The Pan That Is Our Marriage

The pan is sitting on the back of the stove.  It has been there for almost two days.  It just sits there, being a pan and yet, being so much more.  It's a metaphor for marriage.  3 pieces of bacon was cooked in it, delicious bacon.  Bacon that I can only rarely have.  Although the smell the first 5 hours was heaven, old bacon grease tends to stink.  It needs to be cleaned, but who will do it?

My wife could do it.  That is what should happen here.  She should do it because I don't want to do it.  That's as good reason as any.  She won't do it of course.  She won't do it because she wants me do it and that's as good a reason as mine.  So the pan sits there, waiting for one of us to crack.  Who has the better will power?  Who will win this battle?

We both actually cooked this dinner.  The bacon was for a pasta salad thing we made.  It was good but of course it was good, it had bacon in it.  We both ate the dinner.  Afterward, we actually both cleaned up the mess.  Except for the greasy pan, which has to be washed by hand.  I would just throw it in the dishwasher but Hossmom says we can't do that as it rubs off the Teflon and will kill us.  Probably true but Hossmom also reads a lot of WebMd and probably shouldn't.  Next week we won't be able to talk on our cellphones for fear of tooth cancer.

Neither one of us touched the pan though.  It became that awkward elephant in the room.  It was there, plan as day, looking at both of us.  But neither one of us would make eye contact with it as to do so would be to acknowledge it's existence.  Once that is done, you have to face it and ask your wife to wash it or wash it yourself.  I don't want to ask my wife to wash it because she'll say no and ask me to wash it.  Then I'll say no and she'll withhold sex until I wash it.  I'll make it 20 minutes before I crack.

She knows it is there as well but she doesn't want to ask me to wash it either.  She wants me to come to the realization that I somehow know that she wants me to wash it.   She wants me to magically read her mind and know what she wants.  It's the way women work and just because you are married for a while doesn't mean that this ever changes.

The pan doesn't get washed that night.

The next morning we get up and eat breakfast, a good breakfast.  I clean the kitchen but leave the pan.  I even wipe around the pan but I don't touch it because that would mean that I would have to wash it.  The rules of this game evolve on the spot and apparently if you touch it, you wash it.

We have lunch.  Hossmom cleans up. I watch her out of the side of my eye.  It's as if the area around the pan is quarantined.  She doesn't go near it.  She cleans out the microwave just above the pan and yet, the pan is invisible to her.  It could bite her and she wouldn't acknowledge it because somehow this has turned into a competition.

He who cleans the pan loses.

Next morning I clean.  Next lunch, she cleans.  The pan remains unclean.

Hossmom goes to work, a shrewd move.  I make her lunch for her in the morning, a turkey lettuce wrap that she enjoys.  I pack her yogurt in as well.  She gives me a kiss goodbye.  Everything appears normal on the surface but underneath, it is a game of wills.  I know her game.

My day goes as planned.  The kids run around and break my stuff.  I shake my head and repair it.  I am running out of ducktape.  I make them lunch and they don't eat it.  They tell me that they are hungry 10 minutes later.  I shake my head.

I clean the house.  I start to make dinner.  I am distracted because the kids are now fighting.  I am giving them a lecture while I clean off the stove.  I tell them to knock off the tattle tale routine that they are getting into because I don't care who said the word wrong.  Work it out for yourself.  I grab the pan and put it in the sink and turn on the hot water.

I stop.  Dear God what I have I just done.

I have lost.  That is what I have done.  I have given this marital game away, the power shift is almost physical, I can almost feel it flow from me to her.  Crap.  I have to wash the pan now.  I can't leave it in the sink with warm water running over it for 2 more days although I consider it.  Hossmom will come home and see the pan washed.  She'll kiss me on the head and say "Thanks for washing the pan honey" but it will be laced with sarcasm and smugness.

But I'm not finished with this game yet, not quite yet.  I have an ace in the hole.  There is a basket of laundry upstairs.  It has been there since this morning, since Hossmom left for work.  It's not folded, who is going to fold it?  It's on the bed, just sitting there.  Who is going to crack first?  Not me, nope, not me at all.

It's on her side of the bed.  Your move Hossmom.


  1. Pan is washed; laundry is still sitting there. I win.

  2. Oh for goodness sake....you guys have children. A benefit of children is they often provide the neutral solution. Let one of them wash the damn pan. Then split the laundry in half and fold it together while the kids wash the pan. Save the power plays for important stuff like custody of the remote.