“Housekeeping,” says the Odd Old Woman Next Door. “What a very strange term for the actions we perform around our home.”

She’s contemplating the never-ending list of work necessary to keep the place semi-decent and functioning. “Clean the carpets” has been registered for at least three years. When she discovered most services charge as much to clean a rug as the item cost to begin with, and the cheaper companies couldn’t or wouldn’t do the work inside the house, she was thrown into such indecision, she’s never proceeded to hire a company.

            The Odd Old Man Next Door has started making the bed. She’s helping him although, as usual, she’s several beats behind him. Most mornings nowadays, he’s half-way through the chore by the time she gathers herself together to join him. Should she allow this inequity to disturb her equilibrium?

            No, she decides. For years the chore was assigned based on the time each one arose. The last one up made the bed. Most times that was she, so she estimates she’d made the bed, oh, twenty years now. In fact, they used to have a kind of competition. If they got up at nearly the same time, the rule was that they had to crow, “Ta-dah” and throw their arms wide, to overtly mark the time of their activation. She almost always lost.

            Now they often get going at nearly the same time, so they’ve started making the bed together. The bone of contention: just what the proper manner is for arranging the final covers. They agree on the initial approach with the military method. They spread sheets and blankets evenly on both sides, tuck in using a hospital corner with a 45-degree angle, smooth any wrinkles out.

            The OOMND, having received instruction in the Marines, believes the top sheet should extend only about two inches above the blanket, then he folds the sheet edge down over the cover. The OOWND, being more feminine and inclined toward artistic design, feels the sheet’s edge should be folded down between four and six inches over the blanket. Each morning they commence a tug-of-war. He folds the top sheet down only two inches, using his four fingers as a rude measure. She then flicks the edge of the top sheet down another few inches, smooths it across the head of the bed. He pulls it up again for the proper military appearance.

            By this time, he’s bored with the routine and leaves, while she hurriedly re-positions the top sheet so it will cover the blanket by a good four to six inches. Then she pulls the spread up and over the completed bed. She believes he won’t notice her handiwork. And he doesn’t, so they’re both satisfied with the handiwork.