have come to this place where he is now writing this blog or great books - he'd be too busy with dreaming of becoming a man of respect. And very busy with failing.

Hey, Blaine! Hope you don't mind my long analysis and opinionated typing... I just happened to decide to spend my rest moment at the computer - I'm resting from work on my own "molassas-do" list...get it? Cause I'm slower! lol.

Anonymous said...

A newcomer here, I couldn't quite get out the tone of the article myself. I suppose a part of it is that I know personally a couple much like his parody. That HD list is always a bone of contention and mischief between them, a form of tit for tat manipulation and deceit, as both sides parry and step to maintain the upper hand whilst not conceding any significant ground. Alas, this is the least of their divisive issues. And so, knowing this couple as I do, I assumed from the start he was in earnest, refusing to face up to his husbandly charge to love his wife and serve her, and she to honour and help him. I wonder, considering our culture at large and even within the church how many couples manage like this and, as the war escalates and the iron pans fly rather than fry, end up dropping the utterly destructive nuclear device called divorce.
It is comforting to realise this is a sendup on the typical oil-water immiscible solution far too many families will settle upon for their own marriages, er, scuse me, domestic partnerships. Or attempts thereat.


Anonymous said...

very funny. I"m new to your blog, but this sounds like about half of all husbands. There seem to be 2 types - those that LOVE the lists and even write their own. they also do things like use tape measures and levels to hang photos. And the others, like my husband, who do anything humanly possible to get out of fixing anything. My husband is a great guy, as apparently you are, but just not one of those list checker offers, sadly.

Great blog.

I just started a blog if you want to check it out, about how I have had to go back to work FT as my husband is out of work, he is suddenly, and somewhat reluctantly, a stay at home dad to 2 very small boys. Should be pretty funny.



Anonymous said...

Can you do "The Honey-Do?" This dance goes to the Sum of Squares song "From Honeymoon to Honey-Do."

The video is below:

Enjoy "The Honey-Do."