Chore & peace

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Household chores are drudgery, but most people have chores they secretly enjoy. Well, at least I hope most people do. I do, and I'd hate to discover another category in which I'm abnormal.

I love, for example, cleaning the inside of a car. Car interiors are basically very intimate rooms, so even a little clutter and dust stand out. Minimal cleaning yields dramatic results.

You can't get those same results as quickly in the sprawling space of a house. So when the house is dirty, I go out and clean the inside of the car. It makes me feel just as virtuous but in a fraction of the time.

What about the outside of a car? Please. There is no more pointless exercise. It gets dirty again immediately, and even if it didn't, the car still depreciates at an alarming rate regardless of how shiny it is. Cleaning a car exterior is one of those things I do only to avoid social disapproval. Cleaning the interior I do for personal satisfaction.

I also like starting the lawnmower. I can take or leave the mowing itself, but starting I find pleasurable.

I think it relates to my childhood, when we had a mower that was extremely difficult to start -- probably because we left it outside in the weather year-round. We had no garage, and I guess it just never occurred to my parents to protect it.

Mowing was my chore, so I was the one who had to struggle to start the machine. It took, oh, I'd say about 175 pulls before the thing would cough feebly to life. Compared to that, mowing half an acre was a breeze.

You better believe my mower luxuriates in a dry garage between uses. Because I absolutely love giving the cord a gentle yank and having the engine roar into action. Sometimes I secretly call myself the Mayor of Internal Combustion, so elevated is my mood at that moment.

The only chore that can make me happier is fixing a leaky faucet.

I taught myself some plumbing, so when a faucet leaks I am not as displeased as, say, my wife.

Actually, what I taught myself was how to take apart plumbing. So what I do with a faucet is take it apart and bring it to my go-to hardware store, where I seek out the oldest guy I can find (on the theory that the high-school kid who works the cash register probably isn't that well-versed in washers and O-rings).

If all goes well, I leave with a 50-cent part that returns the fixture to service.

I should note here that I have an elastic definition of what "fixed" means.

We have a faucet that, since I fixed it, no longer leaks but also, periodically, stops allowing water to pass through. My wife has pointed out that, during those periods, the faucet is no longer performing the very task that makes it a faucet.

Yes, I say, but at least it's fixed. Let's count our blessings -- and clean the inside of the car.

Joe Blundo's column So to Speak appears in the Life section of The Columbus Dispatch. Visit his blog at