A Homeowner’s Work is Never Done – House Proud, Toronto Sun

The “honey do” list has been around since cave woman scratched reminders for cave man on the cave wall to “pick up buffalo hides from cleaners.” 

The modern version may have actually originated in the corny 1950s-born comic strip Hi and Lois. In it, Hiram Flagston submitted to whatever task his wife pulled from the Job Jar, an actual glass vessel full of bits of scrap paper, upon each of which was written a household chore.  Hi had no say in the matter, but he was happy to do his share of the tasks. Everyone was always happy in Hi and Lois’s world. In the real world, few people are as enthusiastic about the Job Jar’s contents.

Recently, I shredded the honey-do list that’s been on our fridge for about a year. It was actually more of a honey-do-and-I’ll-do list, split in two columns. Many of the items on it had been completed and scratched out. If you’re hoping I’m about to reveal a new and foolproof way to find the time to get to each and every chore, you’re about to be disappointed.

In an earlier column I mentioned that we were planning to build an attached garage with a huge loft on top that would become a master bedroom. That idea turned out to have some fatal flaws in it, so we started fresh with a detached garage, which is now under construction in our ample backyard. This necessitates an entirely new honey-do list because many of the items on the previous list have been rendered moot, like building shelves (task #32) and repacking my husband’s large collection of “guy stuff” (task #19).

Instead, we’ll be able to tuck it all away in a large storage area of the new garage. Given my druthers, I would reduce the packed pile by at least two boxes of tangled wire and a few containers of bolts and screws (task #6), but did I mention that it’s guy stuff? Besides, he really might find a use for that wire some day, you never know, so there’s no point in getting rid of it because it’s just a waste of money to buy new stuff when there’s perfectly good stuff just sitting right there in that box. Or so I’ve been told.

As a wife, one of my goals is to avoid becoming a nag, so the honey-do list is a benign yet effective way to remind us both of things that need doing. vI truly wish I could do more of the chores on the list, but if they involve lifting something heavy or getting up on a ladder, I’m out. That disappoints me, especially when the chore in question is something only I seem to care about, like rearranging furniture because I’m bored with a room … only to realize it was better the way it was.

So, on the to-do list is the creation of a new honey-do list. That will be put off until the garage is up and priorities settle back into what passes for normal. For now, it’s all about the construction. But eventually we’ll return to putting up new light fixtures (task #26) and replacing old laundry taps (task #41).  It’s the stuff that home ownership is made of. And if I ever need a piece of wire, I know where to find it.

2 thoughts on “A Homeowner’s Work is Never Done – House Proud, Toronto Sun”

  1. Although, having never been married or lived with someone, I’ve not had the experience of a “honey do” list and frankly I’m not quite sure how that might work in my house even if I did. However I can speak to the issue of “guy stuff” which I’m sorry to say, woman just haven’t managed to grasp the concept.
    When my father died 24 years ago, I gave my uncle a couple of 5 gallon containers of various fix it items which had sat in my fathers workshop for years and my uncle used up each and everything I gave him. I inherited a variety of fix it items as well, and over the past 24 years I have needed something during a repair job and have managed to find just the right item in my collection of inherited guy stuff. To understand the “guy stuff” concept, you need also to be able to understand why a guy will spend hours working in the heat helping a neighbor assemble his garage for a few sandwiches and cold water, its all part of the same gene.

    1. Well said, Allan. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have to understand it, I just have to accept it! And I’m sure there’s “girl stuff” that’s just as puzzling that he accepts as well.

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