Sunday Mailbag

May 18th, 2008 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: With everything that you’re doing – the job, the family trips here and there, the professional trips, keeping up the Blog – who’s taking care of such mundane chores as mowing your grass, fixing the plumbing, taking the car in for service, waxing the turtle, etc? Is The Lovely Anna responsible for all that? Are there multiple copies of you running around behind the scenes? Do you hire out a lot?

A: Well I have to admit that I don’t do much around the house. The Lovely Anna is in charge of the household stuff, and while she will ask me to do some things she has a sixth sense about whether it’s a realistic request or not. If she asks and it doesn’t get done she just hires someone to do it. There are only so many hours in the day and when I calculate the money I would be earning in the studio against what I pay to save that time doing other things, I come out ahead by hiring people to do things for us. Plus I get to draw funny pictures instead of mowing the yard. Duh. No brainer.

Actually I like to do stuff around the house but seldom have the time. I’ve been known to clean out the hot tub and deal with the chemicals for it, clean the garage (once), fix stuff occasionally, etc. I do shovel or snowblow out the driveway myself most of the time in the winter as I hate having an icy driveway. Usual manly-man type things. Mostly though we hire out. We have a lawn service that cuts the grass, fertilizes, etc. We are hiring someone to paint our house this spring. Anna does all the cooking, cleaning and laundry, and while I try and help out with dishes and that kind of thing I am sparotic at best doing it. I am the official toilet puller, though. Our autistic daughter has a tendency to try and flush odd objects down the toilet and no amount of plunging or snaking will dislodge them. So the toilet comes up and the object dislodged if possible from the other end. The folks at Home Depot keep double stock on wax rings just for us. Once she managed to flush an open pair of large scissors down the toilet. Do you know what tool you can use to get an open pair of scissors dislodged from a toilet? A hammer. Of course I had to get a new toilet… but I was stress free for the rest of the day.

Lately we’ve been paying the kids to do certain chores about the house, which does the triple duty of getting things done so Anna or I do not have to do them, teaches the kids the value of earning money and tricks them by getting them to pay for their own things and activities with money that we would have given them for doing nothing had they none! Good thing they do not read this blog. My son Tom (I’m no longer allowed to call him “Tommy”) is 12 now and helped out with shoveling the driveway this winter when the snow was light. He is getting big enough to do more man stuff around here. Anna currently has him on retainer to clean up the pieces of rabbit, bird and mouse carcasses that our cat leaves on the front doorstep all the time. She pays by the severed rabbit butt, entrail and mouse head. Tom is going to be rolling in dough by the end of the summer unless I kill the cat… not outside the realm of possibility.

Anna is the real force behind getting stuff done around here. She works much harder than I do.

Thanks to Robert Carspecken for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here.


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