By Ray Meyers
The big job we have to do as husbands (househusbands or not) is to keep our wives happy. I think I just heard a collective, "Yeah. Right."
Reality check: No two people can live together without occasionally disagreeing about something -- unless one or both of them has the I.Q. and personality of a loaf of white bread. The idea of keeping her in a state of unwavering ecstasy over the long term is ludicrous. We have to do our best, though. The trick is to listen.
Women are individuals with individual tastes and preferences. In the eloquent words of the modern philosopher W.A. Yankovic , "Some girls like to buy new shoes, and others like driving trucks and wearing tattoos." True. Even so, there are some things that all women agree on:
It is okay to have a picture of the kids hanging in the living room.
It is not okay for an ex-wife to be in that picture.
It is good to have a hobby.
If that hobby is rebuilding motorcycles, it is not good to do it on the kitchen table -- at least not during dinner.
Men can get a one inch grouping at fifteen meters with an semiautomatic pistol and still not reliably hit a fifteen inch porcelain circle from two feet away, standing directly over it.
No, she won't wait until halftime. Take out the *%$#!%@! garbage NOW!
Men should wear brown underwear.
No woman has ever murdered her husband while he was folding laundry.
These are universal truths. Also we should seek out other advice and heed it. Which brings us to the e-mail from Susie B. The subject of her e-mail was the "Housekeeping" column a couple of weeks ago.
We can take a lot of good information from this letter. First of all, housework is tedious and we don’t show it the proper appreciation. Give her more respect for the housework. Chip in and help. Househusbands should do it all - or at least most of it - without complaining. She’ll love you for it. If you have to fake it, here are some ways to sell the sham:
Pick stuff up and put it away. If you aren’t sure whether it’s garbage, shove it in a drawer, stuff it in a closet, or set it in a predetermined location for triage and disposition.
Wash the dishes. Put them away. Alternatively, just cram all the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and wipe off the counters. At least she’ll know you cared enough to try.
Read the "Laundry" column in the archives and at least give it a try. If it gets screwed up too badly she won’t ever let you near the washing machine again except to move it. There is no downside to trying to do laundry.
Vacuum the big chunks out of the carpet.
Take out the garbage occasionally before being asked to. She will place her palm on your forehead to check for a fever, so be ready.
Then Susie lamented the failure of feminism to rescue women from the really wearisome aspects of housework. We can assuage their disappointment somewhat by just trying to contribute. Women assume we will flounder about helplessly when attempting housework of almost any kind. Women are largely uncertain whether we are actually the same species of animal as them. It occurs to them that we might never come indoors if not for the beer, the TV, and the bed. Expectations are low. Any sincere effort will be appreciated.
Finally, Susie rejoices that housekeeping is something we can fake that is as unsatisfying for us as "Faking It" is for women. Well, we’re all pretty sure we’ve never seen it faked, so they must be doing it pretty well. It’s only fair that we should give the same level of effort.
One other thing: Go to the store and buy some flowers. A couple bunches of daffodils will go over good right about now.
This week’s recipe: Pot Roast
Pot Roast is one of those dishes that almost everybody likes, even people who - for moral, ethical, or health reasons - won’t eat it while anyone is looking.
This is best prepared in a 6-quart or larger cast iron Dutch oven. Any 6-quart or larger pot will do if it has a thick bottom and a properly fitting lid.
4 Tablespoons Butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cloves of garlic, whole, peeled
2 to 3 pound beef roast
1 pound of small (1-2 inch) red new potatoes, scrubbed
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 medium turnip, diced (about 1/4" cubes)
1 Medium yellow onion, diced (about 1/4 inch dice)
1/2 cup Burgundy or other dry red wine
1 teaspoon rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
Over medium heat, melt the butter in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Add the onion and the minced garlic. Saute until all the onion is transparent and has started to brown.
Add the roast. Turn the roast until all sides have browned.
Add the vegetables, wine, and seasonings. Cover and continue cooking on the stove top for about 15 minutes per pound of beef for rare. The internal temperature of the meat should be about 120º for rare, 135º for medium, 150º for well done.
The vegetables will be tender when the meat is rare, but the extra cooking to medium won’t hurt them any. If the roast is to be well done, transfer the vegetables to a covered casserole dish and keep them warm in the oven as soon as they are the desired tenderness.
Slice the roast and serve with vegetables.
To make gravy for this, heat a skillet over medium high heat and put in 2 Tablespoons of All-Purpose Flour. Stir the flour on the bottom of the pan until it begins to brown. Add 2 Tablespoons of butter and stir until it is all absorbed.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add the drippings from the roast. Stir well. If the gravy is too thick, add one or two tablespoons of water and stir. Repeat until the desired consistency is achieved. Salt and pepper to taste.