The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 9, 2012

Mike Pound: Cleaning basement threatens marriage

By Mike Pound
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — As you’re reading this, I may or may not still be married.

Last week, I mentioned in a column that I spent part of a day off cleaning one side of our basement. In that column, I mentioned that I didn’t clean the other side of our basement because that side scared me.

For one of the few times in several years my wife happened to read that column. My wife doesn’t read my column much, nor does our 14-year-old daughter, Emma. That doesn’t hurt my feelings. I mean, I really don’t know exactly what my wife does at her job nor do I know what Emma does at school. My wife talks to me about her job all the time, but I never listen to her when she does. I just nod and try to give appropriate responses based on the tone of her voice.

Because Emma is 14, she doesn’t talk about school much, although every once in a while I hear her mention something about having to do “homework.” We had homework when I was a kid, but I never talked about it because I never did it.

Anyway, my wife read the column about our basement and she said, “You’re right. That side of the basement is scary, so Saturday (yesterday) what do you say we spend the day cleaning that side of the basement?”

I asked my wife if she was out of her mind, but my wife listens to me even less than I listen to her, so she walked away and starting making a list of the things we needed to do to clean the other side of our basement.

My wife does that a lot, by the way.

Not walk away from me — well, she does that a lot, too — but making lists. My wife loves to make lists. For my wife, making a list is the first step in getting something done.

Often my wife begins her list like this:

No. 1: Make list.

When I saw my wife making a list of things we needed to do to clean the other side of the basement, I suggested that she put down, “Make sure wills are in order.”

Did I mention that the other side of our basement scares me?

We have lived in our current house for 11 years. Like a lot of people who move into new houses, when we moved into our house we came across things that we weren’t sure what to do with. When we did, we would both say, “Put it in the basement for now and we’ll deal with it later.”

Well, later is now.

Over the years, as we collected more and more items, other items had to be moved to make room. When that would happen one of us would say, “Put it in the basement and we’ll deal with it later” until the side of the basement where we put all of those items began to take on a life of its own. In fact, 52 percent of the items in our basement voted for Obama and 48 percent voted for Romney and they all had photo IDs.

The problem with my wife and I attempting to clean out the other side of our basement — beyond the fear factor — is the fact that we don’t exactly work well together. I’ve said this before, but our problem working together stems from the fact that my wife loves to tell people what to do, and I hate to be told what to do.

It’s a fire-and-gasoline deal.

So, sometime Saturday my wife will tell me do something and I will do the opposite of what she says solely to make her mad. I will succeed, and my wife will tell me to do something solely to make me mad. She also will succeed. From then on, things will get tense, and the whole thing will be my wife’s fault.

The reason I say that is because my wife seldom reads my column.

Do you have an idea for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.