There is no end to honey-do


Most of us have heard of the honey-do list. Right?

Honey do this… honey do that… the simply requested, innocently suggested, desires of the significant other.

The reality, of course, is that those of us being handed such tasks know the honey-do list never ends. It is an on-going, ever expanding, chart of chores that borders right up against being defined as demands.

Ok… might be getting a bit carried away on that. Demands is a bit strong. Too strong, actually. But there is at least a shred of truth in the intent…

Because the closer the relationship… the stronger and more committed the relationship… often you’ll find is directly proportional to the weight and involvement and difficulty of the list.

If you’re casually dating, and perhaps not even in a committed relationship, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that several loads of laundry and scrubbing a toilet probably aren’t on your list for the upcoming weekend stop at the significant other’s place.

My lovely bride is a master of the honey-do list. She brings it to new levels, all while recreating the concept itself. (The trick is, she’s almost always within reason, and virtually without exception she’s right.)

She has a way of cleaning that results in an amazing result, and often involves certain products for certain situations. Carpets might get one type of cleaner… bathtubs another type… windows and glass another… you see the idea.

Often, if I’m moving between what I believe are similar surfaces—surfaces that are all clearly included on the list of “use this product on” found on the label—I don’t give any thought to what a different cleaner might do. Big mistake. Because usually that stubborn stain wouldn’t have been so stubborn at all had I only listened to her suggestion.

The general idea to take from it is this… my wife is absolutely justified for having her eyes filled with the realization that I truly am that stupid as she holds a pair of red jeans in one hand and pink socks in the other. You know, pink socks that had been white socks before I tossed them into the washing machine and then the dryer with the never-previously-washed red jeans.

When it comes to the honey-do list however, she brings it to a level of mastery that I have yet to see matched. See, she is an expander.

If you tell me to head out to the garden and grab a couple of tomatoes… and, let’s say I happen to know we’re making BLTs for dinner and that’s what the tomatoes are for… I’ll come back in the house with a couple of tomatoes. I might—might—bring back as many ripe tomatoes as I could carry. But chances are good that with specific instructions that directed me to a couple of tomatoes for our meal while the toast was already being made, there is little chance I looked around at the green beans, peppers and zucchini. Tomatoes was on the to-do list. Harvesting the day’s haul from the garden was not.

Now, take that approach of mine and apply it in and around the house and yard and any other place where I might have something to do, and you can arrive at some miraculously great… and some brilliantly half-assed… efforts.

The trick is… I get it.

See, some guys I know try to tell me they have no clue what will trigger an outburst from their wife. And for me… the outburst idea doesn’t apply. When I’m folding pink socks… and neither my wife nor I have ever purchased a pair of pink socks… and only our clothes were placed into the laundry… yeah. This isn’t about an outburst.

Instead, what hits me is how quickly, efficiently, and quietly I try to approach any to-do item. Because once something gets her attention… look out.

One time she came out when I was cleaning gutters to let me know lunch was almost ready. While talking to me, it occurred to her that since I was on the ladder already it might be convenient to clean the outside of the windows on the second floor. When she came back out with a rag and some window cleaner for me, she asked if I thought we might be able to get the shutters down and painted that afternoon as well.

I repeat… cleaning gutters was the starting point… washing windows and explaining that we would not be able to paint the shutters and put them back in place if we tried to do just half of the shutters was where we ended up.

Not perfect examples, but good enough to get across my point. (I think.)

As I tried to say, I’m not complaining. When I’m an idiot, it’s kind of hard to defend myself against accusations of being an idiot. It makes sense.

But the realities of the honey-do remain… the longer the relationship, the longer the list… the stronger the relationship, the more demanding the list. (And I wouldn’t have it any other way.)


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at