In most marriages, the division of labour along gender lines is most likely to be as unique and individual as each relationship.
There are however, old fashioned gender stereotypes that still persist which suggest that men take care of things like the finances and the maintenance on the family car. They put garbage out and they mow the lawn.
Women supposedly do most of the rest of the daily household tasks.
In my marriage, the division of labour has never exactly been "traditional".
For instance, I have always managed our finances. I assume that my role is not completely typical because, anytime we have ever sat down with a bank manager or financial advisor, they make initial eye contact with us both, and then proceed to address my husband directly and me in a much more token way.
It doesn't seem to matter whether there is a man or a woman on the other side of the desk.
They all seem to assume that my husband is the principal decision maker. In reality, my husband takes no interest in money matters. If you were to call him up right now, and ask him when our mortgage was up for renewal, he probably tell you to phone me instead.
Maybe because there isn't as much of a precedent, I often take a more novel approach to certain stereotypically male-oriented tasks. The last time we bought a car, I shopped all the local dealerships online and picked out two used cars that were exactly what I was looking for.
I then proceeded to go into the first dealership and make a low-ball offer on the car I wanted site unseen. The sales guy was completely caught off-guard. He kept insisting we go out into the lot and review the features of the car in question. I kept telling him I wasn't willing to waste my time looking at the car until the price was more in line with what I wanted to pay.
Most recently, the bulk of my free time has been devoted to shopping for a new boiler (we have antiquated radiators in our 100 year old house).
I can just imagine what you are probably thinking. Wow Jennifer! Boiler hunting! Life doesn't get much exciting!
All I can say is that someone had to do it, and the job fell to me.
Searching for a boiler is not nearly as easy a task as buying a more popular forced-air furnace. Boilers are rarer these days (in Ontario, at any rate), and finding someone reliable to service and repair our old boiler has been an ongoing challenge since we moved in to our house over 10 years ago.
Late last year, the principal pump on the boiler failed and we have had partial heat ever since. Dreading the whole business, I put off finding a replacement. Then a cold snap motivated me into action.
I have made lots and lots of phone calls in the last few weeks.
The first company that came out to see the job left, and was almost never heard from again. Then late last week, I got a formal letter from them saying that they were "too busy" to quote on the job.
Too busy in the middle of a recession to make thousands of dollars in sales? Good riddance to them!
Another company was reluctant to send out a salesman unless my husband was home. When I insisted that I would be making a decision on a new boiler by the end of the week, they relented and sent a saleswoman out to meet with me.
Though I am no expert, I could tell that this woman didn't have a clue about gas-fired boilers.
Still more calls!
Then finally a week and a half ago I found someone who seemed to know what he was talking about and was even willing to give me a bit of a break on the price.
They are coming out to install the boiler today, and with any luck, we will have real heat in the house by nightfall.
Oh the pure luxury of it! I can hardly wait.
To illustrate ramblings, I am using the colors pink and blue. Are there any other colors that come with more gender baggage?